Macquarie University
2 files

Natural hazards, impacts and climate change

posted on 2022-03-28, 16:54 authored by Ryan Peter Crompton
As natural disaster losses have risen worldwide so too has concern that anthropogenic climate change might be contributing to this trend. This thesis tests the ongoing validity of consensus statements from a 2006 workshop dedicated to this issue. It presents new analyses that explore current and projected relationships between weather-related natural disaster losses and climate change (natural variability and anthropogenic). -- Analyses of a variety of natural disaster loss databases - Australian weather-related insured losses; building damage due to Australian bushfires, and the economic losses from US tropical cyclones - and a review of other recent tropical cyclone loss studies, support the 2006 workshop consensus statements and contribute to current consensus statements. These include: that societal change and economic development are the principal factors driving the increasing trend in natural disaster losses and it is not possible to determine what portion might be attributed to anthropogenic climate change; in many regions socioeconomic factors will be the main drivers of future increases in economic losses, at least for tropical and extratropical storms, and that the detection or attribution of anthropogenic climate change signals in economic loss data is extremely unlikely to occur over periods of several decades, at least for US tropical cyclone and global weather-related natural disaster losses. -- The results have important implications for policy aimed at minimising future losses. Policy responses need to consider and respond to multiple drivers of change. Employing both mitigation and adaptation contemporaneously will benefit society now and into the future. There is much to be gained in both the short and long term from reducing societal vulnerability to natural hazards and improved building standards and better land use planning are key ways to achieve this. In the absence of effective policy, future losses in many regions will rise rapidly due to expected societal changes and economic development. Anthropogenic climate change effects may exacerbate this trend. -- While the extreme impacts that natural hazards inflict on society capture public interest, difficulties with detection and attribution of anthropogenic climate change signals in natural disaster loss data means that there are far better justifications for action on greenhouse gas emissions.


Table of Contents

1. Introduction -- 2. Normalised Australian insured losses from meteorological hazards: 1967-2006 -- 3. Normalising the Insurance Council of Australia Natural Disaster Event List: 1967-2011 -- 4. Influence of location, population, and climate on building damage and fatalities due to Australian bushfire: 1925-2009 -- 5. Reply to the Nicholls (2011) comments on "Influence of location, population, and climate on building damage and fatalities due to Australian bushfire: 1925-2009" -- 6. Economic impacts of tropical cyclones -- 7. Emergence timescales for detection of anthropogenic climate change in US tropical cyclone loss data -- 8. Discussion, conclusions and future work -- Appendix 1. Nicholls (2011) comments on "Influence of location, population, and climate on building damage and fatalities due to Australian bushfire: 1925-2009".


Includes bibliographical references Thesis by publication.

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


Thesis (PhD), Macquarie University, Faculty of Science, Dept. of Environment and Geography, Risk Frontiers (Natural Hazards Research Centre)

Department, Centre or School

Department of Environment and Geography

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

John McAneney

Additional Supervisor 1

Roger Pielke


Copyright disclaimer: Copyright Ryan Peter Crompton 2012.






1 online resource (various pagings) col. ill., col. maps

Former Identifiers

mq:26298 1931092