RACC Member Asim Zia - Land Use Adaptation to Climate Change

Land Use Adaptation to Climate Change: Economic Damages from Land-Falling Hurricanes in the Atlantic and Gulf States of the USA, 1900–2005
Published 5/7/2012 - Sustainability

Asim Zia

Global climate change, especially the phenomena of global warming, is expected
to increase the intensity of land-falling hurricanes. Societal adaptation is needed to reduce
vulnerability from increasingly intense hurricanes. This study quantifies the adaptation
effects of potentially policy driven caps on housing densities and agricultural cover in coastal
(and adjacent inland) areas vulnerable to hurricane damages in the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal
regions of the U.S. Time series regressions, especially Prais-Winston and Autoregressive
Moving Average (ARMA) models, are estimated to forecast the economic impacts of
hurricanes of varying intensity, given that various patterns of land use emerge in the
Atlantic and Gulf coastal states of the U.S. The Prais-Winston and ARMA models use
observed time series data from 1900 to 2005 for inflation adjusted hurricane damages and
socio-economic and land-use data in the coastal or inland regions where hurricanes caused
those damages. The results from this study provide evidence that increases in housing
density and agricultural cover cause significant rise in the de-trended inflation-adjusted
damages. Further, higher intensity and frequency of land-falling hurricanes also
significantly increase the economic damages. The evidence from this study implies that a
medium to long term land use adaptation in the form of capping housing density and
agricultural cover in the coastal (and adjacent inland) states can significantly reduce
economic damages from intense hurricanes. Future studies must compare the benefits of
such land use adaptation policies against the costs of development controls implied in
housing density caps and agricultural land cover reductions.


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