As the effects of climate change continue to gain increasing prevalence on political and business agendas, new research highlighting the world’s most deadly has been released in a bid to prompt further preventative action.

In the first study of its kind, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has assessed the death tolls of all major tropical cyclones, tornadoes, lightning and hailstorms to have occurred since 1873, when records began, to identify those which resulted in the greatest loss of life.

Those regions to have been worst hit over the past 150 years include Africa and Asia-Pacific, where death tolls are estimated to have reached as high as 500,000 in one event, though the effects of extreme weather have been undiscriminating to all regions.

The WMO’s secretary-general Petteri Taalas said he hopes the research will help global decisions makers to better understand how to limit the effects of extreme weather in future.

“Extreme weather causes serious destruction and major loss of life. That is one of the reasons behind the WMO’s efforts to improve early warnings of multiple hazards and impact-based forecasting, and to learn lessons gleaned from historical disasters to prevent future ones.”

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