17 February 2010

Normalized US Hurricane Losses 1900-2009

The figure above shows normalized US hurricane losses for 1900 to 2009. It shows an estimate of what hurricane damages would be if each hurricane season took place in 2009. The dark line shows the linear best fit from Excel. Obviously, there is no trend. This makes sense as there has also been no trend in U.S. landfall frequencies or intensities over this period (in fact, depending on start date there is evidence for a slight but statistically significant decline, source in PDF).

One indication that our methodology does a good job adjusting for societal change is that the resulting time series matches up with the time series in landfall frequencies and intensities. If there were a significant bias in our methods (for whatever reason) it would show up as a deviation between the normalized trends and the geophysical trends. We see no such deviation. Other reasons for confidence in our analysis is that it has been independently replicated on several occasions and that we (and others) can also recover an ENSO signal in the data (e.g., PDF).

You can play around with the data from the ICAT Damage Estimator. Details on the analysis can be found in the following paper:
Pielke, Jr., R. A., Gratz, J., Landsea, C. W., Collins, D., Saunders, M., and Musulin, R., 2008. Normalized Hurricane Damages in the United States: 1900-2005. Natural Hazards Review, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp. 29-42.

1 comment:

  1. Roger, Are you the scientist Australian climate change minister refers to in her speech in Adelaide today?

    "Another claim is that the IPCC exaggerated economic losses from catastrophes attributed to climate change.

    The IPCC has described these claims as “misleading and baseless". The scientist has gone on the record to say his peer-reviewed scientific paper was correctly represented in the IPCC report.

    There may well be dispute about the cost of catastrophes, but the science on the link between these catastrophes and climate change has not been credibly challenged."

    Sorry for the double post but left off the important third paragraph.

    Speech available here also:


    Funny that the SMH didn't report on Dr Phil Jones BBC interview.