Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


USC California superstorm would be costliest US disaster

A hurricane-like superstorm expected to hit California once every 200 years would cause devastation to the state's businesses unheard of even in the Great Recession, a USC economist warns.

Researchers estimate the total property damage and business interruption costs of the massive rainstorm would be nearly $1 trillion.

USC research professor Adam Rose calculated that the lost production of goods and services alone would be $627 billion of the total over five years. Rose, a professor with the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development, also is the coordinator for economics at the Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE) at USC.

That number would make the severe storm scenario "the costliest disaster in the history of the United States̶, Rose said, more than six times greater than the 2001 World Trade Center attacks and Hurricane Katrina, which each caused $100 billion in business interruption.

The storm simulation U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists termed "ARkStorm - or "atmospheric river storm" - is patterned after the U.S. West Coast storms that devastated California in 1861-62.

The storms lasted for 45 days, forming lakes in the Mojave Desert and the Los Angeles Basin. California was left bankrupt after the storms wiped out nearly a third of the state's taxable land, according to the USGS.

But those storms were no freak event, said USGS scientists, who called the ARkStorm model "plausible, perhaps inevitable."

The ARkStorm areas include Orange County, Los Angeles County, San Diego and the San Francisco Bay area. The megastorm likely would require the evacuation of 1.5 million people.

According to the USGS, the ARkStorm would:

create hurricane-force winds of up to 125 miles per hour in some areas and flood thousands of square miles of urban and agricultural land to depths of 10 to 20 feet.

set off hundreds of landslides that would damage roads, highways and homes.

disrupt lifelines such as power, water and sewers that would take weeks or months to repair.

Rose estimated the ARkStorm would cause the state's unemployment rate to jump six percentage points in the first year, a further blow to the California economy that currently has one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation at 12.4 percent.

Rose called the severe storm scenario "much more imaginable" after Los Angeles was hit with 9.42 inches of rain in December. It was the wettest December in downtown Los Angeles in more than a century.

Climate scientists said global warming is a major factor behind the increasingly destructive power of hurricanes and other storms.

The sea level is rising as oceans warm and glaciers melt, which can create higher storm surges and more disastrous flooding in coastal areas.

"Climate change affects how the whole ecosystem works," said Mark Bernstein, managing director of The USC Energy Institute.

"Storms form based on how warm the oceans are and how the jet stream changes," Bernstein said. "The consequence is [the rain] will come in shorter and more intense bursts."

Businesses and local governments can minimize the long-term impacts of such a disaster, Rose said, by creating emergency plans, increasing inventories of critical materials, backing up information systems, and diversifying supply chains and routes.

Merrill Balassone | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Ice shelf vibrations cause unusual waves in Antarctic atmosphere

25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

Fluorescent holography: Upending the world of biological imaging

25.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Etching Microstructures with Lasers

25.10.2016 | Process Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>