It’s long been established that warming temperatures cause more frequent and intense precipitation. But placing a dollar value on the contribution of climate change to storm damage has been tricky.CatastropheProperty
Now, Stanford University researchers have determined that a third of the financial damage caused by flooding in the U.S. over the past three decades—almost $75 billion worth—can be attributed to excess precipitation caused by climate change.
Other studies have calculated the climate change differential in detail for small areas, while others have made rough estimates at the national level, the Stanford team said. Their paper, published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the first to make such a precise estimate at a large scale.
The publication was the result of a collaboration between Stanford climate scientists and economists aimed at conquering one of the biggest hurdles in attribution studies.
To determine how much damage is due to climate change, researchers first must identify and account for all the other factors that may have added to flood damage, such as increased construction and population in flood-prone areas and rise in home values.