Thursday, November 24, 2005

Increasing storms

Are the storms that we've had this year a sign of global warming? Or is it just coincidence (after all, we've had a pretty horrible year for earthquakes and tsunamis too).

I went looking for evidence, but couldn't find it in a casual sweep; I'm finding that global warming is becoming like a religion - either you believe in it or you don't, but it's really hard to find any information that seems impartial enough to trust the conclusion.

Anyway, from the insurance gossip I've heard, all you can conclude from the statistics so far is that there are more and more people in the world, so they are filling up places that were regarded as marginal, and not paying enough attention to building codes. If you look at the destruction in New Orleans, the parts of the city that were built 200 years ago did better than the recent parts.

There have been more hurricanes than average in the US season this year. But the increase is not yet statistically significant. They have also been in worse places, so the human cost, in lives and property, has been much greater. And so far, at least, that's what's creating the real impact in increased insured losses at lesat - we're richer, so we lose more, and there's more of us, so we live in more marginal places.


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