Because they did so much damage, Ian and Fiona will no longer be on the hurricane list. The name Ian has been with us since 2016 when he replaced Igor. Around longer, in 2010, Fiona took Francis’s slot. Now, in the 6-year name rotation, in 2028, F and I will belong to Farrah and Idris.
As late September 2022 Category 4 storms, Ian did the most harm in Florida while Fiona hit Puerto Rico and Canada hardest. Although their numbers differed considerably with Fiona’s dollar costs at $3 billion and Ian at $112 billion, and the direct and indirect fatalities at 29 for Fiona and 150 for Ian, both were devastating.
In their Beyond the Data blog, looking back and ahead, NOAA gave us a longer term disaster perspective.
Weather and Climate Disasters
In a recent update NOAA looked at last year’s billion dollar weather and climate disasters. Totaling 18, 2022 “tied” 2017 and 2011 for the third highest number of billion dollar disasters. Summarized by Adam B. Smith in his weather blog (yes, Adam Smith), “we had a high frequency, a high cost, and large diversity of extreme events…”:
You can see that Texas and Florida have experienced a disproportioate amount of the pain:
The dollar cost “scorekeeper” for the U.S. government is the National Center for Environmental Information (NCEI). When they figure out the dollar cost of a disaster, they include items like the following:
Our Bottom Line: Climate Change
Scientists at NOAA say they cannot be sure of why we’ve had more hurricanes, some with greater intensity, during the past 40 years. While human caused greenhouse warming played a role, they say that so too did natural variability and reduced aerosol cooling (less industrial soot that trapped heat). In addition, with coastal population and property up too, the damage has to excalate.
As for global warming, their predictions are somewhat of a surprise. Looking ahead, they expect that global warming could result in fewer Atlantic hurricanes, perhaps with slightly higher peak winds:
My sources and more: Seeing The Washington Post article on hurricane names, I decided we should return to the topic. In addition to NOAA’s 2022 storm totals, their blog is a handy source of information.