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

Communicating the EEA-CATDAT database of past and present European disaster damage to the public

James Daniell1,2, Jaroslav Mysiak3, Wouter Vanneuville4, Andreas Schaefer1,2, Judith Claassen5, Jens Skapski1, Marleen de Ruiter5, and Roberth Romero1
James Daniell et al.
  • 1Risklayer GmbH, Karlsruhe, Germany (
  • 2Center for Disaster Management and Risk Reduction Technology / KIT, Karlsruhe, Germany
  • 3Risk Assessment and Adaptation Strategies, Centro Euro-Mediterraneo sui Cambiamenti Climatici, Venezia, Italy
  • 4Climate Change Adaptation, European Environment Agency, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 5Institute for Environmental Studies, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Over the past 20 years, the CATDAT disaster database has been collected using various research, government and private sector sources in order to examine the social and economic impacts of disasters globally and has been used extensively in the media both in post-disaster comparisons, as well as a standalone.

To aid the understanding of what disaster damages and losses actually entail, as well as to reduce the amount of miscommunication in the media, a new style of outreach is being used where a database for the European part of CATDAT is being improved and released over a number of years (2021-2026).

For Europe, the EEA-CATDAT database ( is presented which takes into account weather and climate-related extreme events in addition to geophysical events.

Over a 5-year period, a combination of updates to the database have been and will be implemented such as public outreach programs/workshops to understand better what is counted in disasters, how to combine together the socio-economic effects of multiple disasters properly, and where these events were actually located (i.e. including the footprints of historical events).

In addition, the commonly made errors in databases such as wrong event times, transcript errors in socioeconomic losses, faulty economic and social indicators for comparison, inflation and normalisation problems, language errors, and most importantly the different damage and loss definitions used across the EU, will be detailed and simplified for the understanding of the general public such as the differences between insurance, private sector and government estimates.

Using lessons learned from the last 10 years of science communication of CATDAT to the world, it is hoped that by undertaking such a communication effort, that errors in the media and scientific publications will be reduced. In addition, we hope that disaster damages and losses will be understood better including their trends; and that indeed governments, dataviz scientists and journalists as well as researchers will be able to benefit from the knowledge including in the MYRIAD-EU project on multi-hazard risk scenarios for Europe.

How to cite: Daniell, J., Mysiak, J., Vanneuville, W., Schaefer, A., Claassen, J., Skapski, J., de Ruiter, M., and Romero, R.: Communicating the EEA-CATDAT database of past and present European disaster damage to the public, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-17032,, 2023.

Supplementary materials

Supplementary material file