Document Type



Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor's Name

Hugh E. Willoughby

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Robert Burgman

Third Advisor's Name

Haiyan Jiang


Pareto, Zipf, Damage, Hurricane, Tropical Cyclone, Catastrophe Model, Normalized Damage, Hazard, Inventory, Vulnerability, Loss

Date of Defense



Tropical Cyclones are a continuing threat to life and property. Willoughby (2012) found that a Pareto (power-law) cumulative distribution fitted to the most damaging 10% of US hurricane seasons fit their impacts well. Here, we find that damage follows a Pareto distribution because the assets at hazard follow a Zipf distribution, which can be thought of as a Pareto distribution with exponent 1. The Z-CAT model is an idealized hurricane catastrophe model that represents a coastline where populated places with Zipf- distributed assets are randomly scattered and damaged by virtual hurricanes with sizes and intensities generated through a Monte-Carlo process. Results produce realistic Pareto exponents. The ability of the Z-CAT model to simulate different climate scenarios allowed testing of sensitivities to Maximum Potential Intensity, landfall rates and building structure vulnerability. The Z-CAT model results demonstrate that a statistical significant difference in damage is found when only changes in the parameters create a doubling of damage.





Rights Statement

Rights Statement

In Copyright. URI:
This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).