Researchers say storms will hit 5m or more people more often by the end of century, causing up to $1 trillion in economic damage
Tropical cyclones in Asia could have double the destructive power by the end of century, study finds
Climate change could bring a doubling of the annual loss of lives from tropical cyclones in Asia by the end of the century, according to a study published in the journal Nature.
Scientists based their calculation on predictions that as carbon emissions rise across the world, more frequent storms will affect more people and cause more economic damage.
Some 5 million people died from cyclones in Asia in 2013, with their destruction costing $106bn (£77bn), while that figure could rise to 10 million people dying and $1 trillion (£780bn) in economic damage if emissions rise as predicted, the study by scientists at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, in Germany, found.
Reducing emissions could lower these numbers, while being as effective as reducing carbon pollution, the researchers said. They found that tropical cyclones could hit 5m or more people more often by the end of the century.
“The worst-case scenario could be a doubling of death tolls and up to $1tn in economic damage,” said the study’s lead author, Stefan Rahmstorf.
Temperatures have risen more than 1C since pre-industrial times, while climate models predict more rapid warming from 20 to 30 years from now.
A record number of storms struck the Philippines and central Asia in 2018, with at least 120 people killed. In April, Typhoon Mangkhut killed more than 1,400 people.
Apart from more cyclones striking, the research also found that flooding, sea level rise and extreme heatwaves could hurt coastal and tropical agricultural zones, and the results were consistent with previous studies that showed human warming would make natural disasters more common.
Play Video 0:42 GALLERY: Typhoon Mangkhut batters Taiwan – video
Rahmstorf said climate change would impact by 2040 “very much beyond what is possible to reduce now”.
The researchers said these effects could make climate change as dangerous as air pollution.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” they wrote.
The research was conducted by researchers, including former German cabinet member Andreas Lauermann, from Germany’s Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Indonesia’s Bimol Agricultural University, Japan’s Japan Meteorological Agency and the University of California at Santa Barbara.