Hurricane Risk pp 179-197 | Cite as

Global Tropical Cyclone Damages and Fatalities Under Climate Change: An Updated Assessment

  • Laura A. BakkensenEmail author
  • Robert O. Mendelsohn
Part of the Hurricane Risk book series (HR, volume 1)


Although it is well known that climate change will alter future tropical cyclone characteristics, there have been relatively few studies that have measured global impacts. This paper utilizes new insights about the damage caused by tropical cyclones from Bakkensen and Mendelsohn (J Assoc Env Res Econ 3:555–587, 2016) to update the original methodology of Mendelsohn et al. (Nat Clim Change 2:205–209, 2012). We find that future cyclone losses are very sensitive to both adaptation and development. Future development (higher income) is predicted to sharply reduce future fatalities. However, damage may take two distinct paths. If countries follow the United States and adapt very little, damage is predicted to increase proportionally with income, rising 400% over the century. However, if development follows the remaining OECD countries, which have done a lot of adaptation, future cyclone damage will only increase slightly.


Tropical cyclone damage and fatalities Adaptation 


  1. Bakkensen L, Mendelsohn R (2016) Risk and adaptation: evidence from global hurricane damages and fatalities. J Assoc Environ Res Econ 3:555–587Google Scholar
  2. Bakkensen L, Park S, Sarkar R (2017) Climate costs of tropical cyclone losses depend also on rain. Working paperGoogle Scholar
  3. Bakkensen LA, Shi X, Zurita BD (2018) The impact of disaster data on estimating damage determinants and climate costs. Econ Disaster Clim Chang 2:1–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Burke M, Dykema J, Lobell D, Miguel E, Satyanath S (2015) Incorporating climate uncertainty into estimates of climate change impacts. Rev Econ Stat 97:461–471CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cavallo E, Noy I (2011) Natural disasters and the economy—a survey. Int Rev Environ Res Econ 5:63–102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cubasch U, Voss R, Hegerl G, Waskiewitz J, Crowley T (1997) Simulation of the influence of solar radiation variations on the global climate with an ocean-atmosphere general circulation model. Clim Dyn 13:757–767CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dinan T (2017) Projected increases in hurricane damage in the United States: the role of climate change and coastal development. Ecol Econ 138:186–198CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Emanuel K (2005) Divine wind. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  9. Emanuel KA (2013) Downscaling CMIP5 climate models shows increased tropical cyclone activity over the 21st century. Proc Natl Acad Sci 110:12219–12224CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Emanuel K, Sundararajan R, Williams J (2008) Hurricanes and global warming: results from downscaling IPCC AR4 simulations. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 89:347–367CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fankhauser S, McDermott T (2014) Understanding the adaptation deficit: why are poor countries more vulnerable to climate events than rich countries? Glob Environ Chang 27:9–18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gueremy JF, Deque M, Braun A, Evre JP (2005) Actual and potential skill of seasonal predictions using the CNRM contribution to DEMETER: coupled versus uncoupled model. Tellus 57:308–319CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hallegatte S (2007) The use of synthetic hurricane tracks in risk analysis and climate change damage assessment. J Appl Meteorol Climatol 46:1956–1966CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hasumi H, Emori S (2004) K-1 coupled GCM (MIROC) description. Center for Climate System Research, University of Tokyo, TokyoGoogle Scholar
  15. IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) (2007) State of the science, Working Group I Report to the 4th Assessment. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  16. IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) (2012) Managing the risks of extreme events and disasters to advance climate change adaptation, A special report of Working Groups I and II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  17. IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) (2013) State of the science, Working Group I Report to the 5th Assessment. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UKGoogle Scholar
  18. Kahn ME (2005) The death toll from natural disasters: the role of income, geography, and institutions. Rev Econ Stat 87:271–284CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Knapp KR, Kruk MC, Levinson DH, Diamond HJ, Neumann CJ (2010) The international best track archive for climate stewardship (IBTrACS) unifying tropical cyclone data. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 91:363–376CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kousky C (2014) Informing climate adaptation: a review of the economic costs of natural disasters. Energy Econ 46:576–592CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Manabe S, Stouffer J, Spelman MJ, Bryan K (1991) Transient responses of a coupled ocean-atmosphere model to gradual changes of atmospheric CO2. Part I: mean annual response. J Clim 4:785–818CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Mendelsohn R, Emanuel K, Chonabayashi S, Bakkensen L (2012) The impact of climate change on global tropical cyclone damage. Nat Clim Chang 2:205–209CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Millner A, McDermott T (2016) Model confirmation in climate economics. Proc Natl Acad Sci 113:8675–8680CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Narita D, Tol RS, Anthoff D (2009) Damage costs of climate change through intensification of tropical cyclone activities: an application of FUND. Clim Res 39:87–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) (2018) Billion-dollar weather and climate disasters: table of events. Accessed 20 Apr 2018
  26. National Hurricane Center (NHC) (2010) Hurricane research division: frequently asked questions. Retrieved Dec 2010 from:
  27. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) (2010) Hurricane research division: re-analysis project. Retrieved Dec 2010 from:
  28. Nordhaus WD (2010) The economics of hurricanes and implications of global warming. Clim Chang Econ 1:1–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Pearce D (2003) The social cost of carbon and its policy implications. Oxf Rev Econ Pol 19:362–384CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Pielke RA (2007) Future economic damage from tropical cyclones: sensitivities to societal and climate changes. Phil Trans Roy Soc Lond A Math Phys Eng Sci 365:2717–2729CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Ranson M, Kousky C, Ruth M, Jantarasami L, Crimmins A, Tarquinio L (2014) Tropical and extratropical cyclone damages under climate change. Clim Chang 127:227–241CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Seo SN, Bakkensen LA (2016) Did adaptation strategies work? High fatalities from tropical cyclones in the North Indian Ocean and future vulnerability under global warming. Nat Haz 82:1341–1355CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Shultz JM, Russell J, Espinel Z (2005) Epidemiology of tropical cyclones: the dynamics of disaster, disease, and development. Epidemiol Rev 27:21–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Stern N (2007) The economics of climate change: the Stern review. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UKCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Tol RS (2008) The social cost of carbon. In: The Oxford handbook of the macroeconomics of global warmingGoogle Scholar
  36. United Nations (UN) (2018) World population prospects 2017. Retrieved Apr 2018 from:
  37. Walsh KJE, McBride JL, Klotzbach PJ et al (2016) Tropical cyclones and climate change. WIRES Clim Chang 7:65–89. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. World Bank (2010) Natural hazards, unnatural disasters: the economics of effective prevention. World Bank Publications, Washington, DCCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Arizona School of Government and Public PolicyTucsonUSA
  2. 2.Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental StudiesNew HavenUSA

Personalised recommendations