According to the researchers, climate change is linked to an increase in the frequency and intensity of natural disasters, which leads to the necessity of planning for and evaluating the risk of these disasters. Two years after Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico is still recovering, and weeks after Dorian decimated Abaco and Grand Bahama, the recovery process of what looks like an enormous blast zone is still unclear. The impacts on New Orleans of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 are still visible in that city today.
"We have a whole distribution of damages that we usually average to determine economic impacts," said Francesca Chiaromonte, holder of the Dorothy Foehr Huck and J. Lloyd Huck Chair in Statistics for the Life Sciences and professor of statistics at Penn State. "But it is the extreme events that cause the damages that are most difficult to deal with."
Events - Impacts - Costs - Averages - People
With the larger, dramatic events becoming more costly, understanding the impacts and planning for future costs are important. If only averages are looked at, people can miss important changes.
"Large events can overwhelm local infrastructures," said Klaus Keller, professor of geosciences and director of the Center for Climate Risk Management at Penn State. "Many decision-makers are designing strategies to manage climate risk. The success of these strategies often hinges critically on how extreme events are changing."
Policies - Costs - Impact - Events
Policies based only on average annual or decadal costs do not account for the increasing impact of the most dramatic events.
"Things really ramp up at the top 5% mark," said Chiaromonte, who is also scientific coordinator of the EMbeDS Department of Excellence at the Sant'Anna School of Advanced studies in Pisa, Italy. "And when we get to the top 1%, damages increased approximately 20 fold between 1970 and 2010."
Researchers - Regression - Data - Data - Findings
The researchers chose a quantile regression to analyze the data to move away from "average" data findings....
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