30 June 2009

Tropical Cyclone Damages in China

A new paper has been published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society titled 'Tropical Cyclone Damages in China: 1983 to 2006" by Zhang et al. available here in PDF. The paper finds no trends in either tropical cyclone landfalls or in normalized damage, as indicated in the following two figures from the paper.

The paper concludes:
The direct economic losses and casualties caused by landfalling tropical cyclones in China during 1983–2006 are examined using the dataset released by the Department of Civil Affairs of China. . . The direct economic losses trended upward significantly over the past 24 yr. However, the trend disappears if considering the rapid increase of the annual total GDP of China, suggesting that the upward trend in direct economic losses is a result of Chinese economic development. There is no significant trend in tropical cyclone casualties over the past 24 yr.
What does this mean? This means everywhere that scholars have looked and published results in the peer-reviewed literature (including the United States, Caribbean, Central America, Mexico, China, India, non-China East Asia, and Australia), there have been no trends identified over the periods of record in either landfalling tropical storms or their damage.

Even though this is what the peer reviewed literature says, acknowledging as much is enough to get you labeled a "denier." We do live in interesting times.