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Hurricane Risk in a Changing Climate

In June 2022, undeterred from what became Tropical Storm Alex, Dr. Jennifer Collins, a professor of geosciences at the University of South Florida (USF), led the Symposium on Hurricane Risk in a Changing Climate1 – a four-day conference that brought together 70 climate and risk scientists from around the world, as well as those from related disciplines, and reinsurance, to foster communication among scientists, engineers, and practitioners in an effort to increase understanding of tropical cyclone risks.

During the symposium, Yi-Jie Zhu, who graduated from USF in the summer of 2022 with his Ph.D., was selected by the judges2 for the prestigious MS Amlin Early-Career Presentation Award. The award recognizes a student who shows excellence in their presentation at the conference and is at the leading edge of the research on hurricane risk in a changing climate. Yi-Jie leaves USF with five lead-authored papers and two peer-reviewed book chapters, with additional chapters accepted since graduation.

Collins and co-editor Dr. James Done from UCAR published a book resulting from this symposium’s theme, called Hurricane Risk in a Changing Climate3, published by Springer in September 2022. The book provides a source reference for both risk managers and climate scientists for topics on the interface between tropical cyclones, climate, and risk. In the first two chapters, critical questions about hurricane risk and climate change are laid out, followed by a sequence of chapters exploring the hazard and impact in exposed coastal regions. One chapter (authored by Yi-Jie Zhu and Collins) explores the controls on the inland behavior of tropical cyclones and their regional variations, focusing on the duration of damaging winds and their inland extent. The final chapters focus on policy-relevant understanding of hurricane vulnerability, risk-related decision-making, and/or building design. There is also a chapter authored by Dr. Robin Ersing, a professor in the School of Public Affairs at USF, as well as Beverly Ward, and Collins, that explores the role of social networks in hurricane preparedness planning as they studied public housing residents.

This collaborative and interdisciplinary approach to risk assessment will advance management and response during preparation for and following tropical cyclone weather events. 


1The conference was sponsored by the University of South Florida Conference Award, MS Amlin, RMS, University of Miami School of Communication, and the American Association of Geographers. The organizing committee comprised Kerry Emanuel (MIT), Greg Holland (NCAR), Jan Kleinn (Kleinn Risk Management), Angela Burnett (Government of The Virgin Islands), Adam Sobel (Columbia University), and Yi-Jie Zhu (USF).

2Judges represented the following organizations: NCAR, Penn State, and reinsurance MS Amlin and RMS 

3Contributing lead authors and chapters include: 1. Hurricane Risk Management Strategies for Insurers in a Changing Climate Kelly Hereid, Liberty Mutual Insurance 2. Characteristics of Risk Jan Kleinn, Kleinn Risk Management 3. The Response of Hurricane Inland Penetration to the Nearshore Translation Speed Yi-Jie Zhu, University of South Florida 4. Estimating North Atlantic Hurricane Landfall Counts and Intensities in a Non-stationary Climate Jo Kaczmarska, RMS 5. Analysis of the Future Change in Frequency of Tropical Cyclone-Related Impacts due to Compound Extreme Events Patrick A. Harr, Jupiter Intelligence 6. Current and Future Tropical Cyclone Wind Risk in the Small Island Developing States Nadia Bloemendaal, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam 7. Development of a Simple, Open-source Hurricane Wind Risk Model for Bermuda with a Sensitivity Test on Decadal Variability Pinelopi Loizou, University of Reading 8. Climate Change Impacts to Hurricane-Induced Wind and Storm Surge Losses for Three Major Metropolitan Regions in the U.S. Peter Sousounis, AIR Worldwide 9. Downward Counterfactual Analysis in Insurance Tropical Cyclone Models: A Miami Case Study Cameron J. Rye, MS Amlin 10. Identifying Limitations when Deriving Probabilistic Views of North Atlantic Hurricane Hazard from Counterfactual Ensemble NWP Re-forecasts Tom Philp, Maximum Information 11. Estimating Tropical Cyclone Vulnerability: A Review of Different Open-Source Approaches Katy M. Wilson, Columbia University 12. Assessing the Drivers of Intrinsically Complex Hurricane Insurance Purchases: Lessons Learned from Survey Data in Florida Juan Zhang, Eastern Kentucky University 13. Exploring the Role of Social Networks in Hurricane Preparedness Planning: A Study of Public Housing Residents Robin Ersing, University of South Florida 14. Geohome: Resilient Housing for Climate Hazard Mitigation George Elvin, North Carolina State University 

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CAS Chronicles is the monthly newsletter for the University of South Florida's College of Arts and Sciences, your source for the latest news, research, and events at CAS.