Collecting and processing data, information, and knowledge is essential for building the foundation of the risk assessment. It involves gathering climate-related data, climate change projections, information on climate impacts, and data reflecting the current and potential future vulnerability of exposed systems. Data and information plays a crucial role in providing this information to support other modules and steps of the assessment. The level of effort required for data collection depends on the scale, complexity, and methodology of the climate risk assessment.
First, you will need to identify your data and information needs. During the scoping phase, it is important to assess the availability of information on climate, climate impacts, and socio-economic data. In the risk identification phase, you will analyse the availability of data and information for the identified key impacts and risks. In the risk analysis phase, you will assess the availability of data and information for each element of each key risk. The depth and spatial resolution of your assessment will determine the data and information requirements. You will need baseline geospatial data, such as for instance a terrain model, land use and land cover and administrative boundaries, to address spatial features. It is recommended to create a structured table to document data and information needs and availability for each risk component and indicator.
In the second step you will gather the required data and information for the area under review, check its quality and establish a data management system. Obtaining the necessary data for your assessment can range from downloading publicly available data to more complex processes, especially when dealing with climate datasets or conducting expert workshops and interviews. The process of data acquisition depends on the type of data required for the risk analysis, the availability of existing data, and the resources (time, finances, expertise) that can be allocated to generate the data if it is not readily available. Once you have gathered your data you will need to conduct a quality check. Sequentially, the data should be stored in a common database to avoid the risk of redundancy and data loss. Information on past trends and future climate projections are core pieces of information needed for any climate risk assessment. The data gathering process varies depending on factors such as the spatial extent and scope of the assessment, available resources, methodology, and data availability.
In the third step, you will summarise the information on climatic and non-climatic risk drivers. The data and information collected for the climate risk assessment will be mainly used in the risk analysis phase. To provide context for the risk identification, risk analysis, and risk evaluation, we recommend including a general overview on the data and information used, followed by dedicated chapters on climatic and non-climatic risk drivers in your risk report.
For a data-driven assessment that covers a larger number of sub-units aiming to identify spatial hotspots, we recommend applying a spatial composite indicator approach. A composite indicator is a complex indicator, which contains several combined (and weighted) individual indicators. Composite indicators allow to measure multi‐dimensional concepts (e.g. vulnerability to climate change effects) which cannot be captured by a single indicator.