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Knowledge Service

Competence Centre on Foresight

We foster a strategic, future-oriented and anticipatory culture in the EU policymaking process.


High impact events and natural hazards

  • Exposure to natural hazards doubled in the last 40 years; earthquake affects the highest number of people; flood is the most frequent natural disaster; tropical cyclone winds threaten 89 countries in the world and the population exposed to cyclones increased from 1 billion in 1975 up to 1.6 billion in 2015; Japan is most at risk to tsunamis – 4 times more than China, the second country on the ranking.
  • In 2015, there were 19.2 million newly displaced people due to weather, water, climate and geophysical hazards in 113 countries – more than double of those by conflict and violence. | Related Megatrends: Migration
  • Changes in many extreme weather and climate events have been observed since about 1950. Some of these changes have been linked to human influences, including droughts, floods, typhoons, heatwaves, wildfires worldwide.| Related Megatrends: Natural resourcesConsumerismSecurity
  • Of the 1,692 cities with at least 300,000 inhabitants in 2014, 56% (944 cities) were at high risk of exposure to at least one of six types of natural disaster (cyclones, floods, droughts, earthquakes, landslides and volcano eruptions). | Related Megatrends: Urbanisation; Security
  • The risk of extreme summer heat events in Europe has already quadrupled, with serious implications.
  • Abnormal weather patterns caused by El Niño were among the increasing food insecurity in 2016, affecting some 108 million people -- a drastic increase compared to 2015 when the figure was around 80 million. | Related Megatrends: Natural resourcesMigrationInequalities; Security
  • Forecasting extreme space weather, such as different types of solar activity becomes increasingly important given their potential impact on the operations of critical infrastructures; e.g. solar flares, solar radiation storms or geomagnetic storms could affect radio, radar, ground- and space-based communications, GPS, satellite, aviation, rail transport and power-grid operations. | Related Megatrends:  Technology; Security
  • Weather-related disasters could affect around 66% of the European population annually by 2100, potentially resulting in a 50-fold increase in fatalities compared to today.

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