Climate signals in river flood damages emerge under sound regional disaggregation

Sauer, Inga J., Reese, Ronja, Otto, Christian, Geiger, Tobias, Willner, Sven N., Guillod, Benoit P., Bresch, David N. and Frieler, Katja (2021) Climate signals in river flood damages emerge under sound regional disaggregation. Nature Communications, 12 (1). p. 2128. ISSN 2041-1723

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Climate change affects precipitation patterns. Here, we investigate whether its signals are already detectable in reported river flood damages. We develop an empirical model to reconstruct observed damages and quantify the contributions of climate and socio-economic drivers to observed trends. We show that, on the level of nine world regions, trends in damages are dominated by increasing exposure and modulated by changes in vulnerability, while climate-induced trends are comparably small and mostly statistically insignificant, with the exception of South & Sub-Saharan Africa and Eastern Asia. However, when disaggregating the world regions into subregions based on river-basins with homogenous historical discharge trends, climate contributions to damages become statistically significant globally, in Asia and Latin America. In most regions, we find monotonous climate-induced damage trends but more years of observations would be needed to distinguish between the impacts of anthropogenic climate forcing and multidecadal oscillations.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding information: This work was supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) under the research project SLICE (FKZ: 01LA1829A) and the Leibniz Society under the research project ENGAGE (SAW-2016-PIK-1). We further want to thank Munich Re for the kind provision of their damage records.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Attribution, Climate-change impacts, Natural hazards
Subjects: F800 Physical and Terrestrial Geographical and Environmental Sciences
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Geography and Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2021 11:20
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2021 11:30

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