American Society of Civil Engineers

Cyclone Damage Risks Caused by Enhanced Greenhouse Conditions and Economic Viability of Strengthened Residential Construction

by Yue Li, (corresponding author), M.ASCE, (Donald and Rose Ann Tomasini Assistant Professor of Structural Engineering, Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Michigan Technological Univ., Houghton, MI 49931 E-mail: and Mark G. Stewart, M.ASCE, (Professor and Director, Centre for Infrastructure Performance and Reliability, The Univ. of Newcastle, New South Wales 2308, Australia. E-mail:

Natural Hazards Review, Vol. 12, No. 1, February 2011, pp. 9-18, (doi:

     Access full text
     Purchase Subscription
     Permissions for Reuse  

Document type: Journal Paper
Abstract: Hurricanes and tropical cyclones constitute significant sources of economic loss and social disruption. Furthermore, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, enhanced greenhouse conditions may increase the intensity and/or frequency of tropical cyclones (hurricanes), which potentially will result in more wind damage. The paper develops a risk-cost-benefit framework to assess regional cyclone damage risks and economic viability of several hazard mitigation strategies to address the challenge of potential increase in wind damage due to enhanced greenhouse conditions, using residential construction in North Queensland, Australia as an example. The analysis includes a probabilistic wind model to account for cyclone intensity and frequency, and a vulnerability function to represent the potential damage for a given wind speed. Increases in mean annual maximum wind speed from 0 to 25% over 50 years are considered to represent the uncertainty in changing wind hazard patterns as a result of climate change. The effect of regional changes to building inventory, rate of retrofitting, cost of retrofit, reduction in vulnerability, and discount rate will be considered. The risk-based cost-benefit analysis can be used to help optimize the timing and extent of retrofitting existing houses to adapt to the potential impact of enhanced greenhouse conditions.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Climate change
Benefit cost ratios
Risk management
Wind forces

Author Keywords:
Climate change
Loss estimation
Risk-cost benefit
Risk management