Hazard Exposure

Exposure to climate and geophysical hazards at the national level is evaluated in this step.
Users characterize two sets of hazards: climate hazards and geophysical hazards. This tool addresses the following climate hazards:
  • Precipitation and Flooding
  • Sea Level Rise
  • Storm Surge
  • Strong Winds
  • Drought
  • Extreme Temperature
The tool addresses these geophysical hazards:
  • Earthquakes
  • Tsunamis
  • Landslides5
  • Volcanic Eruptions
The phrase "climate and geophysical hazards" captures all of the hydro-meteorological, oceanographic and geophysical concerns outlined above. The term hazard refers to any of the above. These hazards were selected because they are highly relevant to most countries. The list is not exhaustive. In some locations, there may be certain hazards that are not explicitly addressed here; examples include dust storms, infestations, freeze-thaw cycles and permafrost melting. If a known hazard is missing from the tool, the user has the option to add it to the screening. (Note that the screening tool does not address man-made disasters, such as armed conflict or chemical spills.)
The tool relies largely on the World Bank Climate Change Knowledge Portal (CCKP) and the CCKP’s Country Adaptation and Risk Profiles for data concerning climate-related hazards and the occurrence of major geophysical hazards in the country. The CCKP data draw on global, quality-controlled data sets and is continually updated as new data becomes available. In some cases, the CCKP is supplemented with other sources of information. For more detail on the data used in this step, please refer to the Data Annex.
Hazard exposure is evaluated across the country. Exposure may be the same across the identified priority sectors, or it may be quite different. For example, in inland countries, both the agricultural and the industrial sectors may be exposed to riverine flooding but have no exposure to sea level rise. Users also have the option of adding their own notes to highlight regional differences in exposure where sectors are concentrated in the country, if known.
Exposure to climate hazards is evaluated in two time-frames: Historical/Current and Future. This is because past records are not necessarily indicative of future conditions. The Historical/Current time- frame captures past extreme events and recent climate trends, such as increases in average temperature from the 1960-1990 period to the 1990-current period. The Future time-frame focuses on the climate and climate-related conditions projected under different global climate models and development scenarios.
Climate Projections
The future projections of climate in the CCKP are currently derived from General Circulation Models (GCMs). These are the most advanced tools currently available for simulating the global climate system’s response to increasing greenhouse gas concentrations6. Those making climate risk assessments must use caution when applying these projections, because there is some uncertainty within the climate models. While this tool employs projections to develop a general sense of future trends, the resulting information should not be regarded as definitive. Further, the coarse geographic resolution of the projections (~200 km x 200 km) does not capture climate variability within each modeled grid cell. For more information on climate projections, please refer to the Data Annex.
The default time frame selected in the Country Adaptation and Risk profiles is mid century, 2040-2059. This time-frame is selected because it is most relevant to the lifetime of World Bank investments.
Because geophysical hazards (earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides and volcanic eruptions) do not have associated future projections, exposure to those hazards is assessed only in the Historical/Current time frame.
5 Numerous factors contribute to landslides, such as earthquakes, heavy rainfall and erosion. However, because landslides are fundamentally ground movements rather than climatic events, they are classified here as a geophysical hazard.
6 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. “What is a GCM?” Webpage (http://www.ipcc-data.org/guidelines/pages/gcm_guide.html)