Extreme weather and natural disasters have become more and more intense as the years pass. This is mostly due to human-induced climate change. Additionally, the U.S. temperature has increased over the past 30 years, with eight of the top ten warmest years in the United States occurring since 1998, according to the EPA. This steady warming has caused heat waves, intense storms, droughts, flooding, wildfires, and more. Because of this increase in natural disasters, many Americans feel they may be eventually displaced by said natural disasters. For some, it feels like it’s just a matter of time.
A recent poll through the company Data for Progress found some interesting data in the U.S. 47 percent of Americans polled felt they were “very” or “somewhat” concerned about losing their homes to natural disasters. 25 percent said they were “a little” concerned, while 28 percent were not concerned at all.
Additionally, those polled were asked if they felt the U.S. government provided enough relief in the wake of disasters; 52 percent said they did not feel like the government provided adequate disaster relief. 35 percent said the government provides enough, while 3 percent said they give too much to disaster relief. In terms of personal experience with natural disasters, 36 percent of those polled said they or someone they knew had lost their home to a disaster.
Why Natural Disasters are Much More Intense in Recent Years
There are upsides and downsides to these extreme weather conditions; heavy rain can replenish dried out lakes, rivers, and water supplies, and aid in agriculture. But, extreme rain can also cause flooding and damage property. Increased heat can also aid in agriculture and growing some crops; but, on the downside, it can cause illness, death, and create a breeding ground for Lyme disease. The trade-off isn’t really worth it, in the end.
So, what’s the reason for these extreme natural disasters? Mostly, man-made climate change. According to the EPA, long, hot summer days have become more abundant in the past few decades, and record highs have become more common than record lows. Temperatures aren’t really cooling off at night like they used to. Especially out West; for example, it’s summer in Arizona, and usually it’s hot in the sun and cools down at night. In late June, it was in the 90s at night. Heat waves are also more common than they have been since the 1960s; they’re lasting longer and becoming more intense.
The EPA notes that tropical storms and hurricanes occur more often over the past 20 years. The temperature in the Atlantic Ocean has risen, which creates more tropical storms. Hurricanes form using warm, moist air, and the warming water aids the storms in becoming stronger and more devastating. The increased intensity of the storms causes increased flooding. This can damage property, cause injury or death, and displace entire communities. So, the fears of those Americans included in the poll are very real; climate change is causing intense natural disasters that are threatening our communities and lives every day.