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Analysis of weather- and climate-related disasters in mountain regions using different disaster databases


Stäubli, Anina; Nussbaumer, Samuel U; Allen, Simon K; Huggel, Christian; Arguello, María; Costa, Felipe; Hergarten, Christian; Martínez, Rodney; Soto, Jaime; Vargas, Ruben; Zambrano, Eduardo; Zimmermann, Markus (2018). Analysis of weather- and climate-related disasters in mountain regions using different disaster databases. In: Mal, Suraj; Singh, R B; Huggel, Christian. Climate change, extreme events and disaster risk reduction. Cham: Springer, 17-41.

Abstract

Mountains are fragile ecosystems with global importance, providing key ecosystems services within mountainous areas but also for the lowlands. However, mountain regions are prone to natural disasters and exposed to multiple hazards. In this chapter, we present four disaster databases (EM-DAT, NatCatSERVICE, DesInventar, Dartmouth) that store information about spatiotemporal occurrence and impacts of natural disasters in mountain areas. Quality and completeness of the four databases are compared and analyzed regarding reliability for weather- and climate-related natural disasters. The analysis identifies the numbers of fatalities as the most reliable loss parameters, whereby the number of people affected and the economic loss are less trustworthy and highly dependent on the purposes of each database. Main limitations regarding sustainable mountain development are the inhomogeneity in database definitions, spatial resolutions, database purposes and lack of data registration for human and economic losses. While some individual disasters such as the Kedarnath flood in northern India in 2013 have been robustly linked to changes in climate, there is generally insufficient evidence to attribute any overall increasing disaster frequency to climate change. Damage due to hazard in mountain regions will increase irrespective of global warming, in regions where populations are growing and infrastructure is developed at exposed locations.

Abstract

Mountains are fragile ecosystems with global importance, providing key ecosystems services within mountainous areas but also for the lowlands. However, mountain regions are prone to natural disasters and exposed to multiple hazards. In this chapter, we present four disaster databases (EM-DAT, NatCatSERVICE, DesInventar, Dartmouth) that store information about spatiotemporal occurrence and impacts of natural disasters in mountain areas. Quality and completeness of the four databases are compared and analyzed regarding reliability for weather- and climate-related natural disasters. The analysis identifies the numbers of fatalities as the most reliable loss parameters, whereby the number of people affected and the economic loss are less trustworthy and highly dependent on the purposes of each database. Main limitations regarding sustainable mountain development are the inhomogeneity in database definitions, spatial resolutions, database purposes and lack of data registration for human and economic losses. While some individual disasters such as the Kedarnath flood in northern India in 2013 have been robustly linked to changes in climate, there is generally insufficient evidence to attribute any overall increasing disaster frequency to climate change. Damage due to hazard in mountain regions will increase irrespective of global warming, in regions where populations are growing and infrastructure is developed at exposed locations.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, not_refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Language:English
Date:2018
Deposited On:30 Jan 2019 15:57
Last Modified:25 Sep 2019 00:09
Publisher:Springer
Series Name:Sustainable Development Goals Series
ISSN:2523-3084
ISBN:978-3-319-56468-5
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-56469-2_2

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