Analysing the correlations in compound events between the EM-DAT and Earth System Data Lab databases

Jideofor Thomas Ogbu(1), Debarati Guha Sapir (1), Fabian Gans (2) Miguel Mahecha (2,3)
1: Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters, School of Public Health, Unisversité Catholique de Louvain, Brussels
2: Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Germany
3: Remote Sensing Centre for Earth System Research, Leipzig University, Germany

Climate and weather hazards such as droughts, flooding, wildfires, and storms, are typically strongly inter-connected events. The impacts of these extreme climate and weather events are easily understood by society in terms of the human and economic losses associated with these events. In 2018, for instance, more than 200 people were killed by wildfire and the damages associated with these wildfires was over 16 billion USD. In the same year, the Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters also reported that over 5 million people were affected by drought in Kenya and Afghanistan. The same report indicated that within the same period, over 2 million people in Central American were affected by droughts, while across Europe farmers and the health system were not left out from the onslaught of the combination of heatwaves and drought.

However, the impacts of these extreme events are often exacerbated by the previous alterations of ecosystem functioning that may precede humanitarian catastrophes. A better understanding of the societal impact of extreme events Рconsidering the intermediate ecological impacts Рcan only be achieved by coupling all available data streams in an efficient manner.  Given the nature and timelines between the occurrences and detections of the compound events, and the associated hazards, it is important to develop a platform that ties together the societal impacts of climate anomalies and the associated compound events.However, the impacts of these extreme events are often exacerbated by the previous alterations of ecosystem functioning that may precede humanitarian catastrophes. A better understanding of the societal impact of extreme events Рconsidering the intermediate ecological impacts Рcan only be achieved by coupling all available data streams in an efficient manner.  Given the nature and timelines between the occurrences and detections of the compound events, and the associated hazards, it is important to develop a platform that ties together the societal impacts of climate anomalies and the associated compound events.

In order to progress research in this interface between climate science, ecosystem research, and disaster risk reduction efforts, the Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disaster – CRED (Joris van Loenhout, Valentin Wathelet, Debarati Guha, Thomas Ogbu), Belgium, and the Max Planck Institute of Biogeochemistry – MPI, Germany (Miguel Mahecha, Fabian Gans and Guido Kraemer) cooperated over the past one and a half years in the context of the Earth System Data Lab project.

The aim of this collaboration was to tackle the problem of coupling the geo-referenced disaster events recorded in the Emergency Events Database of CRED with the environmental conditions and their anomalies as reported in the Earth System Data Lab.

Jideofor Thomas Ogbu and Miguel Mahecha discussing data-fusion strategies.

By coupling of all available geo-referenced data from CRED with anomalies that occurred before, during and after the events, we are now ready to analyze the temporal dynamics of extreme events. The team is now investigating under which conditions, climate-related hazards captured in the Emergency Event Database of CRED can be attributed to anomalies in climate variability and multiple dimensions of the terrestrial ecosystem dynamics. As an ongoing area of research, we intend to investigate the relationship between the economic impact data and climate anomalies data using appropriate statistical techniques.