Diaz, H. F., and R. S. Pulwarty, 1997: Decadal climate variability, Atlantic hurricanes, and societal impacts: An overview. In Hurricanes: Climate and Socioeconomic Impacts, H. F. Diaz and R. S. Pulwarty (Eds.), Springer-Verlag, 3-14.


The level of societal risk to hurricane impact is a function of the frequency, strength, and duration of landfalling hurricanes, and of the degree of preparedness and types of mitigation strategies available to and employed by different segments of society. The goals of this book are twofold. First, we hope to bring together into one volume the state-of-the-art knowledge regarding hurricane variability on different time scales (from seasonal to decadal), the status of the current hurricane prediction capability (principally in the United States and Europe), and to consider some of the science-based implications of future climatic variability as it might influence the frequency and intensity of these great storms. A second objective is to explore a wide range of socioeconomic issues related to historical and recent impacts of hurricane activity in the Atlantic, to assess how these vulnerabilities may arise in different parts of the affected region (the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and U.S. East Coast), and to highlight the possible role of insurance in mitigation strategies. It is possible to increase societal vulnerability to a given event with and without changes in hurricane frequency. We hope to raise awareness of the potential impacts that global climate change may have on the climatology of tropical storm systems and to identify what those changes may mean in the context of socioeconomic trends and planning in the region.