The exposure is estimated as the installed capital stock in each location. Annual global population distribution is available from census data on a resolution of approximately 10 km x 10 km. Based on these population distributions and the economic activity in cities a spatial subnational distribution of the gross domestic product (GDP) can be derived. On the national level, the annual ratio of GDP to capital stock is known for most countries. This allows to convert the present GDP in each location to a capital stock that is treated as the maximum value that can be damaged (See Figure 1).

Estimated distribution of capital stock as an example for the exposure modeling for each country. This is an extract of the annual global exposure maps we use for damage simulation.

FIG 1 / Image source: Sauer et al. (2021)


Sauer, Inga J, Ronja Reese, Christian Otto, Tobias Geiger, Sven N Willner, Benoit P Guillod, David N Bresch, and Katja Frieler. 2021. “Climate Signals in River Flood Damages Emerge Under Sound Regional Disaggregation.” Nature Communications 12 (1): 1–11.


1 Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Member of the Leibniz Association, Potsdam, Germany