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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Mendelsohn, Robert & Emanuel, Kerry & Chonabayashi, Shun, 2011. "The impact of climate change on hurricane damages in the United States," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5561, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5561

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    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. William D. Nordhaus, 2006. "The Economics of Hurricanes in the United States," NBER Working Papers 12813, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. 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.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Hurrican damage and climate change
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2011-12-02 21:20:00


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    Cited by:

    1. Matthew Ranson & Lisa Tarquinio & Audrey Lew, 2016. "Modeling the Impact of Climate Change on Extreme Weather Losses," NCEE Working Paper Series 201602, National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, revised May 2016.
    2. Matthew Ranson & Carolyn Kousky & Matthias Ruth & Lesley Jantarasami & Allison Crimmins & Lisa Tarquinio, 2014. "Tropical and extratropical cyclone damages under climate change," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 127(2), pages 227-241, November.
    3. Kousky, Carolyn, 2012. "Informing Climate Adaptation: A Review of the Economic Costs of Natural Disasters, Their Determinants, and Risk Reduction Options," Discussion Papers dp-12-28, Resources For the Future.
    4. Kousky, Carolyn, 2014. "Informing climate adaptation: A review of the economic costs of natural disasters," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 576-592.
    5. Chavaz, Matthieu, 2016. "Dis-integrating credit markets: diversification, securitization, and lending in a recovery," Bank of England working papers 617, Bank of England.
    6. Melissa Dell & Benjamin F. Jones & Benjamin A. Olken, 2013. "What Do We Learn from the Weather? The New Climate-Economy Literature," NBER Working Papers 19578, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. repec:eee:ecolec:v:138:y:2017:i:c:p:186-198 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    Climate Change Economics; Climate Change Mitigation and Green House Gases; Hazard Risk Management; Science of Climate Change; Global Environment Facility;

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