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Journal Article

Global economic response to river floods


Willner,  Sven
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;


Otto,  Christian
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;


Levermann,  Anders
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

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Willner, S., Otto, C., Levermann, A. (2018): Global economic response to river floods. - Nature Climate Change, 8, 7, 594-598.

Cite as: https://publications.pik-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_22515
Increasing Earth’s surface air temperature yields an intensification of its hydrological cycle1. As a consequence, the risk of river floods will increase regionally within the next two decades due to the atmospheric warming caused by past anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions2,3,4. The direct economic losses5,6 caused by these floods can yield regionally heterogeneous losses and gains by propagation within the global trade and supply network7. Here we show that, in the absence of large-scale structural adaptation, the total economic losses due to fluvial floods will increase in the next 20 years globally by 17% despite partial compensation through market adjustment within the global trade network. China will suffer the strongest direct losses, with an increase of 82%. The United States is mostly affected indirectly through its trade relations. By contrast to the United States, recent intensification of the trade relations with China leaves the European Union better prepared for the import of production losses in the future.