This article is an update of Dr. Roger Pielke's article originally published in 2010. See link below.
NOAA data shows a slight decline in hurricane strength and hurricanes making landfall over the last 113 year period.
Hurricane losses show a similar slight decline.
Abstract (of the 2008 article):The three conclusions here (hurricane strength, number and losses) are in decline. This data counters the global warming activist community's claims that all of those are increasing.
After more than two decades of relatively little Atlantic hurricane activity, the past decade saw heightened hurricane activity and more than $150 billion in damage in 2004 and 2005. This paper normalizes mainland U.S. hurricane damage from 1900–2005 to 2005 values using two methodologies.
A normalization provides an estimate of the damage that would occur if storms from the past made landfall under another year’s societal conditions.
Our methods use changes in inflation and wealth at the national level and changes in population and housing units at the coastal county level.
Across both normalization methods, there is no remaining trend of increasing absolute damage in the data set, which follows the lack of trends in landfall frequency or intensity observed over the twentieth century. The 1970s and 1980s were notable because of the extremely low amounts of damage compared to other decades.
The decade 1996–2005 has the second most damage among the past 11 decades, with only the decade 1926–1935 surpassing its costs. Over the 106 years of record, the average annual normalized damage in the continental United States is about $10 billion under both methods.
The most damaging single storm is the 1926 Great Miami storm, with $140–157 billion of normalized damage: the most damaging years are 1926 and 2005.
Of the total damage, about 85% is accounted for by the intense hurricanes.
It is noted that non-normalized losses are increasing. That is, because more people are living in hurricane-prone areas, and because of inflation, insurance claims for hurricane-related losses are increasing.