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 Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University

nachricht New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

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: Space observation with radar to secure Germany's space infrastructure

Satellites in near-Earth orbit are at risk due to the steady increase in space debris. But their mission in the areas of telecommunications, navigation or weather forecasts is essential for society. Fraunhofer FHR therefore develops radar-based systems which allow the detection, tracking and cataloging of even the smallest particles of debris. Satellite operators who have access to our data are in a better position to plan evasive maneuvers and prevent destructive collisions. From April, 25-29 2018, Fraunhofer FHR and its partners will exhibit the complementary radar systems TIRA and GESTRA as well as the latest radar techniques for space observation across three stands at the ILA Berlin.

The "traffic situation" in space is very tense: the Earth is currently being orbited not only by countless satellites but also by a large volume of space...

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

New solar solutions for sustainable buildings and cities

23.03.2018 | Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

For graphite pellets, just add elbow grease

23.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Unique communication strategy discovered in stem cell pathway controlling plant growth

23.03.2018 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

Sharpening the X-ray view of the nanocosm

23.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>