CDMC Publications

Reference (article)

"Does Tropical Cyclone Modification Make Sense? A Decision-Analytic Assessment" - K. Klima, M.G. Morgan, I. Grossmann, K. Emanuel, Journal of Risk Analysis, 2010 (in review).


Since the demise of project Stormfury in 1983, little attention has been devoted to the possibility of intentionally modifying tropical cyclones (TC). However, following Hurricane Katrina and three other Category 5 hurricanes (Emily, Rita, and Wilma), which together resulted in at least 2,280 deaths and over $120-billion in damages (Blake et al., 2007), the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has recently begun to support an effort to identify and evaluate hurricane mitigation strategies through Project HURRMIT ([]). Using a decision analytic framing and FEMA's HAZUS-MH MR3 damage model (]), this paper asks, how sure must one be that an intervention will reduce TC damages before choosing to undertake a program of modification? The analysis is formulated in probabilistic terms, and assesses net benefits. In contrast to a much earlier application of decision analysis to TC-modification (Howard et al., 1972) , this work uses census data on the value of property at risk, and prior distributions on changing storm behavior based on data from hurricanes approaching the east coast of Florida since 1953. Even before considering both issues of liability that may arise from the fact that a modified storm is no longer "an act of God" as well as unforeseen environmental consequences, our results suggest that while TC modification techniques will likely alter TC behavior, one will have to be significantly more confident of the predictability and effectiveness of modification methods before their use can be justified. This work is supported by the Climate Decision Making Center through a cooperative agreement between the National Science Foundation (SES-0345798) and Carnegie Mellon University.


Klima, Morgan, Grossmann, Emanuel, 2010


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Climate Decision Making Center 2009