Start of Project 11/2018
End of Project 10/2022

In the SLICE project, we aim to gain a deep understanding of the channels through which climate extremes such as fluvial floods, tropical cyclones and droughts impact socio­economic development in the short- and long-term. Socio­economic impacts are assessed on the household as well as on the macro­economic level in the present climate as well as for different climate and socio­economic futures. This allows us to estimate climate impacts that may be avoided by stringent emission reductions. These analyses aim at identifying high-risk countries  with high adaptive pressures and vulnerable groups within countries in order to support decision-makers in implementing the Paris Agreement.

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Project results

In the framework of the SLICE project, we could show that extreme weather events such as tropical cyclones, river floods, and droughts can have adverse long-term impacts on the socioeconomic development of countries. Especially, in strongly affected developing countries these long-term impacts can lead to poverty traps for poorer parts of the population and can have negative impacts on child health. They are especially worrisome since extreme weather events intensify in frequency and intensity under global warming and require effective and tailored coping and adaptation strategies. On the macroeconomic level, we found that national climate insurance schemes can effectively reduce climate-change induced increases in economic damages. However, especially in strongly exposed low-income countries these must be complemented by international climate finance instruments to effectively compensate for climate-change induced economic losses. On the household level, we showed that households with higher education have a higher resilience against drought-induced crop failures as well as against the adverse impacts of droughts on their childs’ health compared to households with less education.

Illustration of project results

The graphic depicts the country-specific vulnerability of per-capita economic growth accumulated over 15 years in the aftermath of tropical cyclones in the period 1980-2010. Box centers give estimates of accumulated growth responses with boxes spanning the standard error range. Box colors show significance at 90% level with red and green boxes showing significant negative and positive long-term impact, respectively. Non-significant results are indicated by grey boxes and greyed out country names. Growth in most countries is affected negatively by tropical cyclones in the long-term. Together with the projection that very intense tropical cyclones will become more frequent under global warming, this result could suggest that, in strongly affected “hot-spot” countries, tropical cyclones have the potential to reduce future development prospects in the absence of further adaptation measures. Importantly, we do not find lower vulnerabilities for developed countries so development alone does not seem to protect against tropical cyclone induced growth losses (reproduced from Krichene et al. 2021, World Development, 144, 105475).

Main Findings

  • Extreme weather events can slow down socio-economic de­velopment in the long term and lead to food in­security and poverty traps in severely affected developing countries.
  • The inten­sification of extreme weather events under climate change requires efficient, regionally co­ordinated adap­tation strategies.
  • Education can strengthen re­silience. Climate insurance is effective, but needs to be com­plemented by further adap­tation measures.


Falkendal, T. et al. (2021):
Grain export restrictions during COVID-19 risk food insecurity in many low- and middle-income countries. Nature Food 2 (1): 11–14.

Krichene, H., Geiger, T., Frieler, K., Willner, S., Sauer, I., Otto, C. (2021):
The Impacts of Tropical Cyclones and Fluvial Floods on Economic Growth – Empirical Evidence on Transmission Channels at Different Levels of Development. World Development 144: 105475.

Sauer, I., Reese, R., Otto, C., Geiger, T., Willner, S., Guillod, B., Bresch, D., Frieler, K. (2021):
Climate Signals in River Flood Damages Emerge under Sound Regional Disaggregation. Nature Communications 12: 2128.

Falkendal, T., Otto, C., Schewe, J., Jägermeyr, J., Konar, M., Kummu, M., Watkins B., Puma, M. J. (2021):
Grain export restrictions during COVID-19 risk food insecurity in many low- and middle-income countries. Nature Food 2 (1): 11-14.

Otto, C., Piontek, F., Kalkuhl, M., Frieler, F. (2020):
Event-based models to understand the scale of the impact of extremes. Nature Energy 5 (2): 111-114.

Geiger, T., Gütschow, J., Bresch, D. N., Emanuel, K., Frieler, K. (2021):
Double benefit of limiting global warming for tropical cyclone exposure. Nature Climate Change 11 (10): 861-866.