WP 2 - Novel damage functions, impact channels and spatial heterogeneity

Work Package 2 is concerned with natural phenomena such as floods, storms, and droughts that can become hazards or even catastrophes if they happen to take place in the same locations where people or economic assets are and if they are strong enough to affect these.

We study the interplay between the strength of the natural phenomena and the distribution of Hurricane Katrina modeled inundation (above) and distribution of low-income households (below) in New Orleans. Source: U.S. Census, own flood modeling and illustration.people and assets all over the world. We model how that interplay brings about the damages from catastrophic events that are regularly reported and archived in a summarized manner by agencies. Finally, we use that interplay to make future projections of damages accounting for climate change.

In order to do so, we identify indicators such as flood depth, wind speed, or crop yields that measure the potential hazardousness of a natural phenomenon. Furthermore, we collect socioeconomic data sources (such as population or assets) and historically reported damage data. We then try to explain the variations in reported damages by the collected data and indicators. The understanding of this relationship will enable us to make projections about how future climate scenarios might affect damages from extreme events.

With a similar approach, we study the effects of extreme events on people from different economic and social backgrounds. This improves our understanding of how climate change affects parts of the global population differently from each other.

Damages from extreme events are expected to be among the predominant effects of climate change on human life. Therefore, our understanding of the damages caused by extreme events will play an important role in improving the models of climate and economy (IAMs) developed in WP 4.