Special Issue "Climate Risk Assessment and Management"

A special issue of Climate (ISSN 2225-1154).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2015)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Iain Brown

Stockholm Environment Institute, University of York, York YO10 5DD, UK
Website | E-Mail
Interests: climate risk assessment; scenario analysis; adaptation strategies; bioclimatology; hydroclimatology; land use change; integrated assessment

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The IPCC has identified risk assessment as the recommended approach for characterizing the magnitude, likelihood, and urgency of climate change impacts. This approach has been increasingly adopted by governments, public agencies, and businesses as a means of prioritizing adaptation actions and defining the most viable strategies for addressing risks (including maximization of opportunities). However, there are major challenges in using conventional risk-based approaches for climate change. For example, lengthy time scales and the inherent uncertainty of the future climate present particularly thorny issues. Further challenges include identifying baseline risk in the presence of climate variability, and the difficulties involved in attributing risks (due to the interaction of climate and non-climate, i.e., socio-economic, factors). These issues are particularly exemplified by the difficulties associated with assessing extreme events and the cascades of multiple systemic risks. Unfortunately, these challenges are often of the highest importance for effective adaptation. This suggests that further refinement of tools and techniques may be required (e.g., in systems analysis, scenario analysis, cost-benefit analysis, impact modelling, vulnerability profiling, etc.). This refinement must be complemented by learning from existing approaches (such as in the design of regulatory frameworks). Discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of existing approaches may also be beneficial because different scientific disciplines and societal sectors have tended to use different techniques even though there is a growing need for more integrated approaches for investigating and communicating cross-cutting risks. This Special Issue welcomes diverse perspectives, case studies, and key findings on climate risk assessment. Studies are particularly required for adaptation-related decision making, risk prioritization, and the implementation of actions for risk management.

Dr. Iain Brown
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • climate risk assessment
  • climate risk management
  • extreme events
  • climate attribution
  • climate change adaptation
  • climate change uncertainty
  • complex systems analysis
  • vulnerability analysis
  • climate resilience
  • scenario analysis

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle A Common Methodology for Risk Assessment and Mapping of Climate Change Related Hazards—Implications for Climate Change Adaptation Policies
Climate 2016, 4(1), 8; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli4010008
Received: 30 November 2015 / Revised: 8 January 2016 / Accepted: 19 January 2016 / Published: 2 February 2016
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (6010 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 2014, suggests that an important increase in frequency and magnitude of hazardous processes related to climate change is to be expected at the global scale. Consequently, it is necessary to improve the level of preparedness and [...] Read more.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 2014, suggests that an important increase in frequency and magnitude of hazardous processes related to climate change is to be expected at the global scale. Consequently, it is necessary to improve the level of preparedness and the level of public awareness, to fill institutional gaps, and to improve territorial planning in order to reduce the potentially disastrous impact of natural hazards related to climate change. This paper mainly presents a new framework for risk assessment and mapping which enables countries with limited data sources to assess their risk to climate change related hazards at the local level, in order to reduce potential costs, to develop risk reduction strategies, to harmonize their preparedness efforts with neighboring countries and to deal with trans-boundary risk. The methodology is based on the European Commission’s “Risk Assessment and Mapping Guidelines for Disaster Management” (2010) and considers local restrictions, such as a lack of documentation of historic disastrous events, spatial and other relevant data, offering alternative options for risk assessment, and the production of risk maps. The methodology is based on event tree analysis. It was developed within the European project SEERISK and adapted for a number of climate change-related hazards including floods, heat waves, wildfires, and storms. Additionally, the framework offers the possibility for risk assessment under different future scenarios. The implications for climate change adaptation policy are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Risk Assessment and Management)
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Open AccessArticle Handling Interdependencies in Climate Change Risk Assessment
Climate 2015, 3(4), 1079-1096; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli3041079
Received: 20 August 2015 / Revised: 4 December 2015 / Accepted: 9 December 2015 / Published: 16 December 2015
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (1216 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Typically, a climate change risk assessment focuses on individual sectors or hazards. However, interdependencies between climate risks manifest themselves via functional, physical, geographical, economic, policy and social mechanisms. These can occur over a range of spatial or temporal scales and with different strengths [...] Read more.
Typically, a climate change risk assessment focuses on individual sectors or hazards. However, interdependencies between climate risks manifest themselves via functional, physical, geographical, economic, policy and social mechanisms. These can occur over a range of spatial or temporal scales and with different strengths of coupling. Three case studies are used to demonstrate how interdependencies can significantly alter the nature and magnitude of risk, and, consequently, investment priorities for adaptation. The three examples explore interdependencies that arise from (1) climate loading dependence; (2) mediation of two climate impacts by physical processes operating over large spatial extents; and, (3) multiple risks that are influenced by shared climatic and socio-economic drivers. Drawing upon learning from these case studies, and other work, a framework for the analysis and consideration of interdependencies in climate change risk assessment has been developed. This is an iterative learning loop that involves defining the system, scoping interaction mechanisms, applying appropriate modelling tools, identifying vulnerabilities and opportunities, and assessing the performance of adaptation interventions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Risk Assessment and Management)
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Open AccessArticle Combining Climate Scenarios and Risk Management Approach—A Finnish Case Study
Climate 2015, 3(4), 1018-1034; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli3041018
Received: 29 June 2015 / Accepted: 10 November 2015 / Published: 20 November 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (533 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Climate change impacts on nature and the environment have been widely discussed and studied. Traditionally, a company’s continuity management is based on risk analysis. There are also attempts to implement scenario-based methods in the risk management procedures of companies. For industrial decision makers, [...] Read more.
Climate change impacts on nature and the environment have been widely discussed and studied. Traditionally, a company’s continuity management is based on risk analysis. There are also attempts to implement scenario-based methods in the risk management procedures of companies. For industrial decision makers, it is vital to acknowledge the impacts of climate change with regards to their adaptation strategies. However, a scenario-based approach is not always the most effective way to analyze these risks. This paper investigates the integration of scenario and risk-based methods for a company’s adaptation planning. It considers the uncertainties of the climate change scenarios and the recognized risks as well as suitable adaptation strategies. The paper presents the results of climate risk analysis prepared for two Finnish hydropower plants. The introduced method was first piloted in 2008 and then again in 2015. The update of the analysis pointed out that at the company level, the climate risks and other risks originating from governmental or political decisions form an intertwined wholeness where the origin of the risk is difficult to outline. It seems that, from the business point of view, the main adaptation strategies suggested by the integrated risk and scenarios approach are those that support buying “safety margins” in new investments and reducing decision time horizons. Both of these adaptation strategies provide an advantage in the circumstances where also political decisions and societal changes have a great effect on decision making. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Risk Assessment and Management)
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Open AccessArticle Comparative Risk Assessment to Inform Adaptation Priorities for the Natural Environment: Observations from the First UK Climate Change Risk Assessment
Climate 2015, 3(4), 937-963; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli3040937
Received: 22 July 2015 / Revised: 26 October 2015 / Accepted: 2 November 2015 / Published: 17 November 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (545 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Risk assessment can potentially provide an objective framework to synthesise and prioritise climate change risks to inform adaptation policy. However, there are significant challenges in the application of comparative risk assessment procedures to climate change, particularly for the natural environment. These challenges are [...] Read more.
Risk assessment can potentially provide an objective framework to synthesise and prioritise climate change risks to inform adaptation policy. However, there are significant challenges in the application of comparative risk assessment procedures to climate change, particularly for the natural environment. These challenges are evaluated with particular reference to the first statutory Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA) and evidence review procedures used to guide policy for the UK government. More progress was achieved on risk identification, screening and prioritisation compared to risk quantification. This was due to the inherent complexity and interdependence of ecological risks and their interaction with socio-economic drivers as well as a climate change. Robust strategies to manage risk were identified as those that coordinate organisational resources to enhance ecosystem resilience, and to accommodate inevitable change, rather than to meet specific species or habitats targets. The assessment also highlighted subjective and contextual components of risk appraisal including ethical issues regarding the level of human intervention in the natural environment and the proposed outcomes of any intervention. This suggests that goals for risk assessment need to be more clearly explicated and assumptions on tolerable risk declared as a primer for further dialogue on expectations for managed outcomes. Ecosystem-based adaptation may mean that traditional habitats and species conservation goals and existing regulatory frameworks no longer provide the best guide for long-term risk management thereby challenging the viability of some existing practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Risk Assessment and Management)
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Open AccessArticle Perceptions of Obvious and Disruptive Climate Change: Community-Based Risk Assessment for Two Native Villages in Alaska
Climate 2015, 3(4), 812-832; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli3040812
Received: 13 June 2015 / Revised: 3 October 2015 / Accepted: 9 October 2015 / Published: 16 October 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (616 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
This work operationalizes the determinants of climate change risk, exposure and vulnerability, through the perceptions held by Native hunters, fishers, and gatherers in Savoonga and Shaktoolik, Alaska. Informed by their skill, experience, and the traditional knowledge of their elders, hunters, fishers, and gatherers [...] Read more.
This work operationalizes the determinants of climate change risk, exposure and vulnerability, through the perceptions held by Native hunters, fishers, and gatherers in Savoonga and Shaktoolik, Alaska. Informed by their skill, experience, and the traditional knowledge of their elders, hunters, fishers, and gatherers in these communities are astute observers of their environment and environmental change. A questionnaire is used to sort and rank their perceptions of the most obvious and disruptive elements of climate change as representations of exposure and vulnerability, respectively. Results represent the relative strength and significance of those perceptions of environmental change. In addition to other changes, storms are among the most obvious and disruptive impacts of climate change to respondents in both communities, while changes to sea ice tend to be more disruptive in Savoonga, a more ice-obligate culture, than Shaktoolik. Changes on the tundra are more obvious in Shaktoolik, but is the least disruptive category of change in both villages. Changes along the coast were both obvious and disruptive, albeit more so in Shaktoolik than Savoonga. The findings suggest that traditional ecological knowledge is a valuable source of information to access perceptions of risk, and develop climate risk management and adaptation plans. The questionnaire design and statistical methodology may be of interest to those working on community-based adaptation and risk assessment projects in high-risk, poor, and marginalized Native communities with small populations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Risk Assessment and Management)
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