A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences highlights the potential for a very significant increase in Atlantic hurricane surges due to rising temperatures. The authors analyzed a variety of predictors, including storm surge statistics from tide gauges to changes in global temperature patterns, concluding that:
“The most extreme events are especially sensitive to temperature changes, and we estimate a doubling of Katrina magnitude events associated with the warming over the 20th century….Statistically downscaling 21st century warming patterns from six climate models results in a twofold to sevenfold increase in the frequency of Katrina magnitude events for a 1 °C rise in global temperature.”
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina was one of our country’s deadliest and most destructive Atlantic hurricanes, responsible for more than 1,800 deaths and total insured property damage estimated at $81 billion. Superstorm Sandy, which hit the United States last year, was a larger storm but not as destructive.
Crawford is regularly involved in handling claims from major weather events through its CATastrophe Services (CAT), the insurance industry’s leading independent adjusting resource for claims management in response to natural and man-made disasters. These situations can also involve Crawford’s Global Technical Services® (GTS®) business, which operates globally and focuses on large or complex insurance losses. You can read more about GTS’ claims management efforts related to hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, and tsunamis in the recently published special Catastrophe issue of its Tech Talk newsletter here.
So what you do you think about the relationship of warming climate and greater storms?