Asset exposure data for global physical risk assessment

Eberenz, Samuel; Stocker, Dario; Röösli, Thomas; Bresch, David N.

One of the challenges in globally consistent assessments of physical climate risks is the fact that asset exposure data are either unavailable or restricted to single countries or regions. We introduce a global high-resolution asset exposure dataset responding to this challenge. The data are produced using “lit population” (LitPop), a globally consistent methodology to disaggregate asset value data proportional to a combination of nightlight intensity and geographical population data. By combining nightlight and population data, unwanted artefacts such as blooming, saturation, and lack of detail are mitigated. Thus, the combination of both data types improves the spatial distribution of macroeconomic indicators. Due to the lack of reported subnational asset data, the disaggregation methodology cannot be validated for asset values. Therefore, we compare disaggregated gross domestic product (GDP) per subnational administrative region to reported gross regional product (GRP) values for evaluation. The comparison for 14 industrialized and newly industrialized countries shows that the disaggregation skill for GDP using nightlights or population data alone is not as high as using a combination of both data types. The advantages of LitPop are global consistency, scalability, openness, replicability, and low entry threshold. The open-source LitPop methodology and the publicly available asset exposure data offer value for manifold use cases, including globally consistent economic disaster risk assessments and climate change adaptation studies, especially for larger regions, yet at considerably high resolution. The code is published on GitHub as part of the open-source software CLIMADA (CLIMate ADAptation) and archived in the ETH Data Archive with the link https://doi.org/10.5905/ethz-1007-226https://doi.org/10.5905/ethz-1007-226 (Bresch et al., 2019b). The resulting asset exposure dataset for 224 countries is archived in the ETH Research Repository with the link https://doi.org/10.3929/ethz-b-000331316https://doi.org/10.3929/ethz-b-000331316 (Eberenz et al., 2019).

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Eberenz, Samuel / Stocker, Dario / Röösli, Thomas / et al: Asset exposure data for global physical risk assessment. 2020. Copernicus Publications.

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