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Predictions Based Solely On Atlantic Hurricane Activity Can Lead To Overestimation Of Risk

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  • mtneuman@juno.com
    Predictions Based Solely On Atlantic Hurricane Activity Can Lead To Overestimation Of Risk Boston MA (SPX) Jan 08, 2008 AIR Worldwide has announced results of
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 8 4:24 AM
      Predictions Based Solely On Atlantic Hurricane Activity Can Lead To
      Overestimation Of Risk

      Boston MA (SPX) Jan 08, 2008
      AIR Worldwide has announced results of the latest research by its team of
      scientists into the link between the formation of hurricanes in the
      Atlantic basin and U.S. landfall activity. The latest findings provide a
      context for better understanding the 2004-2007 hurricane seasons and
      demonstrate that using Atlantic basin activity as a proxy for landfall
      activity can lead to erroneous estimates of both landfall risk and
      potential insured losses.
      "By only focusing on the 2004 and 2005 seasons, it is easy to forget that
      every hurricane season is unique and actual landfall activity is a
      function of complex interactions between a range of environmental factors
      such as genesis location, sea surface temperatures and the depth of warm
      ocean waters, wind shear and atmospheric steering," said Dr. Peter
      Dailey, director of research in atmospheric science at AIR Worldwide.

      "A higher number of tropical storms in the Atlantic basin does not
      translate to an equivalent increase in hurricanes or landfalling

      AIR researchers found that a storm"s genesis location, or starting point,
      greatly influences its probability of making landfall along the North
      American coastline. The pattern of hurricane genesis locations changes
      from year to year and by comparing the pattern for a particular season to
      long-term climatological patterns, one can better understand why in some
      years the proportion of storms making landfall is high, while in other
      years it is low.

      AIR"s research can be used to analyze the landfall probabilities of the
      two strongest storms of the 2007 season " Category 5 hurricanes Dean and
      Felix " based on their genesis locations. Dean and Felix, which were the
      only storms this year to achieve greater than Category 1 status, both
      took southerly tracks across the Caribbean and eventually made landfall
      along the coasts of Mexico and Central America.

      "Contrary to popular belief, the U.S. did not `dodge a bullet" with
      respect to Hurricanes Dean and Felix," stated Dr. Dailey. "Based on where
      these storms formed and how they would track under typical steering
      conditions, our research shows that Hurricane Dean had a low chance of
      making landfall as a hurricane and Felix was much more likely to strike
      the Mexico or Central America coastline than the U.S."

      Sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic basin have been warmer than
      average every year since 1995. However, the percentage of Atlantic basin
      storms that make U.S. landfall as hurricanes has been below the long-term
      average of 14 percent in nine of those thirteen seasons. In 2007, only
      one of fifteen named storms made U.S. landfall as a hurricane, or less
      than 7 percent. More significantly, total wind energy in 2007 was 33
      percent below average despite two Category 5 storms.

      "The seasonal forecasters correctly projected that a higher-than average
      number of tropical storms would form in the basin in 2007," continued Dr.
      Dailey. "But it"s much more difficult to predict not only how many of
      these storms will become hurricanes, but more importantly how many will
      make landfall as hurricanes. Like many past seasons, the 2007 season
      showed that an elevated number of tropical storms does not always
      translate to more hurricanes or more landfalling hurricanes.

      In 2007, sea surface temperatures were not as warm as some scientists
      expected and significant wind shear suppression by La Nina did not
      materialize as they had anticipated. Clearly there"s a danger in assuming
      that one or two single seasons are indicative of a paradigm shift in
      hurricane risk. While 2004 and 2005 were both very active seasons, they
      were not good predictors of activity in 2006 and 2007."

      AIR employs one of the largest teams of professional meteorologists in
      the world of risk management and will continue to produce transparent,
      quantifiable and reproducible research on hurricane genesis and steering
      to provide an improved understanding of the factors that influence
      hurricane landfall probability.

      In addition to a standard view of hurricane landfall risk based on over
      100 years of historical data and over 20 years of research and
      development, the AIR U.S. hurricane model includes an alternative view of
      landfall risk under warm sea-surface temperature conditions.

      Under warm ocean conditions, AIR estimates U.S. insured losses to be 15
      percent higher than the long-term average. In some areas, such as the
      Northeast, AIR expects little difference from the long-term average. AIR
      intends to again submit its U.S. hurricane model for certification under
      the rigorous standards of the Florida Commission on Hurricane Loss
      Projection Methodology (FCHLPM) in 2008 for the twelfth consecutive year.
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