Nassau County, NY, November 8, 2012– Aerial views of damage to Long Beach due to Hurricane Sandy. Following the hurricane, a nor’easter struck the area causing more power outages and additional flooding. Andrea Booher/FEMA

This article was originally published on ResearchGate.


“What will be on the receipt for Harvey, Irma, and Maria? We speak with Adam Smith of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, who calculates the cost of weather and climate disasters. Smith explains that a storm’s total cost includes all measurable things: destroyed office towers, damaged homes, farms and crops, business interruption costs, and public infrastructure like roads and bridges. Insurance companies provide initial totals, and then government agencies add the cost of repairing roadways, bridges, parks, and power lines.

To learn more about how the costs are calculated, visit Smith’s project US billion-dollar weather and climate disasters.

ResearchGate: What motivated you to study the cost of weather and climate disasters?

Adam Smith: This research seeks to bring the best and most complete disaster loss data together in a unified, systematic approach. We seek to quantify the total, direct costs for numerous weather and climate disasters including: hurricanes, drought, inland floods, severe local storms, wildfires, crop freeze events, and winter storms.

RG: Can you give an overall picture of these costs?  

Smith: The US has sustained 212 weather and climate disasters since 1980 where overall damages reached or exceeded $1 billion (including consumer price index (CPI)-adjustments to 2017 dollars). The total cost of these 212 events exceeds $1.2 trillion (as of July 2017)…”

Read on at: ResearchGate.