Past Research

Quantifying Vulnerability to Weather and Climate Hazards in the United States

Research dates: 2008-2010
Investigator(s): Robert Gottlieb, James Hocker, Mark Shafer

This project quantified vulnerability to climatological hazards by looking both at the occurrence of hazards and the socio-economic factors that contribute to vulnerability. An index was derived that identifies areas of the U.S. that are more susceptible to loss from meteorological hazards based on socioeconomic conditions and the actual occurrence of the hazards. The project examined physical vulnerability to seven different hazards: tornadoes, hail, wind, hurricanes, storm surge, wildfires, and drought. These were combined with a modified version of the Social Vulnerability Index (SoVI) to create composite vulnerability scores for each county in the contiguous United States. Combined vulnerability scores were highest in large cities and the southeastern U.S. and the lowest scores were in the upper Midwest and Northeast. Click here to listen to a recorded conference presentation on this research.