Methodology

Strata uses a Convergence of Evidence approach to identify

Strata aggregates spatial data for climate, environmental, and peace and security stress indicators. It combines these with data layers on population exposure and socioeconomic vulnerability to produce hotspot maps highlighting where climate, environmental and security stresses overlap and where they coincide with populations vulnerable to these stresses.

The combination of data layers is based on the convergence of evidence approach developed by the European Commission’s Joint Research Center. In this approach, each indicator is assigned a threshold value, above which the indicator is “red flagged”, indicating a “level of concern”. The hotspot map shows the sum of all the red flags across the chosen indicators, weighted by the population exposure and vulnerability.

See the user guidebook and scientific article for more detailed information about Strata’s methodology.

Strata’s methodology provides:

  • → A transparent, robust theoretical framework
  • → A user-friendly and highly customisable experience
  • → Aggregation and disaggregation of selected stresses
  • → Full summary of the environmental, climate and socio-economic vulnerability conditions across the globe
  • → A multilevel approach from a sub-national to a global scale
  • → Support to users in their choice of actions and solutions

Visualise

Strata offers a variety of ways to visualise analytical results

Strata’s central feature is the hotspot map that visualises where environmental and climate-related stresses converge with insecurity and socio-economic vulnerability.

The hotspot results can be viewed as:

  • → A map showing the raw output of the hotspot calculation at the pixel scale available based on the selected indicators;
  • District and regional-level maps, in which the hotspot data is aggregated within political boundaries;
  • Charts and diagrams that deepen insights into specific regions and indicators.

Hotspot map and statistics for Ethiopia

Users can view the separate data layers feeding into the Strata hotspot map, including the individual stresses, exposure and vulnerability scores. Further, users can choose from various basemap options to identify locations below the hotspots, including satellite, terrain and hybrid options.

The maps, charts, and diagrams can be downloaded in picture format and as a data layer. The Strata guidebook linked text. provides more information about the methodology, customisation, visualisation, and interpretation of the outputs.

Customise

On the left hand panel, Strata allows users to select indicators from different thematic baskets and run dedicated analysis.

Instead of the threshold as defined by default, you can set your own threshold for this indicator. Before using advanced options, we recommend you read the section on indicators and thresholds in the User Guide since each indicator threshold is uniquely defined.

The code-free analysis and dashboard is powered by Earth Map. The data incorporated in Strata is sourced from public, trusted sources of which most are available on Google Earth Engine.

...
...
...

FAQ

Frequently asked questions

If you cannot find the information you need below, do not hesitate to contact us with your questions.

Strata is publicly available and can be used by anyone interested in exploring the convergence of environmental and climate stressors with social and economic variables relevant to peace and security. Strata has been developed for analysts, practitioners and policymakers working in the fields of climate change adaptation, natural resource management, and peace and security in conflict-affected regions. Its objective is to streamline climate security data and insights in their daily work and to support informed decision making and policy and programme development, It can also be a useful tool for researchers, analysts and students.

Strata is conceptualised as an environmental digital public good, and is free to use.

To get started, click here to access the platform. A quick starter guide is available here.

Follow the instruction on the access page to:

  1. use Strata’s open-access dashboard,
  2. create an account to use Strata’s full set of analytical features, and/or
  3. sign in as an existing user.

The main outputs of Strata are climate security stress maps visualised as heatmap and bitmap hotspots, together with diagrammes and tables to support interpretation of climate-related security risks. The goal of these output products is to streamline climate security data in peacebuilders and environmentalists daily work. They can strengthen:

  • baseline analyses (environmental, climate, conflict, political, multidimensional crisis situation),
  • design, monitoring, and evaluation of climate and environmental programmes, of conflict prevention and peacebuilding programmes,
  • awareness raising and training,
  • in-depth assessments, e.g. for climate-related strategies and environmental policies,
  • (adhoc) advice and prioritization for decision makers.

Strata is not designed as a forecasting tool to predict where certain impacts will be highest. Rather, it is designed to indicate locations where different stressors are occurring simultaneously, given the available time periods of each of the indicators.

Many of the stresses shown in Strata, whether climatic, environmental or security related, may be causes of other stresses, and there are complex pathways between different stresses, vulnerabilities, and impacts on people. Strata’s hotspots show the co-occurrence of risk factors, but do not indicate whether there is any connection, correlation, or causal pathway between those indicators. The quantitative data alone cannot fully explain these pathways and needs to be combined with local, in-depth, contextual, qualitative knowledge.

Strata’s indicators and datasets have different levels of confidence associated with them. These might be associated with the source of the data, the inputs it is based on, measurement errors, how frequently the dataset is updated, or the range of possible future conditions. While Strata does not currently provide an assessment of the confidence associated with each indicator, users should be aware that there will be uncertainty associated with the results, and should take this into account in their interpretation of the hotspot maps.

You can find the Strata Guidebook on under Resources. It provides support on the use and interpretation of Strata.

To combine the indicators across the three baskets into a hotspot map, Strata uses a methodology based on a Convergence of Evidence approach. The Convergence of Evidence is a methodology developed by the European Commission Joint Research Centre for the World Atlas of Desertification. For each of the selected variables related to climate and environmental security, a threshold is defined above which the level of that variable is considered a stress. The Convergence of Evidence approach stacks all the data layers of the selected indicator and counts how many of them surpass a critical threshold. The hotspot map shows the sum of all the red flags, i.e., the number of indicators that passed their threshold, across the chosen indicators, weighted by the population exposure and vulnerability. Some indicators have absolute thresholds fixed across all locations (e.g., peace and security); others have thresholds relative to past conditions (e.g. drought and deforestation) or relative to other locations (e.g. internally displaced people and access to healthcare). By selecting ‘advanced options’ on the indicator in the Strata platform, you can set your own threshold per indicator. Before using advanced options, we recommend you read the section on indicators and thresholds in the Guidebook since each indicator threshold is uniquely defined.

Strata has no predictive or future modelling capacity itself. However, it includes 3 variables representing future climate risks derived from climate projection models: flood likelihood, precipitation, and temperature. For these predictive variables one can select between two climate change scenario (RCP4.5 or RCP8.5), as well as the time horizon of the projection (2030, 2050, or 2080).

A climate-security hotspot is a location where there is a convergence of stresses related to climate and environment, socioeconomic vulnerability, and peace and security. A hotspot implies that further attention is required in that location; it does not mean that an event has occurred, nor does it imply any quantitative probability of anything occurring.

Strata works with three main baskets of indicators:

  • Climate and environment: Drought (agricultural), drought (meteorological), heatwave, deforestation, land degradation, flood likelihood, and coastal inundation risk.
    • Predictive trends: flood likelihood (future), precipitation (future), temperature (future).
  • Peace and security: Recent explosions/remote violence, recent violence against civilians, recent protests, recent riots, history of battles.
  • Socioeconomic vulnerability: Population density, percentage of elderly, children, and female population, number of internally displaced people, urban expansion, travel time to urban area, sanitation (fresh water availability), access to electricity, access to healthcare, irrigation, food insecurity.

Details of the data sources and thresholds used for each indicator can be found in the Overview of indicators and data sources as well as in the Guidebook.

Strata uses publicly available geospatial datasets, most of them derivatives of satellite imagery. All datasets incorporated into Strata have been tested and validated scientifically in relation to a defined set of criteria relevant to climate security and the provision of safe and trusted data.

The data sources for each individual indicator are specified on the online platform. Details on all the data sources is explicitly included in the Overview of indicators and data sources as well as in the Guidebook.

We are always looking to improve our data. If you are experiencing issues with a dataset or believe it is outdated or inaccurate, please contact our support team as described in the Contact tab.

UNEP Strata. 2022. United Nations Environment Programme. unepSTRATA.org (date accessed: Day Month Year).

Please note that citation of the original data provider(s) is required for any map created on the platform. This is a requirement for use of many datasets, and is a standard good practice. You can find links and references to the original data providers in the platform itself and in the Overview of indicators and data sources.