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The impact of climate change on hurricane damages in the United States

  • Mendelsohn, Robert
  • Emanuel, Kerry
  • Chonabayashi, Shun

This paper quantifies hurricane damage caused by climate change across the US. A damage function is estimated from historic hurricane data to measure the impacts at each location given the storm's strength. The minimum barometric pressure of each storm turns out to be a better indicator of damages than the traditional measure of maximum wind speed. A hurricane generator in the Atlantic Ocean is then used to create 5000 storms with and without climate change. Combining the location and intensity of each storm with the income and population projected for each location, it is possible to estimate a detailed picture of how hurricanes will impact each state with and without climate change. Income and population growth alone increase expected baseline damage from $9 to $27 billion per year by 2100. Climate change is expected to increase damage by another $40 billion. Over 85 percent of these impacts are in Florida and the Gulf states. The 10 percent most damaging storms cause 93 percent of expected damage.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5561.

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Date of creation: 01 Feb 2011
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5561
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  1. William D. Nordhaus, 2006. "The Economics of Hurricanes in the United States," NBER Working Papers 12813, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Anbarci, Nejat & Escaleras, Monica & Register, Charles A., 2005. "Earthquake fatalities: the interaction of nature and political economy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(9-10), pages 1907-1933, September.
  3. Tol, Richard S. J. & Narita, Daiju & Anthoff, David, 2008. "Damage Costs of Climate Change through Intensification of Tropical Cyclone Activities: An Application of FUND," Papers WP259, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
  4. Warren Kriesel & Craig Landry, 2004. "Participation in the National Flood Insurance Program: An Empirical Analysis for Coastal Properties," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 71(3), pages 405-420.
  5. Ariel R. Belasen & Solomon W. Polachek, 2008. "How Hurricanes Affect Wages and Employment in Local Labor Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 49-53, May.
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