Emergence timescales for detection of anthropogenic climate change in US tropical cyclone loss data

Ryan P. Crompton, Roger A. Pielke, K. John McAneney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Recent reviews have concluded that efforts to date have yet to detect or attribute an anthropogenic climate change influence on Atlantic tropical cyclone (of at least tropical storm strength) behaviour and concomitant damage. However, the possibility of identifying such influence in the future cannot be ruled out. Using projections of future tropical cyclone activity from a recent prominent study we estimate the time that it would take for anthropogenic signals to emerge in a time series of normalized US tropical cyclone losses. Depending on the global climate model(s) underpinning the projection, emergence timescales range between 120 and 550 years, reflecting a large uncertainty. It takes 260 years for an 18-model ensemble-based signal to emerge. Consequently, under the projections examined here, the detection or attribution of an anthropogenic signal in tropical cyclone loss data is extremely unlikely to occur over periods of several decades (and even longer). This caution extends more generally to global weather-related natural disaster losses.

Original languageEnglish
Article number014003
Pages (from-to)1-4
Number of pages4
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Volume6
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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