We quantified the dynamics of socio-economic vulnerability to climate-related hazards. A decreasing trend in both human and economic vulnerability is evident. Global average mortality and loss rates have dropped by 6.5 and nearly 5 times, respectively, from 1980 to 1989 to 2007–2016. Results also show a clear negative relation between vulnerability and wealth.”
There are two main reasons for the decrease in weather-related disaster losses as a proportion of GDP.
The first reason is that many types of weather extremes associated with the greatest economic losses – including floods, drought, tornadoes and tropical cyclones (which includes landfalling U.S. hurricanes) – have not increased in frequency or intensity over the long-term.
Paul Homewood: "In short, no matter how you slice and dice the numbers, using heavily manipulated economic data as a measure of hurricane activity is a poor substitute for the actual climatic data, which tells a totally different story."
AP Media hyped claim by Seth Borenstein: Will Borenstein follow up on the study?!
"The biggest most destructive hurricanes happening 3X more often than century ago," Borenstein wrote.
Dr. Roger Pielke Jr.: "The press release accompanying the paper announced that United States mainland “hurricanes are becoming bigger, stronger and more dangerous” and with the new study, “doubt has been eradicated.”
If true, the paper (which I’ll call G19, using its lead author’s initial and year of publication) would overturn decades of research and observations that have indicated over the past century or more, there are no upwards trends in U.S. hurricane landfalls and no upwards trends in the strongest storms at landfall. These conclusions has been reinforced by the assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), U.S. National Climate Assessment, and most recently of the World Meteorological Organization.
In fact, however, the new PNAS paper is fatally flawed. The conclusions of major scientific assessments remain solid. As I’ll show below, G19 contains several major errors and as a result it should be retracted." ... The first big problem with G19 is that it purports to say something about climatological trends in hurricanes, but it uses no actual climate data on hurricanes. That’s right, it instead uses data on economic losses from hurricanes to arrive at conclusions about climate trends."
"From 1900 to 1958, the first half of the period under study, NOAA reports that there were 117 total hurricanes that struck the mainland U.S.. But in contrast, G19 has only 92. They are missing 25 hurricanes. In the second half of the dataset, from 1959 to 2017, NOAA has 91 hurricanes that struck the U.S., and G19 has 155, that is 64 extra hurricanes.The AP passed along the incorrect information when it reported that the new study looks at “247 hurricanes that hit the U.S. since 1900.” According to NOAA, from 1900 to 2017 there were in fact only 197 hurricanes that made 208 unique landfalls (9 storms had multiple landfalls)."
Dr. Pielke ridicules the study for not including Hurricane Andrew as top destructive storm. "Andrew not in top 20? LOL."
Pielke Jr.: "I should point out that this group published similar bombshell findings about hurricanes in 2012 (Also in PNAS). That study was recently updated by the WMO TC assessment and WMO found that its results did not hold up."
Dr. Pielke's note to Associated Press' Seth Borenstein: