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Explainers

A Recipe for Disasters

Calculating the probable dates for very bad things—a catastrophic solar megastorm; Seattle destroyed by earthquake—that are likely to occur.

 

“The one percent annual probability previously estimated … corresponds to approximately 10 percent per decade, 63 percent per century, and very close to 100 percent per millennium.”

 

There have been four assassinations in 237 years—1.69 percent chance a year.

 

“The USGS database shows that there is a 87.56 percent chance of a major earthquake within 50km of Seattle, Wash., within the next 50 years.”

 

Current probability is 12 percent for the next decade.

 

“New research finds that reactor accidents involving a core meltdown, as were the Chernobyl and Fukushima, may occur once every 10 to 20 years.”

 

“The probability of a 100-year flood occurring in 30 years (the lifetime of the average home mortgage) is 26 percent.”

 

“[T]he power law model predicts that an attack with a death toll greater than 9/11 is a 95 percent certainty.”

 

“If future large lahars happen at rates similar to those of the past, there is roughly a one-in-10 chance of a lahar reaching the Puget Sound lowland during an average human lifespan.”

 

“The region has experienced major and destructive earthquakes in 1838, 1868, 1906, and 1989, and future large earthquakes are a certainty.”

 

Bridge collapses occur every year on average in the US.

 

There have been 15 category 3 hurricanes in New York City in 195 years—7.7 percent chance each year.

 

Dr. Nils Daulaire, President and CEO, Global Health Council: “It’s likely to be in the next 10 to 20 years.”

 

“… the probability this asteroid could then impact Earth is only one in 63,000 … [this] asteroid is one of 10,332 near-Earth objects that have been discovered.”

 

Mass shootings in the US cause 7.76 deaths a year.