Cover: Global Population Profile of Tropical Cyclone Exposure from 2002 to 2019

Global Population Profile of Tropical Cyclone Exposure from 2002 to 2019

Published in: Nature (2023). doi: 10.1038/s41586-023-06963-z

Posted on rand.org Dec 22, 2023

by Renzhi Jing, Sam Heft-Neal, Daniel R. Chavas, Max Griswold, Zetianyu Wang, Aaron Clark-Ginsberg, Debarati Guha-Sapir, Eran Bendavid, Zachary Wagner

Tropical cyclones have far-reaching impacts on livelihoods and population health that often persist years after the event. Characterizing the demographic and socioeconomic profile and the vulnerabilities of exposed populations is essential to assess health and other risks associated with future tropical cyclone events. Estimates of exposure to tropical cyclones are often regional rather than global and do not consider population vulnerabilities. Here, we combine spatially resolved annual demographic estimates with tropical cyclone wind fields estimates to construct a global profile of the populations exposed to tropical cyclones between 2002 and 2019. We find that approximately 560 million people are exposed yearly and that the number of people exposed has increased across all cyclone intensities over the study period. The age distribution of those exposed has shifted away from children (under-5) and towards older people (over-60) in recent years compared to the early 2000s. Populations exposed to tropical cyclones are more socioeconomically deprived than those unexposed within the same country, and this relationship is more pronounced for people exposed to higher-intensity storms. By characterizing the patterns and vulnerabilities of exposed populations, our results can help identify mitigation strategies and assess the global burden and future risks of tropical cyclones.

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