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Human Factors Explain the Increased Losses from Weather and Climate Extremes

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The financial damage due to extreme weather events has been increasing since the 1940s, and evidence suggests that societal shifts are the predominate cause of this upward trend. For instance, increasing populations around hurricane-prone regions account for enormous increases in damages over the last several decades, and the continuation of these and other similar demographic trends is likely to bring about ever rising financial losses regardless of the added impact of climate change. As this article points out, identifying and understanding this societal vulnerability has great importance for understanding the nation's economy, in guiding governmental policies, and for planning for future mitigative activities including ways for society to adapt to the added impacts of a changing climate.

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