Climate Change and Extreme Weather Events in Latin America: An Exposure Index

Garlati, Adrian
Jan 2013
Climate change is changing the frequency and intensity of Extreme Weather Events (EWEs), particularly in poor developing countries, and the international community is increasingly suggesting the design of adaptation funds to resolve this situation. Measures of vulnerability and exposure to EWEs are a critical instrument in guaranteeing a transparent, efficient and equitable allocation process in these funds. Latin American countries, which contribute little to climate change but are hard-hit by EWEs, urgently need new indicators to back up their claims for financial and technical assistance. Using DesInventar data, the paper develops an innovative Disaster Exposure Index (DEI) that encompasses many disasters' impacts. DEI calculations indicate an unexpected scenario where some regions usually considered resilient are found to be exposed. The results call for further development of regional indicators to facilitate the international, national and sub- national allocation of adaptation funds.