Data: Weathering Storms


Man-made global warming could spark more-extreme weather events: stronger storms, bigger floods, and longer droughts. And even if it doesn't, there has been no shortage of terrible weather recently. A 2003 heat wave in Europe was responsible for 22,000 deaths, and 1,500 people died when hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans in 2005. More recently, in November, a cyclone killed 3,200 in Bangladesh.

Despite these death tolls, Department of the Interior analyst Indur Goklany finds that "globally, mortality and mortality rates due to weather have declined by 95 percent since the 1920s." The reason? People are a lot more resilient due to greater wealth and advancing technology. Whatever is happening with the climate, it is clear that humanity is getting better at dodging Mother Nature's blows.