Special Issue "Climate Risk and Vulnerability Mapping"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2019.

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Alexander de Sherbinin Website E-Mail
Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN), The Earth Institute, Columbia University, 61 Route 9W, PO Box 1000, Palisades, NY 10964 USA
Interests: climate vulnerability mapping; climate change-induced migration; environmental indicators; geospatial data applications; spatial data integration
Guest Editor
Dr. Stefan Kienberger Website E-Mail
Department of Geoinformatics—Z_GIS, University of Salzburg, Schillerstrasse 30, 5020 Salzburg, Austria
Interests: integrated spatial indicators; spatial analysis; Earth observation; risk and vulnerability assessment; disaster risk reduction; climate change adaptation; public health

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Measuring, analyzing, and mapping the societal risks and vulnerabilities of climate change has become part of the standard toolkit of climate risk and vulnerability assessments. This Special Issue focuses on the spatial assessment of climate risks and related vulnerabilities and the use of spatial data and analysis in field-based assessments. Papers may cover a range of spatial scales–from local to global–and represent any world region, and may be produced by authors from any discipline. Papers must:

  • Define the problem space–that is, the system of analysis (what is vulnerable or at risk?), the valued attributes of concern (why are they important?), the external hazard (to what is the system vulnerable and exposed?), and a temporal reference (when?)–and the purpose of the assessment;
  • Describe the analytical framework applied;
  • Provide adequate detail regarding the data and methods used;
  • Address the uncertainty in underlying data and methods;
  • Present one or more maps portraying results;
  • Address the policy relevance of the mapping/spatial analysis.

Case studies and mapping projects are especially encouraged that:

  • were developed in conjunction with stakeholders (i.e., transdisciplinary science) and/or where mapping results were applied in planning and decision-making contexts;
  • utilize statistical techniques/novel methods to identify the drivers of risk and vulnerability;
  • use future scenarios for climate and/or socioeconomic systems;
  • integrate various streams of data (ranging from survey data and official statistics to Earth observation data);
  • seek to validate mapping results.

In addition to case study or location-specific applications, we invite papers that explore spatial methods as well as papers critically reflecting on climate risk and vulnerability mapping.

Dr. Alexander de Sherbinin
Dr. Stefan Kienberger
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • mapping
  • climate change
  • climate vulnerability
  • social vulnerability
  • climate risk
  • geospatial analysis
  • data integration
  • vulnerability assessment

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessArticle
A PGIS-Based Climate Change Risk Assessment Process for Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Dependent Communities
Sustainability 2019, 11(12), 3300; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11123300 - 14 Jun 2019
Cited by 1
Climate change is affecting human and geophysical systems in a variety of complex and interdependent ways. For nature-based tourism-dependent communities like those along the North Shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota, impacts to the region’s abundant natural resources can subsequently affect the livelihoods [...] Read more.
Climate change is affecting human and geophysical systems in a variety of complex and interdependent ways. For nature-based tourism-dependent communities like those along the North Shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota, impacts to the region’s abundant natural resources can subsequently affect the livelihoods of individuals who depend upon those resources to provide essential ecosystem services and support the region’s economy. Many of the area’s natural and outdoor recreation resources are collaboratively managed, making cooperation essential to address climate change impacts. In this study, we engaged North Shore stakeholders in a climate change risk assessment process through an exploratory application of participatory geographic information systems (PGIS). Stakeholder involvement allows for the co-production of science to deliver locally-relevant data and information. Involving stakeholders through a PGIS-based climate change risk assessment process allows locally-relevant data and information to be represented and visualized spatially. We used PGIS focus groups, as well as pre- and post-surveys, to solicit stakeholders’ perceptions of risk thresholds (i.e., the time scale of impacts) and climate-related risk severity to sites with built infrastructure, natural amenities, and recreation and tourism destinations. The stakeholders’ knowledge, as well as their commitment to their communities and local environments, influenced general perceptions of region-wide climate-related vulnerabilities. The PGIS exercises generated important discussion among stakeholders and shed light on how to more efficiently collect spatially-explicit data and information from stakeholders that can be used to inform mitigation and adaptation efforts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Risk and Vulnerability Mapping)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Type of paper: Article
Title: Climate vulnerability mapping to support integrated water resources management in two river basins in Tanzania
Authors: Denis Macharia 1,*, Erneus Kaijage 2, Leif Kindberg 2, Grace Koech1 and Anastasia Wahome1
Affiliation:1   Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development; [email protected]
2   USAID Water Resources Integration Development Initiative
*   Correspondence: [email protected]; Tel.: +254-725-816-711
Abstract: Climate change is threatening water resources and livelihoods of communities living in the Wami-Ruvu and Rufiji basins in Tanzania. Increased demand for ecosystem services from the available surface water resources and a decreasing supply of clean and safe water is increasing the vulnerability of these communities. To address this, we worked with a USAID-funded Water Resources Integration Development Initiative (WARIDI) project, government and basin agencies to map climate vulnerability of communities and water resources in the basins. Through a stakeholder co-development process, we integrated climate, biophysical and socioeconomic indicators of exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity using GIS and produced climate vulnerability index maps for two the basins. The analysis identified vulnerability hotspots where communities and water resources are at a greater risk of negative impacts from climate stressors. High exposure and low adaptive capacity in rural areas drive overall vulnerability in the two basins. Outputs from this mapping are being used to train local government agencies on climate change adaptation and prioritize resilience building activities in the two basins. We recommend further studies be carried out to quantify the impact of increasing temperature and rainfall variability on communities and water resources in these basins.
Keywords: climate change; climate stressors; vulnerability; adaptation; resilience; GIS; spatial data

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