As we finish out Earth Week 2013, it's time to talk about the weather. If you've been noticing that weather events seem to be getting more severe, it's not just you.
The annual number of billion-dollar disasters in the United States – earthquakes, floods, fires, hurricanes and more – has tripled since the 1980s, from two to about six per year. And 2011 was a barn-burner, with 14 separate $1 billion-plus weather events. That’s like buying 4,500 new homes at the median price for every major hurricane, tornado outburst, flood and drought. Losses from U.S. natural disasters in 2011 topped $60 billion. The trend continued into 2012, with Hurricane Sandy flooding signifigant portions of the east coast.
We’ve got an animated infographic for you that maps some of the trouble. Be sure to click around and see everything. And as you probably know, the debate over causes and culprits is as fierce as the climate itself. Dig into “What Do Others Say?” for a cross-section of ideas, then join the discussion below. What do you think accounts for this trend?