Report: Climate change behind rise in weather disasters

By:  Doyle Rice

The number of natural disasters per year has been rising dramatically on all continents since 1980, but the trend is steepest for North America where countries have been battered by hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, searing heat and drought, a new report says.

The study being released today by Munich Re, the world's largest reinsurance firm, sees climate change driving the increase and predicts those influences will continue in years ahead, though a number of experts question that conclusion.

Whatever the causes, the report shows that if you thought the weather has been getting worse, you're right.

The report finds that weather disasters in North America are among the worst and most volatile in the world: "North America is the continent with the largest increases in disasters," says Munich Re's Peter Hoppe.

The report focuses on weather disasters since 1980 in the USA, Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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