This research addresses the need for proactive climate risk management (CRM) by developing and applying a spatial climate risk and vulnerability assessment (CRVA) to flooding under consideration of the socio-economic dimension in Austria. Our research builds on a consolidated risk and vulnerability framework targeting both disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA) while integrating the consolidated risk approach of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Furthermore, our research advances current methodologies by applying a spatially explicit and indicator-based approach, which allows the targeted and place-specific identification of intervention options—independent from the spatial bias of administrative units. The flooding CRVA is based on a comprehensive list of 14 primary indicators and 35 socio-economic sub-indicators. Our results indicate that high levels of socio-economic vulnerability related to flooding are concentrated in the northern and eastern regions of Austria. When integrating a climate hazard proxy, statistically significant risk hotspots (>90% confidence) can be identified in central-northern Austria and towards the east. Furthermore, we established a typology of regions following a spatially enabled clustering approach. Finally, our research provides a successful operationalization of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) risk framework in combination with enhanced spatial analysis methods.
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