Population Growth Is Making Hurricanes More Expensive

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Why has the number of hurricanes causing $1 billion or more in damage more than doubled since the 1980s? And why has the total cost in damages risen eleven times?! The New York Times’ Ian Prasad Philbrick and Ashley Wu explore the “expanding bull’s-eye effect” — the tendency of population growth to make climate disasters costlier over time.

Coined by Villanova’s Steven Stader, the expanding bull’s-eye effect not only describes how urban sprawl makes regions more vulnerable to a mega-storm like #HurricaneIan, but also how development lessens the natural resilience of coastlines by transforming wetlands into impermeable asphalt.

The authors offer three potential solutions: mitigating greenhouse gas emissions; strengthening building codes; and encouraging migration away from high-risk areas. “But relocation is a tough sell,” they write. “Americans have flocked to Florida’s picturesque coast, despite its risks.”

They may not have that far to move. In our analysis of post-Ian Florida real estate trends, the Zip codes and counties poised to grow fastest in the next two decades are those farther from the coast. Read our analysis of how and why the smart money will escape the bull’s-eye.

#bullseyeeffect #climateadaptation #climaterisks #hurricanes

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