Could the UK Economy Be Impacted by an Increase in Tornado Occurrence: A Consequence of Climate Change in the 21st Century

Komali Kantamaneni, Mike Phillips, Rhian Jenkins, Judith Oakley, Obinna Ibeabuchi

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Violent tornadoes are uncommon in the United Kingdom when compared with the US tornado alleys where significant storms occur frequently. However, the UK does occasionally suffer moderate to strong tornadoes, as evidenced in Birmingham (2005), London (2006), and Essex (2013), all of which caused damage that cost approximately £68.5 million and a number of fatalities. These events inevitability lead to increased interest in UK tornado research in the 21st century. Consequently, this qualitative study primarily analyses the UK tornado damage costs in recent periods by incorporating an innovative methodology: the Three Path Analysis (3PA). Chronological records of destruction costs from tornadoes in the United Kingdom are taken and adjusted to current inflation and market rates. These amendments offer a more reliable comparative process, evaluating losses over time against a framework of significant social and economic change. Between 1050 and 2013, the most extensive and violent tornado (T8) occurred on 23rd October 1091 in London. However, the costliest tornado on record occurred in Birmingham on 28th July 2005. This tornado (T5) had a £51 million damage cost (adjusted to 2013 inflation rates). Rapid climate change scenarios suggest that weather patterns will favour tornado generation, and if strong to violent tornadoes travel through some of the world's trading centres such as London, Birmingham, or Manchester, damage costs would likely amount to more than £1 billion, negatively affecting national GDP during the 21st century. Therefore, this research provides an important contribution to extremely sparse literature with respect to the economic impact of UK tornadoes.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)22-39
    JournalInternational Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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