Maximum wind speeds and US hurricane losses
Article first published online: 28 AUG 2012
©2012. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 39, Issue 16, August 2012
How to Cite
2012), Maximum wind speeds and US hurricane losses, Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, L16707, doi:10.1029/2012GL052740., and (
- Issue published online: 28 AUG 2012
- Article first published online: 28 AUG 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 17 JUL 2012
- Manuscript Revised: 16 JUL 2012
- Manuscript Received: 14 JUN 2012
- economic loss;
 There is academic, commercial, and public interest in estimating loss from hurricanes striking land and understanding how loss might change as a result of future variations in climate. Here we show that the relationship between wind speed and loss is exponential and that loss increases with wind speed at a rate of 5% per m s−1. The relationship is derived using quantile regression and a data set comprising wind speeds of hurricanes hitting the United States and normalized economic losses. We suggest that the “centercepts” for the different quantiles account for exposure-related factors such as population density, precipitation, and surface roughness, and that once these effects are accounted for, the increase in loss with wind speed is consistent across quantiles. An out-of-sample test of this relationship correctly predicts economic losses from Hurricane Irene in 2011. The exponential relationship suggests that increased wind speeds will produce significantly higher losses; however, increases in exposed property and population are expected to be a more important factor for near future losses.