Paleotempestology: Geographic Solutions to Hurricane Hazard Assessment and Risk Prediction
Hurricanes are a meteorological phenomenon that can severely impact both the natural and socio-economic systems of the world (Elsner and Kara 1999). In terms of impacts on the natural environmental system, hurricanes and their associated storm surges and overwash processes can cause significant changes in coastal landforms and processes. Hurricanes can also cause perturbations in the hydrological and geomorphic systems, resulting in excessive rainfall, flooding, landslides, and storm deposition in lakes and waterways. As an ecological agent, hurricanes are an important disturbance mechanism that has long-term effects on the patterns of vegetation composition, biocomplexity, and successional pathways. In terms of societal impacts, hurricanes rank at the top of all natural disasters in terms of the number of deaths and the economic losses they caused in the United States. The Galveston (Texas) Hurricane of 1900, for example, resulted in more than 8,000 deaths — the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history. The costliest hurricane in U.S. history — Hurricane Andrew of 1992 — devastated Miami and then southern Louisiana, resulting in economic losses totaling more than $30 billion, about $16 billion of which are paid out by insurance companies. As a natural hazard, hurricanes account for 62 percent of all catastrophic insurance losses, hence a major concern for the property catastrophic insurance industry (Elsner and Kara 1999).
KeywordsReturn Period Hurricane Activity Mexico Coast Coastal Landform Hurricane Landfall
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