Friday, January 28, 2011

Large hurricane losses are not evidence for man-made climate change

Nadya Anscombe in Enivronmental Research Web: Conclusions about the effect of man-made climate change cannot be drawn from data relating to the amount of economic loss caused by cyclones, according to researchers in Australia and the US.

Ryan Crompton and colleagues from Risk Frontiers, Australia and the University of Colorado, Boulder, US, used a previous study of Atlantic storm projections and analysed the impact of these projections on US tropical cyclone economic losses. They found that it would take between 120 and 550 years of analysing loss data before any conclusions could be drawn about the effect of anthropogenic climate change on this data.

…Depending on the global climate model(s) underpinning the projection, emergence timescales range between 120 and 550 years, reflecting a large uncertainty. "Our results confirm the general agreement that it is far more efficient to seek to detect anthropogenic signals in geophysical data directly rather than in loss data," says Crompton.

"This is because there is a large amount of variability in loss data," explains Crompton. "Two events of the same strength can hit different areas of the US and generate very different losses depending on a number of factors such as the strength of buildings and the economic wealth in those areas."….

NASA astronaut Ed Lu took this image of the eye of Hurricane Isabel from the International Space Station at 11:18 UTC on September 13, 2003. At the time of the image, Isabel had weakened to a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale, from its peak as a Category 5. The storm was located about 450 miles northeast of Puerto Rico

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