A Brazilian Vulnerability Index Towards Natural Disasters and Climatic Change - Flashfloods and Landslides.
Wednesday, 16 December 2015: 09:30
309 (Moscone South)
There are some evidences that hydrological climate extremes events have become more frequent an intense in the last decades due to climatic change. In Brazil, flashfloods and landslides were responsible for 74% of the deaths related to natural disasters in 1991-2010 period. In this sense, climate change could be considered a threat which can further increase these numbers, if actions of adaptation and reducing vulnerability are not taken. To evaluate Brazil's vulnerability hotspots to these disasters, two vulnerability indexes were developed using three sets of variables: (1) climate, with IPCC climate extreme indexes; (2) environmental, including land use, drainage systems, relief map, slope, road density and hydrography variables; (3) socioeconomic, including Gini coefficient, HDI (Human Development Index), housing conditions and poverty-related index. The variables were normalized on a scale between 0 to 1 and related using Map Algebra technique (ArcGIS). As part of the effort to contribute to the elaboration of the Third National Communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and to contribute to the assessment of impacts on strategic country’s issues, simulations at higher resolution were carried out using Eta-20km RCM (Regional Climate Model) nested with two global climate models: HadGEM ES and MIROC 5 (INPE Brazilian National Institute for Space Research). For the baseline period of 1961-1990, the vulnerability indexes were adjusted by an iterative process, which was validated by comparing it to the Brazilian National Disasters Data. The same indexes found at baseline were used to estimate the vulnerability until the end of the XXI century, using the 4.5 and 8.5 IPCC/AR5 RCP (Representative Concentration Pathways) scenarios. The results indicate a large increase in Brazil’s vulnerability to landslides mainly in coastal zone, southern states, high lands of southeast states, and along the Amazon River due to climatic aspects only, not considering other factors such as increase in population size, etc. Flashfloods vulnerability, on the other hand, increases mostly in the south/southeast regions, the northeast coastal zone and parts of the Amazon basin.