Global Tropical Cyclone Landfalls, 1970-2014


Above is an update on the data first presented in Weinkle et al. 2013, courtesy of Ryan Maue (@ryanmaue). The graph shows the number of landfalling tropical cyclones worldwide for 1970 through 2014. The data is broken down into weak (S/S category 1 and 2) and strong (S/S categories 3+) storms. For the definition of a landfall and other methodological details, please see the paper.

Some interesting points:

  • 2014 had 10 total landfalls. This is second lowest (tied with 4 other years) since 1970. The lowest was 1978 with 7.
  • The past four years have seen 50 total landfalls, the lowest four-year total since 1982. 1978-1981 had the lowest, with 41.
  • The annual averages over 1970-2015 are: 15.3 total, 10.5 Cat 1&2, 4.7 Cat 3+.

If you are interested in more data on global tropical cyclone activity, please visit Ryan Maue’s Global Tropical Cyclone Activity page. From that page, below are trends in all tropical cyclones of hurricane strength, not just those that make landfall.


7 thoughts on “Global Tropical Cyclone Landfalls, 1970-2014

  1. Did my eyes deceive me… Or did Munich Re just put out a January 2015 graphic showing an overall increase in weather disasters over the last year? I’d post the link from ThinkProgress but it generates a “sorry, this could not be posted” error.

    I thought I had heard that disasters were down, even dramatically, over the past year… Is that not the case?


    1. The Munch Re press release says –

      “In total, 980 loss-related natural catastrophes were registered, a much higher number than the average of the last ten and 30 years (830 and 640).”

      And that –

      “More than nine out of ten (92%) of the loss-related natural catastrophes were due to weather events. A striking feature was the unusually quiet hurricane season in the North Atlantic, where only eight strong – and thus named – storms formed; the long-term average (1950–2013) is around 11. In contrast, the tropical cyclone season in the eastern Pacific was characterised by an exceptionally large number of storms, most of which did not make landfall.”


  2. OK, I found it on ThinkProgress. I’m not sure why it didn’t originally show up under their Climate tab. Anyway, Joe Romm’s piece has little to do with what Munich Re actually said in their report. Romm quotes Munich Re from 2010,

    “it would seem that the only plausible explanation for the rise in weather-related catastrophes is climate change,”

    and conflates it with the most recent report. And what does that report say?

    Try “The absence of very severe catastrophes and a quiet hurricane season in the North Atlantic meant that losses from natural catastrophes in 2014 were much lower.”

    And again: “In total, 980 loss-related natural catastrophes were registered, a much higher number than the average of the last ten and 30 years (830 and 640). Broader documentation is likely to play an important role in this context, since, particularly in years with low losses, small events receive greater attention than was usual in the past.”

    Here that? “Broader documentation,” as in measurement bias from having too few actual disasters to worry about. Despite the increasing “number” of disasters, Munich Re also shows no change in $ losses relative to inflation and a sharp decline in deaths. There’s no mention of global warming at all. Joe Romm is making up his own reality, as usual.

    See the Munich Re release here:


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