2011 the most expensive year for natural disasters in history

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:42 PM GMT on July 14, 2011

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An exceptional accumulation of very severe natural catastrophes, including earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand, tornadoes and flooding in the U.S., and flooding in Australia and New Zealand, make 2011 the highest-ever loss year on record, even after the first half-year, said re-insurance giant Munich Re in a press release this week. The $265 billion in economic losses accumulated this year exceeds the previous record year, 2005, which had $220 billion in damage (mostly due to $125 billion in damage from Hurricane Katrina.) Unlike 2005, this year's losses have been headlined by two huge earthquakes--the March 11 quake in Japan ($210 billion) and the February 22 quake in New Zealand ($20 billion.) But with the Northern Hemisphere's hurricane season just beginning, this year's record losses may see a significant boost from hurricanes.


Figure 1. Stunned survivors survey the destruction left by the EF-4 Tuscaloosa-Birmingham tornado of April. With a price tag estimated at $2 billion, this was the single most expensive tornado of all-time. The record stood only three weeks, being surpassed by the $3 billion in damage from the Joplin Missouri, tornado. The two tornado outbreaks that spawned these tornadoes rank as the globe's 3rd and 5th most destructive natural disasters so far this year. Image from an anonmous posting to Twitter.

Climate change and damage from weather-related disasters
In an interview with MSNBC, Peter Hoppe, who runs Munich Re's Geo Risks Research/Corporate Climate Center, said that while the damage trend for earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions is fairly stable, damage from severe weather events is on the upswing, even after factoring in increases in population and wealth. He cited natural events such as La Niña and El Niño as factors in some of the damaging weather events, but added that warming temperatures appear to be adding a layer "on top" of that natural variability. In particular, he noted that the floods this January in Australia--that nation's most expensive natural disaster of all time--occurred when ocean temperatures off the coast were at record warm levels. That meant "more evaporation and higher potential for these extreme downpours", and "it can only be explained by global warming."


Figure 2. The five most expensive natural disasters of 2011, as estimated by Munich Re.

However, the there is a lot of controversy on whether economic losses due to weather-related disasters is increasing due to climate change. A 2010 paper in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society by Netherlands researcher Laurens Bouwer titled, "Have disaster losses increased due to anthropogenic climate change?", looked at 22 disaster loss studies in various parts of the world. All of the studies showed an increase in damages from weather-related disasters in recent decades. The big question is, how much of this increase in damage was due to increases in population, and the fact people are getting wealthier, and thus have more stuff to get damaged? Fourteen of the 22 studies concluded that there were no trends in damage after correcting for increases in wealth and population, while eight of the studies did find upward trends even after such corrections. In all 22 studies, increases in wealth and population were the "most important drivers for growing disaster losses."

Bouwer's review of these 22 disaster loss studies was critiqued this year by Neville Nicholls of the School of Geography and Environmental Science of Montash University, Australia. His analysis, published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, notes that Bouwer's study of damage losses did not include the impact of improvements in building codes and weather forecasting. We can expect both factors to have significantly reduced damages due to storms in recent years. Nicholls concludes, "The absence of an upward trend in normalized losses may be due to a balance between reduced vulnerability (from improved weather forecasting and building techniques) and increased frequency or intensity of weather hazards." In his reply to Nicholls' comments, Bouwer states that Nicholls "provides no support that these factors have actually contributed to a substantial reduction in losses over the period of the last decades."

Jeff Masters

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541. txjac
AtHome ...happy to hear that you received some much needed rain ...hope there is more to come
Member Since: April 24, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 2624
What is that weaker storm, South of our Typhoon?

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539. txjac
Electricity Conservation Urged Thursday

Link

In Houston we are getting warnings about electricty shortages.
Member Since: April 24, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 2624
Quoting BahaHurican:
Perhaps he is going to offer Levi a guest blogger spot this season?
Said he was going on vacation soon? Time to batten down?
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Quoting bohonkweatherman:
10 to 20 percent in Central and South Texas but highs may be lower than 105? The High Pressure's influence will remain pretty strong over North and Central Texas is what I am hearing, most rain should remain east of us. I don't see the 100's going away for the Center part of the state until mid September at the earliest unless we get a flood or 2.


I hope y'all get some relief. June was brutal. Hopefully that's where the records will end.

July 14, 2011
June Was Scorching Hot
Month was hottest in Texas history

DALLAS — If you thought last month seemed like the hottest ever, you were right.

Texas recorded its warmest June since 1895, according to the National Weather Service. The mean temperature for the month was 85.2 degrees.

That compares to 83.5 degrees in Louisiana and 83.4 degrees in Oklahoma. Those two states, along with 13 others across mostly the South, recorded mean monthly temperatures that were “much above” normal, but Texas was the only state to break a record, the NWS reported.

In addition, October 2010 to June 2011 was the driest of any nine-month period for Texas since 1895. The state has recorded just 5.81 inches of rain so far in 2011, according to NWS maps.

The previous record was the stretch from June 1917 to February 1918.
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Quoting caneswatch:


I agree. Please Jason, just stick with one.


I 3rd that
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Quoting tropicfreak:
Jason dude that is like the millionth handle you have made, stick with one and stop constantly making new handles.


I agree. Please Jason, just stick with one.
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Jason dude that is like the millionth handle you have made, stick with one and stop constantly making new handles.
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Been awhile since we've seen this. Although it did knock out some power.


Orange County finally got what it needed in the form of a heavy rain shower. The rain was heavy enough so that water was rushing off the top of the former Sears building off MacArthur Drive.

July 14, 2011
VIDEO: Rainy Relief
Power outages reported across Orange County
Tommy Mann Jr. The Orange Leader Link

ORANGE — Orange County finally received some relief as heavy storms pounded the area Thursday afternoon.

Numerous power outages have been reported across Orange County as a result of late afternoon thunderstorms.
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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:



Poor guy, idk how it is now but up here in Va its 75 with a north breeze, b-e-a-utiful.


Agreed, our high today was 82 here in Richmond. Very comfortable and cooler air. This mornings lows bottomed out in the lower 60s which was the first time that has happened in a while. I think Tuesday morning we set an all time record highest low of 81, never in recorded history has that happened here in Richmond. At least this year our heat waves haven't been as prolonged as last years, plus we saw more rain so far. Nonetheless it was gorgeous out today.
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Quoting beell:


Speaking out of turn but that chart is @132 hrs. Same scenario, only this would be the next frontal boundary.


Thank you, sir!
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Good info. Thanks!
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What does it mean by "thermally driven descent"?



Tropical Cyclone Eye Thermodynamics
H. E. WILLOUGHBY



Hurricane Research Division, AOML/NOAA, Miami, Florida
(Manuscript received 10 June 1997, in final form 17 February 1998)
ABSTRACT
In intense tropical cyclones, sea level pressures at the center are 50–100 hPa lower than outside the vortex,
but only 10–30 hPa of the total pressure fall occurs inside the eye between the eyewall and the center. Warming
by dry subsidence accounts for this fraction of the total hydrostatic pressure fall. Convection in the eyewall
causes the warming by doing work on the eye to force the thermally indirect subsidence.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129902
528. BDAwx
Quoting Chriscf76:

Supposed to have a chance of rain all next week, hope we get every bit of it too!


I hope so too.
I'm not forecast to get any rain until Monday... :(
Member Since: August 3, 2009 Posts: 51 Comments: 545
527. beell
Quoting presslord:



Is that little bloblette over South Carolina related to the earlier predicted spin up offshore?


Speaking out of turn but that chart is @132 hrs. Same scenario, only this would be the next frontal boundary.
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Quoting AstroHurricane001:
18z GFS predicts new EPAC storm.



Development is much more likely on the Pacific side than in the Atlantic.
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Quoting Patrap:


Cross section of the core of a mature hurricane.

The updraft entrains midlevel air promoting mass and angular momentum convergence (blue arrow). It is this inflow that supplies the excess angular momentum needed to spin up the vortex.

Good stuff. So a tropical cyclone has more moving parts than just some thunderstorms at the center.

Condensation in the anvil causes a mesoscale updraft above the 0°C isotherm and precipitation loading by snow falling from the overhanging anvil causes a mesoscale downdraft below 0°C isotherm (yellow arrows). The melting level itself is marked by the radar brightband (green) and maximum mass convergence.

Makes sense since the divergence (vertically) at the freezing level would create a path of least resistance to inflow at that level.

This piece is a bit puzzling.

Inside the eye, thermally driven descent warms and dries the tropospheric column, leading to substantial pressure fall there.

What does it mean by "thermally driven descent"?
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Quoting Chriscf76:

yes it is! Looks like 60% chance for my area tomorrow.
10 to 20 percent in Central and South Texas but highs may be lower than 105? The High Pressure's influence will remain pretty strong over North and Central Texas is what I am hearing, most rain should remain east of us. I don't see the 100's going away for the Center part of the state until mid September at the earliest unless we get a flood or 2.
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Quoting AstroHurricane001:
18z GFS predicts new EPAC storm.




Is that little bloblette over South Carolina related to the earlier predicted spin up offshore?
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1st phase of defusing nuclear crisis 'over'

Good evening.
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Quoting Chriscf76:

Supposed to have a chance of rain all next week, hope we get every bit of it too!


Yep. Fingers crossed. :)
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18z GFS predicts new EPAC storm.

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Watch the upper and lower-level circulation near Typhoon Ma-on, an asymmetrical storm near the warmest spot of the open West Pacific. Steering flows direct the typhoon toward southwestern Japan while an upper-level anticyclone NW of the storm is maintaining the storm and fuelling subsidence to its north.







Two main scenarios exist for the storm. The storm could join the trough over China and sweep to the north, eroding the high and likely make landfall in or parallel Shikoku before turning east-northeastward into Honshu and riding the Kuroshio Current near Fukushima. Another possible track comes under the influence of a small developing tropical system E of the Philippines, which is nearly stationary due to winds from Ma-on pulling to the NE and prevailing winds moving to the SW. It could combine with the large plume of moisture to the east of Ma-on to pull the system more to the southwest, setting up an east-moving landfall over Kyushu or further west. For the typhoon to miss land, it would follow the GFS pattern into the Kuroshio Current. There is, of course the potential for multi-system interaction and a slight Fujiwara occurrence.
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Good evening. This just in... Big weather disaster may become part of a feature film.
:)

Weather bloggers chase a hurricane and find themselves in the 1900 Great Galveston Storm


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Quoting Patrap:
from 22:01


um, I think that eye looks slanted....

(poor humor.... groan)
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Ma-on Multi-Platform Tropical Cyclone Surface Wind Analysis



Currently, this product combines information from five data sources to create a mid-level (near 700 hPa) wind analysis using a variational approach described in Knaff and DeMaria (2006). The resulting mid-level winds are then adjusted to the surface applying a very simple single column approach. Over the ocean an adjustment factor is applied, which is a function of radius from the center ranging from 0.9 to 0.7, and the winds are turned 20 degrees toward low pressure. Over land, the oceanic winds are reduced by an additional 20% and turned an additional 20 degrees toward low pressure.

The five datasets currently used are the ASCAT scatterometer, which is adjusted upward to 700 hPa in the same manner as the surface winds are adjusted downward, feature track winds in the mid-levels from the operational satellite centers, 2-d flight-level winds estimated from infrared imagery (see Mueller et al 2006 ) and 2-d winds created from Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit (AMSU)- derived height fields and solving the non-linear balance equations as described in Bessho et al (2006). Past analyses also made use of the QuickSCAT scatterometer (i.e., prior to November 2009), but this satellite is no longer producing observations of surface vector winds.

Each of the input data are shown in subpanels following the analysis (i.e., storm-relative). Shown are AMSU winds, Cloud-drift/IR/WV winds, IR-proxy winds and Scatterometer winds; QuikSCAT, when available for past analyses (BLUE) and ASCAT (RED). All input data in these panels has been reduced to a 10-m land or oceanic exposure depending on the location (i.e., non-surface data has been reduced to a 10-m exposure).

How good are the wind estimates? Here is the verification based upon 2007 data . These statistics were based on 1) H*Wind data when available and 2) best track wind radii estimates from NHC. In interpreting the wind radii verification it is important to not that the zero wind radii are included in the verification, which both skews and inflates the MAE verification statistics. Note however detection is improved over climatology provided by Knaff et al. (2007).
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129902
515. beell
Continued rain chances for the central gulf coast tomorrow as a fairly strong ripple in the ridge periphery combines with the frontal boundary.

850mb vort
Friday 18Z



Surface fronts and weather
18Z Friday

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good news maons cone turned alittle east it might turn before japan and be no more than a radiated surfers delight
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Multi platform Tropical Cyclone MSLP and Maximum Winds

Minimum Sea Level Pressure is calculated directly from the azimuthally averaged gradient level tangential winds produced by the multi platform tropical cyclone wind analysis. The circular domain for the numerical integration has a 600km radius. The pressure deficit resulting from the integration is then added to an environmental pressure. The environmental pressure (Penv) is interpolated from NCEP analyses in a circle 600 km from the cyclone center. The maximum surface winds produced by the analysis are also shown.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129902
AMSU Area-Averaged Wind Shears and Layer Means

These products use the balanced 3-D wind field derived from the AMSU temperature retrievals to estimate the area averaged vertical wind shear and mass weighted deep-layer mean wind in two layers (200 to 850hPa and 500 to 850Hpa). For these calculations the area averaging is calculated in the area contained within 0 to 600km from the center of the cyclone. These are displayed for each AMSU retrieval time available. These may be useful for detecting rapid changes in the synoptic wind field. The reliability of the vertical wind shear estimates is documented in Zehr et al. (2008).

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129902
Quoting hurricanehunter27:
Ma-on will make landfall as a cat3 typoon acording to new forcast, when was the last time japan has been hit with this strong typoon?


Not sure, but it's not unreasonable at all. The west coast of Japan is vastly warmer than the eastern side. Thus, cool SSTs will not be a problem for Ma-On as it nears. If anything, vertical shear associated with the trough forecast to recurve the storm will be, but even that should not be enough to induce significant weakening.
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WP082011 - Typhoon MA-ON
1km Natural Color Imagery
Green Estimated
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129902
Quoting AtHomeInTX:


We just had a line move through. A little of this every evening would be great! Hope everyone gets some. :)


Supposed to have a chance of rain all next week, hope we get every bit of it too!
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Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129902
from 22:01

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129902
I keep looking at Ma-on's forecast track and thinking what's left of it will end up hitting Korea...
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Ma-on will make landfall as a cat3 typoon acording to new forcast, when was the last time japan has been hit with this strong typoon?
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Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:
...why does Dr. Masters' local weather say Annette Island, Alaska? Isn't WU headquartered in Michigan?

Perhaps he is headed up to visit Levi while on his vacation trip?
Perhaps he is going to offer Levi a guest blogger spot this season?
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do you guys see the wind shear in about 48 hrs and up to 72 hrs in the GOM. There is absolutely no wind shear at all. Could be signs of something happening real soon.
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Quoting bohonkweatherman:
Great news, East and Southeast Texas have a decent chance next several days.


We just had a line move through. A little of this every evening would be great! Hope everyone gets some. :)

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That Twave Jason is pointing at is the one Levi was talking about the other day, right?

Meanwhile, we got further rain showers over the western portion of New Providence today, some locally heavy.

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...why does Dr. Masters' local weather say Annette Island, Alaska? Isn't WU headquartered in Michigan?


Quoting BahaHurican:
Maybe he's blogging from there?
Perhaps he is headed up to visit Levi while on his vacation trip?
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498. beell
TUTT

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Quoting Chriscf76:

yes it is! Looks like 60% chance for my area tomorrow.


It's about time too!
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Quoting KoritheMan:


Just noticed it myself, actually. Weird.
Maybe he's blogging from there?
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Quoting bohonkweatherman:
Great news, East and Southeast Texas have a decent chance next several days.

yes it is! Looks like 60% chance for my area tomorrow.
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Quoting wxgeek723:
Perhaps I missed an explanation for this, but why does Dr. Masters' local weather say Annette Island, Alaska? Isn't WU headquartered in Michigan?


Just noticed it myself, actually. Weird.
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Perhaps I missed an explanation for this, but why does Dr. Masters' local weather say Annette Island, Alaska? Isn't WU headquartered in Michigan?
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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