Habitation, wealth along coastline behind hurricane losses

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Washington, Mar 3 (UNI) It is neither global warming nor rise in intensity of hurricanes but increased human activities and settlements near the coastlines that leads to damages and destruction from the deadly storms.

The economic damages from hurricanes have increased in the US as a result of greater population, infrastructure, and wealth on the US coastlines, and not to any spike in the number or intensity of hurricanes, Science Daily reported.

''We found that although some decades were quieter and less damaging in the US and others had more land-falling hurricanes and more damage, the economic costs of land-falling hurricanes have steadily increased over time,'' said Chris Landsea, one of the researchers as well as the science and operations officer at NOAA's National Hurricane Center in Miami.

''There is nothing in the US hurricane damage record that indicates global warming has caused a significant increase in destruction along our coasts,'' he added.

In a newly published paper in Natural Hazards Review, the researchers also found that economic hurricane damage in the US has been doubling every 10 to 15 years. If more people continue to move to the hurricane-prone coastline, future economic hurricane losses may be far greater than previously thought.

''Unless action is taken to address the growing concentration of people and property in coastal hurricane areas, the damage will increase by a great deal as more people and infrastructure inhabit these coastal locations,'' Landsea said.

The results illustrate the effects of the tremendous pace of growth in vulnerable hurricane areas. If the 1926 Great Miami Hurricane were to hit today, the study estimated it would cause the largest losses at 140 billion dollar to 157 billion dollar, with Hurricane Katrina second on the list at 81 billion dollar.

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