⚠️ This is the first operational version of the handbook, but it is still a work in progress and will be heavily updated during 2024! ⚠️

Risk Exploration

Risk Exploration#


Carrying out the Risk Exploration step kicks off a comprehensive process that starts with identifying hazards and risks that are most apparent or of significant concern to key stakeholders and the wider public. Leveraging current knowledge, including insights from experts and stakeholders identified in the scoping phase, allows a first identification of impacted sectors (including activities, supply chains, processes, and infrastructure) and geographic areas at risk (such as ecosystems, landscapes, and communities).It is useful for stakeholders to consider past and ongoing impacts on different sectors, areas and vulnerable groups, and connect them to specific hazards and risks to make “risk” more tangible at this early stage of the CRA process. A deeper dive into the system aspects may concretize affected entities (key systems, elements, sectors, communities, social groups, sub-regions), functions or processes that hold significant value in the local context (e.g. stakeholder interests, community priorities or public agenda) and a priori reveal (transboundary) connections or dependencies. These considerations are key for exploring risk in more depth and to choose Risk Workflows. From this step, potential risks can be narrowed down and prioritized by broadly exploring hazards, exposures and vulnerabilities while gathering relevant data and information for the choice of workflow(s). It is crucial to also select future scenarios that are relevant for the region and in accordance with the local planning, before moving to the Risk Analysis step and starting to use the Toolbox.


At this stage it’s crucial to rely as much as possible on factual evidence regarding climate hazards, impacts and risks if available. The focus should especially lie on those hazards that are most likely to result in severe consequences for the region.

Screen Risks#

The primary objective of exploring risks is to scrutinize current climate hazards or risks, as well as past and ongoing potential climate-related impacts. To do so, we recommend harnessing participatory approaches alongside data-driven methods to gather insights from experts and stakeholders, beyond the initial risk con-siderations from the scoping step. It is important to complement data and observations on the rate of change, frequency, intensity and duration of these events with stakeholders’ perceptions and local knowledge. Where possible, the exploration should dive deeper and cover the multiple dimensions of risk (e.g. taking into account monetary and non-monetary impacts, and cascading effects), relevant aspects, such as impacted sectors, spatial extent, pervasiveness, irreversibility of consequences, and implications across sectors, regions, boundaries or generations. This process also involves reflecting on existing CRM strategies to not only set a baseline, but also understand their effectiveness in past events and envisage their potential performance against ongoing impacts or near-future hazards and risks. All this together can help to get a bigger and better picture of the local climate-related risks. Hazards or risks can then be prioritized based on the outcomes of this first participatory process, taking into account objectives and scope defined in the scoping step and depending on the level of knowledge on hazards and risks in the region.


Utilizing maps and visual aids to depict exposure, vulnerability, climate-related hazards, impacts, and risks facilitates discussion on the nature and extent of impacts, identifying local risk hotspots, and under-standing direct and indirect effects.


When concluding the risk exploration step, it is important to formulate risk statements that include the system boundaries, the time horizon (e.g., ongoing, near-term, mid-term, long-term), affected entities (e.g., sectors, communities, social groups, sub-regions), relevant hazards, impacts or risks (e.g., increase of heavy rain events, drought and heat impacts), scenario assumptions (such as climate change, population growth). This clarity supports succeeding sub-steps: “Choose Workflow” and “Choose Scenario”.

Choose Workflow#

Within the CLIMAAX Toolbox, various risk workflows are proposed to conduct a detailed quantitative analysis of climate risks (see Risk Analysis). Following the prioritization of hazards or risks identified in the “Explore Risks” sub-step, the main goal here is to select the most suitable workflows. These chosen workflows aim to quantify specific risks concerning a particular region. Each workflow follows a ‘stepwise’ data processing and is included and further described in the CLIMAAX Toolbox. These workflows support: − The estimation of risks from the combination of hazard, exposure and vulnerability data. − The analysis of damages using damage curves alongside Hazard and Exposure data. − The evaluation of assets or populations exposed to specific climate-related hazards. The workflows allow for both a current risk analysis based on historical data and future climate change projections to quantify future risk emerging regional climatic shifts. The selection of the appropriate workflow(s) is crucial for accurately assessing and understanding the range of possible impacts, facilitating informed decision-making and CRM planning.


One Risk Workflow may have several options (e.g. Drought Risk). Make sure you understand the purpose, focus and advantages of each possibility.

Choose Scenario#

Based on the interests and concerns of the regions and their key stakeholders defined in Scoping and further refined in Explore risks, the primary objective of this sub-step is to identify the most appropriate scenario. Selecting scenarios may range from more simple SSP-RCP (see Technical Choices) considerations to a more demanding and detailed process considering climate models, regional resolution/downscaling, global warming levels, low-likelihood high-impact outcomes or impact-oriented climate information (see Annex in our deliverable XY). Choosing the right set of scenarios is crucial for the decision-context and policy output. It will help understand and characterize potential future risks while informing the development and evaluation of different CRM strategies.