Global Distribution and Risks of Exposures of World’s Cities to Natural Hazards, Air Pollution and Climate Change

Danan Gu, United Nations Population Division
Patrick Gerland, United Nations Population Division
Thomas Spoorenberg, United Nations Population Division
Gerhard K. Heilig, United Nations Population Division

Cities are engines for economic growth, yet they have caused many social and environmental problems and understudied. Using data from the 2011 Revision of the World Urbanization Prospects, Natural Disaster Hotspots, and Global Agro-Ecological Zones, this study presents risks of exposures of worlds’ cities to six natural disasters (cyclones, floods, draughts, landslides, earthquakes, and volcanoes) and changes in temperature and precipitation for 633 largest cities in the world in 2011. The study also reviews changes in air quality in 63 worlds’ largest cities. Our results find that most cities are exposed to areas with a relatively high risk of at least one natural disaster, mainly in Asia. Our results further reveal that most cities, especially in Europe and Asia, had a rise in temperature in last forty years. While half of cities had a loss in precipitation, the other half had a gain in rainfalls in last forty years.

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Presented in Session 78: Urbanization and Climate Change