THESIS | Population exposure tool

This tool computes heatwave days at each grid cell of the global land region over the CESM grid, for a current 20-year period (1986-2005) and a future period (2061-2080). It then computes exposure to heatwave days by matching heat wave day counts to current and future spatially resolved population projections for the same grid cells. It considers the effect of urban heat islands by defining heat wave days using rural, urban, or average temperatures in each grid cell. Aggregated statistics of population exposure and how it changes are computed as a function of climate (based on initial condition ensembles of CESM simulations) and demographic development (e.g., SSP) for large regions and at the globally aggregated scale.

An initial application of this tool was to consider temperature projections under RCP4.5 and RCP8.5, and population projections under SSP3 and SSP5. The current version of the tool is designed to carry out that analysis. The temperature projections come in the form of an ensemble of 15 alternative future trajectories under each RCP, which differ from each other solely due to the effects of internal climate variability.

See documentation for details of the tool, including definition of heatwave day, nature of the ensemble projections, grid resolution, and how the population projections are allocated to the CESM grid (pre-requirement).

Related Publication

Jones, B, et al. Avoiding population exposure to heat-related extremes: demographic change vs. climate change. Climatic Change (in preparation).

Released code

Source code (in R) can be downloaded here
A user name and password is required to access this repository, register here

Citation for Model Code:

Tebaldi, C. (2016, July 21). “Population Exposure Tool (Version 1)” NCAR THESIS Tools Library.
Retrieved from:
DOI: 10.5065/D6MG7MXJ


Download documentation (PDF) for the population exposure tool.

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