This document provides an update to the EASAC report number 22 (EASAC, 2013), which examined trends in extreme weather in Europe. This document explains the recent findings and also describes approaches to assessing losses of past extreme weather events.
The original report included a figure on the number of natural catastrophes worldwide for the period 1980–2012. This has been updated with 4 years’ additional data. As with the original report, these data are not peer-reviewed.
The updated figures show a continuation in the trends previously observed whereby climate-related extreme events are rising, with particularly sharp rises in hydrological events. However, such trends need to take into account socioeconomic developments that influence exposure to and reporting of natural hazards that result from climate variability. As far as reporting is concerned, this has improved through the use of the Internet, and smaller events in particular are better recorded today than they were 30 years ago. This effect accounts for part of the trend in increasing numbers of loss events. However, trends in reporting are unlikely to have any significant impact on the loss amount trend, since annual losses are dominated by the major loss events, which have always been recorded.