The devastating Kerala floods caused the maximum number of casualties globally among the extreme weather events this year, according to a report released Thursday by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The State of Global Climate of 2018 report also noted that this year was the fourth consecutive warmest year globally.
“Kerala suffered the worst flood since 1920s, displacing more than 1.4 million people from their homes and affecting 5.4 million,” the report says.
Other events that had high casualties were floods in Japan, Korea, and Nigeria, and a heatwave in Pakistan. The report said that the maximum economic burden was caused due to Hurricane Florence that hit the US in September, with the Kerala floods estimated to have caused the fourth highest economic losses globally.
In comparison to a long-term average of 53 tropical cyclones reported annually, the year 2018 (till November 20) saw 70 cyclonic storms. Most of these were reported from all four basins of the northern hemisphere, the WMO report highlighted. As a result, heatwaves and drought hit large parts of Europe during 2018 summer.
Out of the 17.7 million Internally Displaced Persons, 2.3 million people were displaced due to disasters linked to weather and climate events as of September 2018.
The report also noted that 20 of the most warmest years recorded were reported during the last 22 years, with 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 being the most warmest years to be ever recorded. “Global mean temperature during January to October 2018 was 0.98 degree, with a variation of 0.12 degrees, above the pre-industrial baseline (1850-1900),” the report stated.