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Damaging Tropical Cyclones of China
Reference
Zhang, Q., Wu, L. and Liu, Q. 2009. Tropical cyclone damages in China. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 90: 489-495.

Background
The authors write that China is "one of the countries that is most frequently affected by landfalling tropical cyclones," noting that "tropical cyclones are the most devastating natural disasters in Chinese coastal provinces, inflicting huge losses in property and human life."

What was done
Using information on landfalling tropical cyclones including landfall location and time, which they obtained from the Shanghai Typhoon Institute of the China Meteorological Administration for the period 1983-2006, along with concurrent casualty and economic losses resulting from landfalling tropical cyclones, which were provided by the Chinese Department of Civil Affairs, Zhang et al. examined cyclone-generated economic losses and human casualties in China, as well as their changes in space and time.

What was learned
The three scientists report that "direct economic losses trended upward significantly over the past 24 years," but that "the trend disappears if considering the rapid increase of the annual total GDP [gross domestic product] of China, suggesting that the upward trend in direct economic losses is a result of Chinese economic development." In addition, they state "there is no significant trend in tropical cyclone casualties over the past 24 years."

What it means
It is only because "the Chinese economy has been booming since the early 1980s," in the words of Zhang et al., that there has been an increasing trend in typhoon-caused economic losses there between 1983 and 2006; and they note that Pielke and Landsea (1998) and Pielke et al. (2008) have also found that "after adjusting for inflation, wealth, and population, they found no significant trend in economic losses caused by landfalling tropical cyclones." Once again, therefore, there is a dearth of evidence for the climate-alarmist claim that tropical cyclones are increasing in frequency and intensity in response to CO2-induced global warming.

References
Pielke Jr., R.A. and Landsea, C.W. 1998. Normalized hurricane damages in the United States: 1925-95. Weather Forecasting 13: 621-631.

Pielke Jr., R.A., Gratz, J., Landsea, C.W., Collins, D., Saunders, M. and Musulin, R. 2008. Normalized hurricane damages in the United States: 1900-2005. Natural Hazards Review 9: 29-42.

Reviewed 1 July 2009