Social inequalities in climate change-attributed impacts of Hurricane Harvey

Climate change 25.08.2022

New research estimates that climate change increased the number of properties flooded during Hurricane Harvey by up to 50%, disproportionately impacting disadvantaged, minority communities

Recent extreme weather events clearly highlight the growing influence of climate change on catastrophes

Fathom’s research suggests that severe flash flooding (pluvial) events will increase drastically, including those driven by hurricanes.

Attribution science allows us to estimate the impact of climate change on specific events using factual and counterfactual simulations of floods. 

This research, led by Dr. Kevin Smiley of Louisiana State University, uses data from Fathom-US 2.0 to examine the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey when it hit Texas in 2017. The authors find that 30 to 50% of flooded properties would not have flooded if it were not for human-caused climate change. 

Of this, climate-induced damages disproportionately impacted low-income Latina/x/o neighbourhoods outside FEMA’s 100-year floodplain.

It is estimated that between 30 to 50% of properties that flooded, were a consequence of human-induced climate change.
Each hexagonal bin symbolizes the number of residential buildings that would not have flooded without the added impact of climate change in Harris County, Texas during Hurricane Harvey. Taken from:

Head to Nature Communications for the full paper