Research Topic

Tropical Cyclone Damage Mitigation and Risk Modeling

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The continuing population growth in natural hazard prone regions is accompanied by an increase in actual and potential hazard related economic losses. In the case of tropical cyclones, potential landfalling regions now have more infrastructure at risk than in previous decades. This trend of continued hazard ...

The continuing population growth in natural hazard prone regions is accompanied by an increase in actual and potential hazard related economic losses. In the case of tropical cyclones, potential landfalling regions now have more infrastructure at risk than in previous decades. This trend of continued hazard prone development is unlikely to abate, and has driven multiple related fields of hazard research to mitigate damage and better quantify economic risk.

Damage mitigation research and implementation plays an important role reducing the vulnerability of infrastructure. Existing residential buildings (commonly the largest contributor to insured losses) may be hardened against wind loads and wind driven rain ingress by improving building envelope components and systems wind resistance and improved top-down load paths. The implementation of such mitigations can be driven by code requirements (e.g. reroofing permits requiring modern building code compliance), incentives (e.g. homeowner insurance rate reductions), and homeowners willing to invest in reducing their likelihood of property damage. Mitigation in new construction is easier to implement through updated building codes, but this is constrained by poorly quantified cost vs. benefit information used in the code modification process. Thus the struggle to balance affordability with hazard resilience exists at the individual homeowner, industry stakeholder (construction related and insurance) and government levels.

Engineering advances are a necessary but insufficient aspect of hazard risk quantification and vulnerability reduction. Tropical cyclone hazard modeling (wind, surge, waves and flooding) disciplines are critical to inform the regionally specific loads engineers design for. Translating physical damage and recovery efforts to local and aggregate economic loss is highly nonlinear and requires economic (finance, actuarial) modeling expertise. Risk modeling integrates these disciplines to project the economic vulnerability of infrastructure. These models are commonly used by the insurance industry (and insurance regulating government entities) to determine risk-consistent rates and to conduct cost-benefit analyses of mitigation measures. A particularly challenging aspect of tropical cyclone risk modeling is at the nexus of wind and surge damage. In the United States wind and surge damage are insured by separate entities, and the determination of relative damage causation is necessary to project insured losses.

The recent advances in mitigation methods and multi-disciplinary risk modeling may be further enhanced by the study of human behaviors in preparation for and response to tropical cyclone events. Human perceptions of personal and community level risks vary greatly, and strongly influence aggregate vulnerability. Examples include the unequal time scales used to gage upfront mitigation cost against long term risk reduction savings, the use of effective but non-passive mitigation measures (e.g. window shutters) and the regionally weighted importance of evacuation.

This Frontiers Research Topic welcomes contributions in damage mitigation, risk modeling and behavioral research as it pertains to tropical cyclone related wind, flooding and surge hazards. Engineering, hazard, economic and social science aspects of these issues are welcome in this solicitation.


Keywords: risk modeling, hazard loss, tropical cyclone


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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