Projected 21st century changes in tornado exposure, risk, and disaster potential
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- Strader, S.M., Ashley, W.S., Pingel, T.J. et al. Climatic Change (2017) 141: 301. doi:10.1007/s10584-017-1905-4
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While risk and associated hazard characteristics are important components of disaster formation, the consequences of hazards are often driven by underlying human and built-environment vulnerabilities. Yet, there has been little research conducted on how the evolving contributors of risk and vulnerability commingle to produce disaster potential. In this study, we assess the interaction of risk and vulnerability by investigating a single hazard, the tornado. How future changes in risk and vulnerability influence tornado disaster probability is estimated by integrating, for the first time, projected residential built environment data and modeled future severe weather environments. Results suggest that, although the projected twenty-first century escalation in tornado risk will play a role in increasing disaster consequences and frequency, growth in the human-built environment is projected to outweigh the effects of increased risk on future tornado disaster potential. While changes in societal exposure are projected to overshadow potential climate change-driven alterations in tornado risk, the combination of both an increase in risk and exposure may lead to a threefold increase in median annual tornado impact magnitude and disaster potential from 2010 to 2100.