Nav: Home

Tropical cyclones to cause greater damage

February 01, 2012

Tropical cyclones will cause $109 billion in damages by 2100, according to Yale and MIT researchers in a paper published in Nature Climate Change.

That figure represents an increased vulnerability from population and especially economic growth, as well as the effects of climate change. Greater vulnerability to cyclones is expected to increase global tropical damage to $56 billion by 2100--double the current damage--from the current rate of $26 billion per year if the present climate remains stable.

Climate change is predicted to add another $53 billion of damages. The damage caused by climate change is equal to 0.01 percent of GDP in 2100.

The United States and China will be hardest hit, incurring $25 billion and $15 billion of the additional damages from climate change, respectively, amounting to 75 percent of the global damages caused by climate change. Small islands, especially in the Caribbean, will also be hit hard, suffering the highest damages per unit of GDP.

The research reveals that more intense storms will become more frequent with climate change. "The biggest storms cause most of the damage," said Robert Mendelsohn, the lead economist on the project. "With the present climate, almost 93 percent of tropical cyclone damage is caused by only 10 percent of the storms. Warming will increase the frequency of these high-intensity storms at least in the North Pacific and North Atlantic Ocean basins, causing most of the increase in damage."

The authors based their estimates on a future global population of 9 billion and an annual increase of approximately 3 percent in gross world product until 2100. "More people making a lot more income will put more capital in harm's way," he said.

Tropical cyclones today cause $26 billion in global damages, which is 4 percent of gross world product. North America and East Asia account for 88 percent of these damages, because these regions have powerful storms and well-developed coastlines.

The future economic damage from tropical cyclones will be less than $1 billion a year in Europe and South America because there are few storms there, and the damage in Africa will be low because, Mendelsohn said, there is "relatively little in harm's way." Damages in Asia and Central America are expected to grow rapidly in concert with high economic growth. The Caribbean-Central America region will have the highest damage per unit of gross domestic product--37 percent.

"When you calculate damages as a fraction of GDP, island nations are hit disproportionately hard," he said.
-end-
The paper, "The Impact of Climate Change on Global Tropical Cyclone Damage," is available at http://www.nature.com. It used a tropical cyclone integrated assessment model that was developed with Kerry Emanuel, a professor of atmospheric science at MIT. "The paper demonstrates how to integrate the atmospheric science of tropical cyclones and economics," said Emanuel.

The tropical cyclone model is used in conjunction with climate models to predict how the frequency, intensity and location of tropical cyclones change in the seven ocean basins of the world. The paths of 17,000 synthetic storms are followed until they strike land. The authors used historical data to estimate the damages caused by the intensity of each cyclone and what was in harm's way. The paper revealed that minimum barometric pressure predicts damages more accurately than maximum wind speed.

Yale University

Related Climate Change Articles:

Fairy-wrens change breeding habits to cope with climate change
Warmer temperatures linked to climate change are having a big impact on the breeding habits of one of Australia's most recognisable bird species, according to researchers at The Australian National University (ANU).
Believing in climate change doesn't mean you are preparing for climate change, study finds
Notre Dame researchers found that although coastal homeowners may perceive a worsening of climate change-related hazards, these attitudes are largely unrelated to a homeowner's expectations of actual home damage.
Older forests resist change -- climate change, that is
Older forests in eastern North America are less vulnerable to climate change than younger forests, particularly for carbon storage, timber production, and biodiversity, new research finds.
Could climate change cause infertility?
A number of plant and animal species could find it increasingly difficult to reproduce if climate change worsens and global temperatures become more extreme -- a stark warning highlighted by new scientific research.
Predicting climate change
Thomas Crowther, ETH Zurich identifies long-disappeared forests available for restoration across the world.
More Climate Change News and Climate Change Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Erasing The Stigma
Many of us either cope with mental illness or know someone who does. But we still have a hard time talking about it. This hour, TED speakers explore ways to push past — and even erase — the stigma. Guests include musician and comedian Jordan Raskopoulos, neuroscientist and psychiatrist Thomas Insel, psychiatrist Dixon Chibanda, anxiety and depression researcher Olivia Remes, and entrepreneur Sangu Delle.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...