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Friday, September 27, 2013

2012 State of the Climate - Notes from the Editor Part II

2012 State of the Climate

A report released by the American Meteorological Society (AMS), which was compiled by 384 scientists from 52 countries and peer-reviewed with scientists from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, NC, serving as lead editors... Read more

Notes from the EDITOR

by Pablo Gonzalez

In the last issue of Disasters This Week, we looked into one of the highlights of the State of the Climate in 2012 that matters the most in our hemisphere, Sea Level Rise. In this one, we will look into another critical finding of the report for our hemisphere, cyclones and the North Atlantic hurricane activity.

And why do sea level rise and cyclones matter so much in our region? According to the US Census Bureau, in the US alone, in 2010, over 123 million people, or 39 percent of the nation's population, lived in Coastal Shoreline Counties, representing less than 10 percent of the US land area (excluding Alaska). US Coastal Shoreline County population experienced an increase of about 34.8 million people from 1970 to 2010. And while the expected increase in density for the entire US is 11 persons/mi2, according to Woods and Poole Economics, Inc. 2011, the increase in the US Coastal Shoreline County population density from 2010–2020 will be 37 persons/mi2. If we now consider the 580 million people living in Latin America and the Caribbean, with many in low coastal areas and low elevations susceptible to floods, and an urbanization rate that has doubled from 41% in 1950 to 80% in 2010[2], any sea level rise combined with active cyclonic seasons may mean a higher likelihood of disasters to many.... Read more