Droughts were the most deadly extreme weather category between 1900 and 2010, responsible for over 60 percent of extreme weather deaths during that time. The worldwide death rate from droughts peaked in the 1920s when there were 235 deaths a year per million people. Since then, the death rate has fallen by 99.9 percent. The study finds that global food production advancements, such as new crops, improved fertilizer, irrigation, and pesticides, along with society?s better ability to move food and medical supplies, were responsible for reducing the number of deaths in times of severe drought.
Floods were to blame for 30 percent of the deaths during the timeframe studied, making them the second most deadly extreme weather category. The death rate for floods topped out in the 1930s at 204 deaths a year per million people. Deaths from floods have fallen by over 98 percent since then and there was an average of approximately one flood death per year per million people from 2000 to 2010.
Deaths from storms spiked as recently as the 1970s, when there were 10 deaths a year per million people. But the death rate has dropped by 75 percent since then, with storms being blamed for two deaths a year per million people from 2000 to 2010.