Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change in Europe

From the Executive Summary:

Significant changes in climate and their impacts are already visible globally, and are expected to become more pronounced. In Europe, mountain regions, coastal zones, wetlands and the Mediterranean region are particularly vulnerable. Although there are some positive effects, many impacts are adverse. Existing adaptive measures are concentrated in flood defence, so there is considerable scope for adaptation planning and implementation in other areas, such as public health, water resources and management of ecosystems.

There are a number of challenges which should be addressed to make progress on climate change adaptation. These include:

  • improving climate models and scenarios at detailed regional level, especially for extreme weather events, to reduce the high level of uncertainty;
  • advancing understanding on 'good practice' in adaptation measures through exchange and information sharing on feasibility, costs and benefits;
  • involving the public and private sector, and the general public at both local and national level;
  • enhancing coordination and collaboration both within and between countries to ensure the coherence of adaptation measures with other policy objectives, and the allocation of appropriate resources.

Adaptation of Forest Ecosystems and the Forest Sector to Climate Change

This document has been prepared jointly by FAO and Intercooperation. It is intended to assist policymakers and other professionals involved in the planning, project formulation or implementation of adaptation measures for climate change in forest ecosystems. It is of particular interest to the people who deal with national communications to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

This document summarizes information that facilitates the definition and formulation of policies and projects aimed at decreasing vulnerability to climate change, with special emphasis on forest ecosystems and the social groups that depend on them. It emphasizes that adaptation to climate change must be part of a country’s development process, and that every adaptation action should be framed within the national development policies.

Shishmaref Partnership: Shishmaref Relocation and Collocation Study

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Alaska District (District) is currently investigating erosion problems in the community of Shishmaref, a Native Alaskan Community located on Sarichef Island. The island is located on the north coast of the Seward Peninsula, about 100 miles southwest of Kotzebue. The island is one of a chain of barrier islands that are parallel to the northern shoreline of the Seward Peninsula and separates the Chukchi Sea from a saltwater lagoon on the leeward side of the islands.

In response to the ongoing concerns over the threat posed to Shishmaref by the continuing seaward erosion, the community was selected by Congress to be part of the Section 203, Tribal Partnership Program, a study authority to assist Native Alaskan communities with water resource-related planning needs. In subsequent legislation, Congress asked to know about the practicality of and costs associated with relocating Shishmaref to the mainland.

Climate Change Projections for the United States Midwest

Environmental and societal factors such as air quality, water quality and availability, land use changes and expanding urbanization are already affecting human health and welfare, agriculture, and natural ecosystems in the Midwestern United States. Over this century, these existing stresses will likely be exacerbated by climate changes resulting from human activities. It is essential that policy decisions aimed at preserving the well-being of a region be informed by a good understanding of the region’s climate, how climate might change, and the uncertainties inherent in future projections. Recent updates in climate modeling expertise and an expanded view of possible non-intervention emission scenarios have narrowed the range of change that can be expected over the Midwest throughout the next century in some ways, while broadening it in others. In contrast to previous studies, which generally consider a mid-range scenario for future emissions, this study presents the range of change that would result from low to high scenarios for climate change. In this way we account for uncertainties in anthropogenic forcing on climate change in the region and quantify the potential effects of human actions on future climate. This analysis also combines the latest climate model projections with historical records of observed climate over the past century, effectively placing potential changes in extreme event frequencies such as heavy rainfall events and temperature threshold exceedances within the context of observed variability over the past century. The purpose of this study is to provide an updated picture of the potential impacts of climate change on the Midwest to inform the impact assessment and policy development community. From the magnitude of the changes projected by this study, it is clear that these must be included in future policy decisions in order to ensure the successful adaptation and survival of existing human and natural systems in the Midwest.

Climate Change and Water Quality in the Great Lakes Region: Risks, Opportunities, and Responses

From the Introduction:

Climate provides fundamental limits on and opportunities for human activities and ecosystem functioning within the Great Lakes region. A changing climate could lead to alterations in the frequency and severity of droughts and floods; water supply; air, soil, and water quality; ecosystem health; human health; and resource use and the economy. Climate change may act through multiple pathways; interactions in and impacts on the Great Lakes ecosystem can be dynamic and non-linear. Within the Great Lakes watershed, there are already numerous stressors that cause ecosystem change including land use change, pollution, eutrophication, invasion of exotic species, and acid precipitation. A changing climate should be considered as another agent of change acting in concert with other ecosystem stresses.

Recognizing that this emerging issue required a survey of the potential impacts and the ability to adapt, the Great Lakes Water Quality Board commissioned a white paper to explore the implications of a changing climate on the Great Lakes watershed (Figure 1-1). The white paperaddresses four broad questions:

  • What are the Great Lakes water quality issues associated with climate change?
  • What are the potential impacts of climate change on the “beneficial uses” in the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement?
  • How might these impacts vary across the Great Lakes?
  • What are the implications for decision-making?

Shishmaref Relocation Strategic Plan January 2002

The community of Shishmaref has determined that the threat to life and property from reoccurring beachfront erosion requires immediate action. The community has taken the first step by establishing an erosion and relocation coalition made up of the governing members of the City, Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) Council and Shishmaref Native Corporation Board of Directors.  Faced with the decision of whether to remain at its present location or to move, the majority of the community is in favor of moving. This plan is a guideline to assist the community as well as state, federal, and other agencies in assisting Shishmaref with an orderly relocation.