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Journal Article

Double benefit of limiting global warming for tropical cyclone exposure


Geiger,  Tobias
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;


Gütschow,  Johannes
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

Bresch,  David N.
External Organizations;

Emanuel,  Kerry
External Organizations;


Frieler,  Katja
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

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Geiger, T., Gütschow, J., Bresch, D. N., Emanuel, K., Frieler, K. (2021): Double benefit of limiting global warming for tropical cyclone exposure. - Nature Climate Change, 11, 10, 861-866.

Cite as: https://publications.pik-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_26126
Tropical cyclone (TC) impacts are expected to worsen under continued global warming and socio-economic development. Here we combine TC simulations with an impact model to quantify country-level population exposure to TC winds for different magnitudes of global mean surface temperature increase and future population distributions. We estimate an annual global TC exposure increase of 26% (33 million people) for a 1 °C increase in global mean surface temperature, assuming present-day population. The timing of warming matters when additionally accounting for population change, with global population projected to peak around mid-century and decline thereafter. A middle-of-the-road socio-economic scenario combined with 2 °C of warming around 2050 increases exposure by 41% (52 million). A stronger mitigation scenario reaching 2 °C around 2100 limits this increase to 20% (25 million). Rapid climate action therefore avoids interference with peak global population timing and limits climate-change-driven exposure. Cumulatively, over 1.8 billion people could be saved by 2100.