Tropical Storm Damages May Quadruple by 2100

hurricane baja california photoAni Carrington/CC BY 2.0

The combined impact of climate change and expanding human population means that tropical cyclones will cause more than four times the damage in 2100 than they do today, increasing from $26 billion to $109 billion.

New research published in Nature Climate Change shows that as the population grows to 9 billion people, something expected to happen by perhaps 2040, more people and more infrastructure will be put in the path of tropical cyclones. That alone is projected to double the damage from these storms, $56 billion by the end of the century. Climate change is project to nearly double again the damage cyclones cause, adding $53 billion a year to extreme weather bill.

Yale University's Robert Mendelsohn, lead economist for the research:

With the present climate, almost 93% of tropical cyclone damage is caused by only 10% 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. (Yale University)

The report shows that the US and China will be hardest hit, incurring $25 billion and $11 billion additional damages respectively, due to the concentration of development along the coasts and the frequency of damaging storms hitting these areas.

On a per-capita basis though, small island nations, particularly those in the Caribbean, will have the greatest damages. Damage in Europe and South America will be less than $1 billion due to the low frequency of storms hitting these areas. In Africa, due to projected continued low levels of development, damages will be low as well.

Tags: Global Climate Change | Global Warming Effects | Natural Disasters


treehugger slideshows