Archive for the ‘AIR Worldwide’ Category

Climate Change and U.S. Severe Thunderstorm Risk

September 23, 2011 Comments off

Climate Change and U.S. Severe Thunderstorm Risk (PDF)
Source: AIR Worldwide

The United States is particularly susceptible to severe thunderstorm outbreaks. No other country experiences as many and as intense thunderstorm cells in a typical year. When all of the contributing conditions come together—atmospheric instability, moist warm air, and a mechanism capable of lifting the air and releasing its latent heat—the risk is clear.

The latest research on the influence of climate change points in two conflicting directions and further study is needed for scientists to be able to reach a consensus. In the near term—which may extend for decades or longer—which of the competing factors “wins out” may change from one year to the next, making it nearly impossible to attribute specific changes in the hazard to changes in climate until a very long and dependable historical record becomes available.

What is clear, in the United States and in most parts of the world, is that people are moving to and building homes in areas of higher risk. In comparison to climate impacts, these trends are more easily quantified and can more readily explain some part of the upward trend in losses.


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