Since 1851 there has been on average 5.4±2.5 (1SD) Atlantic Hurricanes per annum. There is a clear trend of rising frequency from 4.4 Hurricanes per annum in 1851 to 6.3 per annum today, that is a rate of increase of 1.2 hurricanes per annum per century.
Mortality from Hurricanes has also risen but at a rate that is only a small fraction of the growth in population. On average a Hurricane is expected to kill 135 people today but with a huge range from a handful to several thousands depending upon where landfall is made and severity. While tragic, this is a tiny cost that is dwarfed by the thousands of lives saved through deployment of better shelter, early warning, evacuation and rescue by helicopters, boats and vehicles; all provided by fossil fuels.
Once again I venture on to territory I’m sure must have been covered a hundred times before and one I know very little about. Are Atlantic Hurricanes becoming more frequent, getting worse and are they killing more people?
The answers. Yes, they seem to be getting more frequent. I don’t have the data to hand to say if they are getting worse. And yes, they are killing more people, but in a proportion that is way below population growth in affected areas. Machines, infrastructure and communications all built from or powered by fossil fuels are offering far greater safety from these natural disasters when they occur, saving many thousands of lives.
I want to begin by offering sympathy to all those affected by these on-going tragic events. We will send help out of our generosity.
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