Socio-economic activities in the present world have become increasingly interdependent because of rapid technological progress, urbanization, and globalization. Because of these interdependencies between human society and natural ecosystems, climate impacts on one sector may influence other sectors, including seemingly remote ones, which we call “interconnections of climate risks”. While a substantial number of climate risks are identified in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), there have been few attempts to explore the interconnections between them in a comprehensive way.
In our study, we developed a method of effectively visualizing climate risks and their cause-effect relationships (both negative and positive impacts) based on a literature survey. We reviewed existing literature to extract climate risk items, as well as climatic drivers, i.e., physical changes in the global climate system caused by the emissions of climate forcers, such as an increase in air temperature or a decrease in precipitation. Overall, we identified a total of 87 risk factors that can be associated with seven sectors (water; food; energy; industry & infrastructure; disaster & security; health; and ecosystems), which are also consistent with the chapters in IPCC Working Group II AR5, and 17 climatic drivers. In all, 253 causal relationships were identified. Following the literature survey, we developed a practical methodology for visualizing chains of climate risks. To deal with the complexity of the overall network map, we divided the causal connections of climate risks based on the 7 sectors and generated network diagrams of risk interconnections. The figures were refined by our graphic designer to make the interconnections more easily traceable.