Weather-Related Losses in the Built Environment: Societal Change and Climate Change

  • October 7, 2008
  • • Written by: Roger Pielke, Jr. 

Fall 2008 Vol 33, No 3

Abstract: Economic losses due to extreme weather events such as floods and tropical cyclones have increased dramatically in recent decades. Despite concerns among many scientists about the relationship of greenhouse gas emissions to climate extremes, the major reason for these losses is population growth and the location of property in harm’s way. Looking to the future, the role of societal development will almost certainly continue to overshadow projected changes in the frequency and/or intensity of storms and floods. This means that effective policies to address ever-escalating losses must focus on what, how, and where we build in regions prone to extreme events.