Tropical cyclone losses in the USA and the impact of climate change - A trend analysis based on data from a new approach to adjusting storm losses

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungbegutachtet


Economic losses caused by tropical cyclones have increased dramatically. Historical changes in losses are a result of meteorological factors (changes in the incidence of severe cyclones, whether due to natural climate variability or as a result of human activity) and socio-economic factors (increased prosperity and a greater tendency for people to settle in exposed areas). This paper aims to isolate the socio-economic effects and ascertain the potential impact of climate change on this trend. Storm losses for the period 1950-2005 have been adjusted to the value of capital stock in 2005 so that any remaining trend cannot be ascribed to socio-economic developments. For this, we introduce a new approach to adjusting losses based on the change in capital stock at risk. Storm losses are mainly determined by the intensity of the storm and the material assets, such as property and infrastructure, located in the region affected. We therefore adjust the losses to exclude increases in the capital stock of the affected region. No trend is found for the period 1950-2005 as a whole. In the period 1971-2005, since the beginning of a trend towards increased intense cyclone activity, losses excluding socio-economic effects show an annual increase of 4% per annum. This increase must therefore be at least due to the impact of natural climate variability but, more likely than not, also due to anthropogenic forcings.

Zeitschrift Environmental Impact Assessment Review
Seiten (von - bis)359-369
Anzahl der Seiten11
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 01.11.2009
Extern publiziertJa