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 April 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Alexander de Sherbinin
Website
Guest Editor
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
Dr. Stefan Kienberger
Website
Guest Editor
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 1800 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.

Keywords

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

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Development and application of a Socioeconomic Vulnerability Indicator Framework (SVIF) for Local Climate Change Adaptation in Taiwan
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1585; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041585 - 20 Feb 2020
Abstract
This paper outlines the development of a socioeconomic vulnerability indicator framework (SVIF) which was designed to provide a tool to inform bespoke local adaptation actions along the Taiwanese coast. The framework incorporates a range of diverse indicators, from ones that are related to [...] Read more.
This paper outlines the development of a socioeconomic vulnerability indicator framework (SVIF) which was designed to provide a tool to inform bespoke local adaptation actions along the Taiwanese coast. The framework incorporates a range of diverse indicators, from ones that are related to demographic characteristics to others that represent economic and infrastructure features. As such, the framework encapsulates multiple and complex dimensions of socio-economic vulnerability rather than deriving a less nuanced single index; this is an approach that, whilst more commonly employed elsewhere, may mask critical features of socioeconomic vulnerability at local levels. The paper describes the piloting of the SVIF as it quantifies and visually summarizes the susceptibility and resilience of four townships (Mailiao, Kauho, Linbian and Jiadong) along the exposed coast of Southwest Taiwan. The paper demonstrates the SVIF’s potential in characterizing specific aspects of socio-economic vulnerability that local decision-makers could use to tailor local adaptation. The SVIF was successful in differentiating between the four local areas, highlighting clear differences between urban and rural townships. With further development by using a more participative approach and expanding its application to wider geographical contexts both in Taiwan and further afield, the authors are confident that the SVIF has the potential to provide a useful tool for local adaptation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Risk and Vulnerability Mapping)
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Open AccessArticle
Mobile Phone Data for Urban Climate Change Adaptation: Reviewing Applications, Opportunities and Key Challenges
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1501; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041501 - 18 Feb 2020
Abstract
Climate change places cities at increasing risk and poses a serious challenge for adaptation. As a response, novel sources of data combined with data-driven logics and advanced spatial modelling techniques have the potential for transformative change in the role of information in urban [...] Read more.
Climate change places cities at increasing risk and poses a serious challenge for adaptation. As a response, novel sources of data combined with data-driven logics and advanced spatial modelling techniques have the potential for transformative change in the role of information in urban planning. However, little practical guidance exists on the potential opportunities offered by mobile phone data for enhancing adaptive capacities in urban areas. Building upon a review of spatial studies mobilizing mobile phone data, this paper explores the opportunities offered by such digital information for providing spatially-explicit assessments of urban vulnerability, and shows the ways these can help developing more dynamic strategies and tools for urban planning and disaster risk management. Finally, building upon the limitations of mobile phone data analysis, it discusses the key urban governance challenges that need to be addressed for supporting the emergence of transformative change in current planning frameworks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Risk and Vulnerability Mapping)
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Open AccessArticle
Vulnerability Assessment of Forest Fringe Villages of Madhya Pradesh, India for Planning Adaptation Strategies
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 1253; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12031253 - 10 Feb 2020
Abstract
This study aims to assess the climate change vulnerability of forest fringe villages of Madhya Pradesh, India, and to identify the major drivers of vulnerability, which could help to develop effective adaptation strategies. A total of 325 households spread in 29 villages of [...] Read more.
This study aims to assess the climate change vulnerability of forest fringe villages of Madhya Pradesh, India, and to identify the major drivers of vulnerability, which could help to develop effective adaptation strategies. A total of 325 households spread in 29 villages of Hoshangabad, and Mandla districts were chosen for primary data collection during the summer of 2015. The selection of villages and households was carried out through stratified random sampling and systematic random sampling, respectively. The vulnerability index (score) was developed and analyzed with respect to the different socioeconomic parameters. The analysis revealed that it is not the social class of a household but the economic condition, level of education, and type of occupation/livelihood of the members of a household that are significant factors influencing the vulnerability of a household. Such findings suggest that government programs need to be designed to address the welfare of all social classes in the forest fringe villages. The study has significance in terms of providing a framework for prioritizing target households for different programs related to vulnerability reduction in the forest fringe areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Risk and Vulnerability Mapping)
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Open AccessArticle
Drought Risk to Agricultural Systems in Zimbabwe: A Spatial Analysis of Hazard, Exposure, and Vulnerability
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 752; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12030752 - 21 Jan 2020
Abstract
The devastating impacts of drought are fast becoming a global concern. Zimbabwe is among the countries more severely affected, where drought impacts have led to water shortages, declining yields, and periods of food insecurity, accompanied by economic downturns. In particular, the country’s agricultural [...] Read more.
The devastating impacts of drought are fast becoming a global concern. Zimbabwe is among the countries more severely affected, where drought impacts have led to water shortages, declining yields, and periods of food insecurity, accompanied by economic downturns. In particular, the country’s agricultural sector, mostly comprised of smallholder rainfed systems, is at great risk of drought. In this study, a multimethod approach is applied, including a remote sensing-based analysis of vegetation health data from 1989–2019 to assess the drought hazard, as well as a spatial analysis combined with expert consultations to determine drought vulnerability and exposure of agricultural systems. The results show that droughts frequently occur with changing patterns across Zimbabwe. Every district has been affected by drought during the past thirty years, with varying levels of severity and frequency. Severe drought episodes have been observed in 1991–1992, 1994–1995, 2002–2003, 2015–2016, and 2018–2019. Drought vulnerability and exposure vary substantially in the country, with the south-western provinces of Matabeleland North and South showing particularly high levels. Assessments of high-risk areas, combined with an analysis of the drivers of risk, set the path towards tailor-made adaptation strategies that consider drought frequency and severity, exposure, and vulnerability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Risk and Vulnerability Mapping)
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Open AccessArticle
The Integrated Spatial Pattern of Child Mortality during the 2012–2016 Drought in La Guajira, Colombia
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7190; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247190 - 15 Dec 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The El Niño phenomenon in 2012 triggered a drought in La Guajira, Colombia that extended until 2016. In this period, the average child mortality rate in the area reached 23.4 out of 1000. The aim of this paper is to identify the integrated [...] Read more.
The El Niño phenomenon in 2012 triggered a drought in La Guajira, Colombia that extended until 2016. In this period, the average child mortality rate in the area reached 23.4 out of 1000. The aim of this paper is to identify the integrated spatial pattern (ISP) of a single indicator in this case; child mortality. At the same time, the ISP identifies causes and priority areas for action. The socio-economic vulnerability (SEV) variables and spatial indicators related to child mortality were selected from the literature review and through meetings, workshops, and interviews with the affected community during fieldwork. Using correlation analysis and stepwise regression, the SEV variables with more accountability in child mortality during the drought were identified: Households with a monthly income of less than 100 USD, the number of people older than 65, and the number of people younger than 5 years old. Allocating weights to the SEV variables according to their degree of accountability in child mortality, its ISP has been identified. The far north of La Guajira was detected as the area most affected by child mortality and was, therefore, the priority zone for implementing actions focused on generating new sources of income. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Risk and Vulnerability Mapping)
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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 2
Abstract
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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Review

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Open AccessReview
Socio-ecological Interactions in a Changing Climate: A Review of the Mongolian Pastoral System
Sustainability 2019, 11(21), 5883; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11215883 - 23 Oct 2019
Abstract
Coping with climate change in socio-ecological systems is one of the most urgent issues facing the world. This is particularly true in socio-ecological systems, where climate not only influences social and ecosystem dynamics, but also modulates their interaction. In this paper, we presented [...] Read more.
Coping with climate change in socio-ecological systems is one of the most urgent issues facing the world. This is particularly true in socio-ecological systems, where climate not only influences social and ecosystem dynamics, but also modulates their interaction. In this paper, we presented a conceptual framework through a literature review and a trend analysis for assessing the impact of climate change that incorporates socio-ecological interactions. In particular, we focused on the Mongolian pastoral system, which has tightly coupled socio-ecological interactions, as a model for describing the framework. Our framework suggests that the flexibility in mobility of herders is the principal factor in determining the vulnerability of the socio-ecological system to climate change. The flexibility varies along a climatic gradient and socio-ecological interactions in each region have evolved to be suited to its local climate regime. Herders in northern and central regions of Mongolia move shorter distances, and less flexible, than those in southern (Gobi) region. Climatic hazards, on the other hand have been increasing across Mongolia with a trend toward warmer and drier conditions since the 1960s. We suggest that further warming and drying would have the greatest impact on northern and central regions due to lower flexibility in mobility among herders there coupled with the much higher livestock density in the regions. The findings support that maintaining flexibility of mobile herding will likely be crucial to reducing the vulnerability of the Mongolian pastoral system to climate change. 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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