EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Communicating impacts of climate change with the RECEIPT storyline visualizer

Gijs van den Oord1, Maarten van Meersbergen1, Peter Kok1, Jesus Garcia Gonzales1, Sander van Rijn1, Alessio Ciullo2, Elco Koks3, Ertug Ercin4, Henrique Moreno Dumont Goulart5, Esther Boere6, Christian Otto7, Patryk Kubiczek7, Robin Middelanis7, Carla Mauricio8, Keren Prize Bolter9, Dana Stuparu5, and Bart van den Hurk5
Gijs van den Oord et al.
  • 1Netherlands eScience Center, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • 2Department of Environmental Systems Science, ETH, Zurich, Switzerland
  • 3Institute for Environmental Studies, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • 4R2Water Research and Consultancy, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • 5Deltares, Delft, the Netherlands
  • 6International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Laxenburg, Austria
  • 7Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Potsdam, Germany
  • 8Arctik, Brussels, Belgium
  • 9Deltares USA, Silver Spring, Maryland, USA

Disseminating the effects of climate change and its potential future impacts to a wider audience is a demanding task, yet of great importance to society. Moreover, quantifying causal chains emerging from global warming is often impeded by the growth of unknown parameters related to modeling socio-economic responses. One method to obtain insights into the complex consequences of climate change is the use of physical climate storylines. Conceptually, storylines correspond to reasonable choices for the unknowns within the modeled impact transmission chain. They allow us to understand and describe the unfolding of climate-induced extreme events, making the impacts of global warming tangible to a wide range of potential stakeholders.

The RECEIPT project develops and applies the concept of climate storylines to provide risk information on climate change effects with a remote origin and an impact on European socio-economic sectors. Sectors that are being addressed within RECEIPT are the European critical infrastructure, manufacturing chains, the food system, financial markets and European international cooperation with (developing) regions. Experts within the consortium construct credible storylines for these sectors, often starting from extreme, disrupting historical events and translating these to counterfactual climate and socio-economic futures. These analyses are being published in scientific journals, but the RECEIPT consortium envisions an alternative dissemination channel to target a larger community.

The storyline visualizer ( is an interactive, web-based user interface, aimed at communicating physical climate storylines to an audience of informed stakeholders. The visualizer enables storyline developers in RECEIPT to structure their message into a logical progression of sections, and support each page with text, pictures, geospatial data and interactive charts. The visualizer also allows the user to explore data used within the storyline and browse through counterfactual futures. Currently, five storylines have been visualized with this platform, describing:

  • the future impacts of sea level rise and storm surges upon critical infrastructure around the French Atlantic coast, based upon storm Xynthia;

  • increased impacts of cyclones upon European overseas territories and the sustainability of the European Solidarity Fund within this context;

  • soy production disruptions in a warming climate and their impact on the European food system;

  • multi-breadbasket harvest failures, locust infestations and their impact upon food security in the Greater Horn of Africa;

  • the impact of extreme hurricanes in the Houston metropolitan area for global manufacturing chains and European industry.

Implementing these studies as captivating climate storylines in the visualizer has taught us valuable lessons; one particular challenge has been to handle the growing complexity of the analyses when multiple socio-economic aspects are taken into account. Using a minimalist approach, shifting the focus towards the modeled impacts rather than the full academic reasoning, have appeared to be a useful path forward, resulting in accessible yet credible storylines of climate impacts. In this session, we plan to showcase the capabilities of the storyline visualizer, review lessons learned during the implementation process and discuss possible applications beyond RECEIPT.

How to cite: van den Oord, G., van Meersbergen, M., Kok, P., Garcia Gonzales, J., van Rijn, S., Ciullo, A., Koks, E., Ercin, E., Moreno Dumont Goulart, H., Boere, E., Otto, C., Kubiczek, P., Middelanis, R., Mauricio, C., Prize Bolter, K., Stuparu, D., and van den Hurk, B.: Communicating impacts of climate change with the RECEIPT storyline visualizer, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-10040,, 2023.