FIGURE 1.2 Number and magnitude of U.S. weather disasters that exceeded $1 billion for the 30-year period 1980 to 2009. Although the dashed red curve accounts for inflation-adjusted damages, it does not account for the effects of increasing social vulnerability, increasing coastal populations, and expensive coastal development (e.g., Pielke et al., 2008). SOURCE: NCDC (2010).

FIGURE 1.2 Number and magnitude of U.S. weather disasters that exceeded $1 billion for the 30-year period 1980 to 2009. Although the dashed red curve accounts for inflation-adjusted damages, it does not account for the effects of increasing social vulnerability, increasing coastal populations, and expensive coastal development (e.g., Pielke et al., 2008). SOURCE: NCDC (2010).

ash on U.S. air transportation is about $70 million per year2 (Kite-Powell, 2001). Weather is also a major factor in the complex set of interactions that determine air quality, and more than 60,000 premature deaths each year are attributed to poor air quality (Schwartz and Dockery, 1992). Better forecasts and warnings are reducing these numbers, but much more can be done.

HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENTS IN U.S. WEATHER RESEARCH

The past 15 years have seen marked progress in understanding weather processes and the ability to observe and predict the weather. At the same time, the United States has failed to match or surpass progress in operational numerical weather prediction achieved by some other nations and failed

2

This average does not include the recent Eyjafjallajökull eruption. The U.S. State Department reported on April 20, 2010, that “The economic ramifications caused by the activity of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano are mounting, with airlines reporting losses on the scale of $200 million per day following the shutdown of many European airports, and a wider impact moving across the globe as trade goods transported by air have been unable to reach their markets.” Source: http://www.america.gov/st/business-english/2010/April/20100420163812esnamfuak6.422061e-02.html.



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