BIOS probing hurricane risk in new study

  • Waves break over rocks at Warwick Long Bay as Joaquin passed over Bermuda earlier this month (Photograph David Skinner)

    Waves break over rocks at Warwick Long Bay as Joaquin passed over Bermuda earlier this month (Photograph David Skinner)

The Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences is undertaking new research on hurricane risk on the Island, in addition to its traditional focus on global catastrophic risk.

The group’s Risk Prediction Initiative, which traditionally focuses on global catastrophic risk, will be reconstructing a prehistorical record of hurricanes in Bermuda as part of the project.

Sediments deposited by hurricane storm surges and waves in Spittal Pond and Mangrove Lake will form the basis of the research.

According to a press release from BIOS, efforts are also under way to examine environmental conditions and impacts following Hurricane Joaquin’s passage near Bermuda last week.

Underwater glider data of near-surface temperatures collected during Joaquin will add to the understanding about the interactions between hurricanes and the ocean.

Hurricane Joaquin passed about 70 miles west of Bermuda earlier this month, about a year after Hurricanes Fay and Gonzalo, which both directly hit the Island. BIOS says this has prompted questions about the frequency of approach of dangerous storms to Bermuda.

RPI plans to work with local organisations to promote disaster risk reduction and foster an interest in hurricane data.

Mark Guishard, who heads RPI, stated: “Thanks to the generous initial sponsorship of the Bank of Butterfield, LRC Ltd and Polaris Holdings, plus support from the RPI member companies in the re/insurance sector, we are able to finally bring some expertise to bear on scientific questions surrounding Bermuda’s experience with hurricanes.”

In June, RPI hosted a hurricane workshop in London, in conjunction with its member companies and academic partners.

The workshop brought to light the need for further investigations into the perceived changes in hurricane landfall risk in the United States.

Dr Guishard is co-author of a paper that is soon to be published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society on the topic.

“One of the questions which interests me is the frequency of storms here in Bermuda and the open Atlantic, and the relationship with those which make landfall in North America and the Caribbean,” he said.

“Focusing on the Bermuda record as far back as a thousand years will be of great benefit towards addressing this important question.”

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Published Oct 14, 2015 at 1:28 pm (Updated Oct 15, 2015 at 1:26 am)

BIOS probing hurricane risk in new study

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