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  • Author or Editor: R. A. Pielke Jr x
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R. A. Pielke Jr, C. Landsea, M. Mayfield, J. Layer, and R. Pasch

This paper reviews recent research on tropical cyclones and climate change from the perspective of event risk—the physical behavior of storms; vulnerability—the characteristics of a system that create the potential for impacts, but are independent of event risk; and also outcome risk—the integration of considerations of vulnerability with event risk to characterize an event that causes losses. The paper concludes that with no trend identified in various metrics of hurricane damage over the twentieth century, it is exceedingly unlikely that scientists will identify large changes in historical storm behavior that have significant societal implications, though scientists may identify discernible changes in storm behavior. Looking to the future, until scientists conclude a) that there will be changes to storms that are significantly larger than observed in the past, b) that such changes are correlated to measures of societal impact, and c) that the effects of such changes are significant in the context of inexorable growth in population and property at risk, then it is reasonable to conclude that the significance of any connection of human-caused climate change to hurricane impacts necessarily has been and will continue to be exceedingly small.

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Gerald A. Meehl, Thomas Karl, David R. Easterling, Stanley Changnon, Roger Pielke Jr., David Changnon, Jenni Evans, Pavel Ya. Groisman, Thomas R. Knutson, Kenneth E. Kunkel, Linda O. Mearns, Camille Parmesan, Roger Pulwarty, Terry Root, Richard T. Sylves, Peter Whetton, and Francis Zwiers

Weather and climatic extremes can have serious and damaging effects on human society and infrastructure as well as on ecosystems and wildlife. Thus, they are usually the main focus of attention of the news media in reports on climate. There are some indications from observations concerning how climatic extremes may have changed in the past. Climate models show how they could change in the future either due to natural climate fluctuations or under conditions of greenhouse gas-induced warming. These observed and modeled changes relate directly to the understanding of socioeconomic and ecological impacts related to extremes.

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