An atmospheric disturbance involving perturbations of the prevailing pressure and wind fields on scales ranging from tornadoes (1 km across) to extratropical cyclones (2,000-3,000 km across) which may be accompanied by rain, blizzard, lightning and related phenomena, and preceded or accompanied by squalls. Storms may: cause flooding and damage to crops; uproot trees; damage roofs and chimneys; break windows, leading to rain damage; overturn trucks; affect transportation, communication and energy supplies; delay building construction; and destroy traditional landmarks. In their more violent form, storms may cause severe damage and loss of life.
It has been estimated that approximately 1,800 thunderstorms are active over the world at any one time. Over the period 1970-81, 353,832 persons were killed, and property worth 12,600 million dollars damaged by storms. Early in 1990 in Europe, over a period of 6 weeks, 5 storms killed nearly 200 people and caused over $11 billion damages. Large storms of increasing intensity and frequency are expected by some climatologists as a result of the greenhouse effect, since more heat provides greater energy for storms.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
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