Hurricane Losses since 1900

jderimig

Sponsor
TRF Sponsor
Joined
Jan 23, 2009
Messages
4,602
Reaction score
2,374
As Ian makes landfall there will be discussion on how hurricanes have become worse lately (arguable) and storm $$$ have increased greatly over time (fact). On the latter, storm losses, Pielke and others have studied could this be a result or climate change OR is it because of population increase in areas historically affected by storms?

Below is the normalized US hurricane damage by year. Below that is the formula used for normalization.
1664285801489.png

1664285827949.png
 

Funkworks

Low Earth Orbit, obstructing Earth's view of Venus
Joined
Jul 28, 2018
Messages
4,153
Reaction score
4,460
My intitial thoughts on your post:

You're not saying where these numbers are from. The general public does not know "Pielke".

The surface area of the US is less than 2% that of the Earth.

An atmosphere that absorbs more energy is more turbulent.

Your "OR" could be "and/or" instead.

Here's data for hurricanes:
 
Joined
Oct 2, 2016
Messages
9,221
Reaction score
8,426
Location
Hawaii
Pielke and others have studied could this be a result or climate change OR is it because of population increase in areas historically affected by storms?
By "Pielke" I assume you mean Robert Pielke Jr.? And not Robert Pielke his father and well known meteorologist? Here is his paper:
Fig. 5 is the "normalized" hurricane damage chart.
Pielke Jr. is not a climate change denier.
But he advocates for an adaptive policy of dealing with climate change rather than a reduction in emissions. That has brought him into conflict with some of his colleagues.
Excerpt:
"Governments and businesses are already heavily invested in climate policy and thus should focus resources on decisions likely to be effective with respect to policy goals. In the context of extreme events, such decisions might focus increasingly on land use, insurance, engineering, warnings and forecasts, risk assessments, and so on. These policies can make a large difference in mitigating the future impacts of climate on society"

could this be a result or climate change OR is it because of population increase in areas historically affected by storms?
Or both? And I would add a third possibility: More accurate reporting, documentation and data collection in the 120 years between 1900 and now.
 

jderimig

Sponsor
TRF Sponsor
Joined
Jan 23, 2009
Messages
4,602
Reaction score
2,374
My intitial thoughts on your post:

You're not saying where these numbers are from. The general public does not know "Pielke".
By "Pielke" I assume you mean Robert Pielke Jr.? And not Robert Pielke his father and well known meteorologist? Here is his paper:
Yes, Jr. He advocates for sensible climate policy and says we must increase the contribution to non-Co2 energy quickly. He is also against the misinformation promulgated on the green side because it damages the credibility on the issue. Particularity blaming every draught, flood or hurricane on climate change by some (especially the the media) when the climate science and the IPCC isn't there yet.
 

jderimig

Sponsor
TRF Sponsor
Joined
Jan 23, 2009
Messages
4,602
Reaction score
2,374
Or both? And I would add a third possibility: More accurate reporting, documentation and data collection in the 120 years between 1900 and now.
I will add a 4th possibility. Advances in civil engineering and construction codes compensate the increasing concentration of wealth and population in vulnerable areas.
 

techrat

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Joined
Jul 18, 2022
Messages
592
Reaction score
429
storm $$$ have increased greatly over time (fact).
Is that inflation adjusted dollars? I ask because every blockbuster movie every year becomes the highest grossing film in history because it's never in inflation adjusted dollars. Star Wars made $533 million in 1977, but Titantic made $1 Billion in 1997 -- 20 years later, but which movie actually made more?
 

rfjustin

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2009
Messages
4,046
Reaction score
3,875
Location
Franklin, WI
One thing to factor in is the changes in building codes and zoning requirements. Buildings are much better built today, thus hold up to damage much better.
Better built yes, and also cost a lot more to replace. :)
 

ThirstyBarbarian

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2013
Messages
10,726
Reaction score
4,690
I‘m not sure I really understand the normalization formula. What is the real wealth per-capita adjustment and the county population adjustment? What are they for and how do they affect the ‘normalized” cost for hurricanes over time?

It sounds like it’s basically trying to adjust for the increase in population and increase in personal wealth over time, so a hurricane that didn’t cause a lot of costly damage in the past, because few people lived where it hit, and they were all poor — that same hurricane today might affect a lot more people, and might destroy their more costly property, so it might cost a lot more today.

So, if that’s the case, the graph is not exactly asking this question:

On the latter, storm losses, Pielke and others have studied could this be a result or climate change OR is it because of population increase in areas historically affected by storms?

It’s assuming that’s the case and trying to “normalize” the cost of the storms based on that assumption.
 

jderimig

Sponsor
TRF Sponsor
Joined
Jan 23, 2009
Messages
4,602
Reaction score
2,374
I‘m not sure I really understand the normalization formula. What is the real wealth per-capita adjustment and the county population adjustment? What are they for and how do they affect the ‘normalized” cost for hurricanes over time?
I think it has to do with if hurricane intensity is constant every year (assume that for this explanation) but you put more people and wealth (mansions, Ferrari's and Lamborghini's) to be lost in the path, then hurricane damage costs increase.

The link to Pielke's analysis is in post #4 for a better answer than mine.
 

ThirstyBarbarian

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2013
Messages
10,726
Reaction score
4,690
I think there are multiple reasons why storms cause more costly damage than they used to, and part of it is due to more people and more valuable stuff in the path of storms, but part of it is worse storms and worse conditions caused by climate change.

Two easy examples of the latter come immediately to mind.

First, the sea level has already risen a foot in some parts of the country. So a 2’ storm surge now floods areas that would have required a 3’ surge in the past. That 1’ matters for storm surge flooding.

Second, the freshwater flooding due to rainfall is getting worse. Storms are dumping more rain than they used to. That insane flooding several years ago in Texas from hurricane Harvey was due to an amount of rain that was considered physically impossible in the past. The atmosphere could not hold or transport that much water in the past. But higher ocean temperatures and atmospheric temperatures than in the past mean more water in the atmosphere than in the past and more potential catastrophic rain events than in the past. Catastrophic floods are getting worse.

Anyway, I see the point that part of the increased cost is due to more people living in vulnerable areas, and their higher wealth and valuable property being destroyed. But I think sometimes that’s used as an excuse to say the weather isn’t really getting more extreme. The fact is, it is getting more extreme, and it’s going to get worse. And maybe more and more wealthy people putting their wealth in the way of hurricanes will finally bring some attention to how costly this extreme weather turning out to be.
 

jderimig

Sponsor
TRF Sponsor
Joined
Jan 23, 2009
Messages
4,602
Reaction score
2,374
Updated hurricane data from 1900 through 2022 including Ian..

1666527355376.png



1666527396838.png
 

Viper3

Member
Joined
May 11, 2015
Messages
18
Reaction score
6
The cost part of a hurricane does not affect the average home owner on the coast. The federal government has done a great job of reducing or eliminating personal property damage thru Federal Flood Insurance. I live on the east coast in hurricane country. I have friends who made out like bandits with Federal payments for property damage. No one's going to pay millions for a house at the beach and not have government insurance. The hurricanes are not costing the rich anything more than time to repair their second home .
 

jderimig

Sponsor
TRF Sponsor
Joined
Jan 23, 2009
Messages
4,602
Reaction score
2,374
Here is data on the other hemisphere. Typhoon over the last 70 years.
1666889035278.png
 

Peartree

Cyborg Rocketeer
Staff member
Administrator
Global Mod
Joined
Jan 5, 2009
Messages
6,602
Reaction score
2,309
Location
Alliance, Ohio
The cost part of a hurricane does not affect the average home owner on the coast. The federal government has done a great job of reducing or eliminating personal property damage thru Federal Flood Insurance. I live on the east coast in hurricane country. I have friends who made out like bandits with Federal payments for property damage. No one's going to pay millions for a house at the beach and not have government insurance. The hurricanes are not costing the rich anything more than time to repair their second home .
Maybe. That still doesn't explain all the stories that we see about people, and businesses, that couldn't get/couldn't afford insurance and lost everything. I'm wondering if Federal Flood Insurance in this case is kind of like flood insurance in some areas inland, in which a) only certain locations qualify, and b) in some places, even the Federal insurance policies are prohibitively expensive. Or, maybe there is some other reason.
 
Top