Extreme Weather

September 20, 2019 • Volume 29, Issue 33
Will global warming produce more disasters?
By Stephen Ornes


Climate scientists say that rising global temperatures caused by greenhouse gas emissions are making some extreme weather events increasingly likely and severe. They predict that heat waves, wildfires, hurricanes and other weather-related disasters will continue to set records and send damage costs soaring, even as countries around the world pledge to reduce emissions in response to global warming. Climate change skeptics, including President Trump and some conservatives, say fears that carbon emissions are making severe weather more frequent and more destructive are largely groundless, and administration officials are taking steps to minimize the role that climate science plays in setting government policies. Recent trends in extreme weather have led many experts to ask whether initiatives such as the financially troubled National Flood Insurance Program should continue to subsidize repeated rebuilding in disaster-prone areas. Some experts believe people living in such areas should be encouraged to leave. Others disagree, saying people have the right to live where they choose.

Debris covers Great Abaco Island (Getty Images/Jose Jimenez)
Debris covers Great Abaco Island in the Bahamas on Sept. 6 after it was pounded by Hurricane Dorian, the strongest hurricane ever to hit the island chain. Dorian later made landfall in the United States and is expected to become the country's seventh disaster this year to cause losses exceeding $1 billion. (Getty Images/Jose Jimenez)
ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Environmental Protection
Nov. 06, 2020  Preventing Wildfires
Jul. 10, 2020  Circular Economy
Nov. 29, 2019  Climate Change and Health
Sep. 20, 2019  Extreme Weather
Dec. 07, 2018  Plastic Pollution
Dec. 02, 2016  Arctic Development
Apr. 22, 2016  Managing Western Lands
Jul. 18, 2014  Regulating Toxic Chemicals
Sep. 20, 2013  Future of the Arctic
Jun. 14, 2013  Climate Change
Nov. 06, 2012  Vanishing Biodiversity
Nov. 02, 2012  Managing Wildfires
Nov. 04, 2011  Managing Public Lands
Aug. 26, 2011  Gulf Coast Restoration
Jul. 2010  Plastic Pollution
Feb. 2010  Climate Change
Jan. 09, 2009  Confronting Warming
Dec. 05, 2008  Reducing Your Carbon Footprint
Nov. 2008  Carbon Trading
Oct. 03, 2008  Protecting Wetlands
Feb. 29, 2008  Buying Green
Dec. 14, 2007  Future of Recycling
Nov. 30, 2007  Disappearing Species
Feb. 2007  Curbing Climate Change
Dec. 01, 2006  The New Environmentalism
Jan. 27, 2006  Climate Change
Oct. 25, 2002  Bush and the Environment
Oct. 05, 2001  Invasive Species
Nov. 05, 1999  Saving Open Spaces
Jun. 11, 1999  Saving the Rain Forests
May 21, 1999  Setting Environmental Priorities
Mar. 19, 1999  Partisan Politics
Oct. 16, 1998  National Forests
Jun. 19, 1998  Environmental Justice
Aug. 23, 1996  Cleaning Up Hazardous Wastes
Mar. 31, 1995  Environmental Movement at 25
Jun. 19, 1992  Lead Poisoning
May 15, 1992  Jobs Vs. Environment
Jan. 17, 1992  Oil Spills
Sep. 20, 1991  Saving the Forests
Apr. 26, 1991  Electromagnetic Fields: Are They Dangerous?
Sep. 08, 1989  Free Market Environmental Protection
Dec. 09, 1988  Setting Environmental Priorities
Jul. 29, 1988  Living with Hazardous Wastes
Dec. 20, 1985  Requiem for Rain Forests?
Aug. 17, 1984  Protecting the Wilderness
Jun. 15, 1984  Troubled Ocean Fisheries
Aug. 19, 1983  America's Disappearing Wetlands
Feb. 22, 1980  Noise Control
Nov. 16, 1979  Closing the Environmental Decade
Oct. 13, 1978  Toxic Substance Control
Feb. 27, 1976  Pollution Control: Costs and Benefits
Nov. 28, 1975  Forest Policy
May 30, 1975  Wilderness Preservation
Dec. 20, 1974  Environmental Policy
Nov. 14, 1973  Strip Mining
Dec. 01, 1971  Global Pollution
Jul. 21, 1971  Protection of the Countryside
Jan. 06, 1971  Pollution Technology
Jun. 19, 1968  Protection of the Environment
Oct. 30, 1963  Noise Suppression
Atmospheric Sciences
Climate Change
Congress Actions
Consumer Behavior
Energy and the Environment
Insurance Industry
Natural Disasters
Party Politics
Party Politics
Regional Planning and Urbanization
Regional Planning and Urbanization
Science and Politics