Category Archives: Featured

Climate Change and Hurricanes

For years now the debate about climate change has been obscured by ‘noise’ generated by especial interest lobbyists, political discrepancies, and the urge to blame someone else rather than take responsibility for our shared vulnerability.

I propose we tune the noise out and objectively take a hard look at the evidence linking components of climate change, such as global warming an sea level rise, and components of hurricanes, such as storm surge. By doing so we will be able to draw our own conclussions, which we can then apply to the practice of our professions and interests. This argument was central in an article I wrote in 2009. There is a Link between Climate Change and Hurricanes, which you may view by clicking on the preceding link.

My article was published as a “Letter to the Editor” in the May 2009 issue of Natural Hazards Observer. OBSERVERmay2009LETTERtoEDITOR

A Book on Hurricane Mitigation

  At the end of October 2005 Hurricane Wilma hit the region of Cancun, in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico as a strong category 4 tropical cyclone causing major damage from wind, storm surge and heavy rains over a vast area. Shortly after the impact I received a request from a member of the Quintana Roo State Legislature on behalf of the Office of the State Governor to conduct a field study in Cancun and surrounding areas, to assess the impact, identify main causes of damage, assess the performance of the preparedness and response by local authorities, and also to assess the performance of the built environment. I was also asked to write a report on my findings to be submitted to State authorities.

I organized a research team by inviting my colleagues Timothy Reinhold, internationally known wind engineer and VP for the Institute of Business and Home Safety (IBHS) and Hugh Gladwin, a social scientists, professor and director of the Institute for Public Opinion Research (IPOR) at Florida International University (FIU), and we were on the ground in Cancun a short 3 weeks after the disaster. Our findings were presented on a report ( in Spanish) submitted to the State Legislature and the Office of the Governor. INFORMEPRELIMINARvisita12142005

Based on findings from our field work and the written report I subsequently wrote a book, in Spanish, titled “Paraiso Protegido” focusing on the reduction of potential damage to the built environment from future hurricanes, through the application of hazard mitigation measures based on an assesment of vulnerability of various components of the built environment. The book is available in digital format (on CD), in Spanish, here in the USA. You can view the Foreword of the book by clicking on the link that follows: PROLOGO INTRODUCCION NOTAS