Avoided Impacts in Ensembles of Tropical Cyclone Damage Potential

Thursday, 18 December 2014
James Done1,2, Debasish Paimazumder1, Greg J Holland1 and Erin Towler1, (1)NCAR, Boulder, CO, United States, (2)Willis Research Network, London, United Kingdom
Anthropogenic climate change has the potential to alter current levels of Tropical Cyclone (TC) damage, yet the degree of change and its importance relative to changes in exposure and vulnerability are debated. This study isolates the climate drivers of TC damage and develops an approach to translate climate model data directly to a measure of Cyclone Damage Potential (CDP). The actual damage then depends on a given user’s impacted exposure and vulnerability.

Our approach is motivated by recent work that highlighted the importance of accounting for TC size and TC translation speed in addition to maximum wind speed in driving TC damage. Since coarse resolution climate models are not able to adequately capture many TC characteristics, these key damaging parameters are modeled in terms of large-scale climate variables, to sidestep the need for information on individual TCs and to enable assessments of CDP directly from large-scale climate model data.

The CDP is applied to ensembles of future climates generated under a range of anthropogenic forcing scenarios to assess the degree of avoided CDP under lower emission pathways. Users may then translate avoided CDP to avoided losses using relationships between CDP and their specific exposure and vulnerability characteristics.