Online Training Resource for Climate Adaptation: Adaptation Strategies - Handling Uncertainty

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Handling the Issue of Uncertainty

This module provides a more in depth look at the issues of uncertainty and covers the following:
How uncertainties affect vulnerability assessments
The categories of uncertainty?
How to conduct local uncertainty analysis

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  • Online Training Resource for Climate Adaptation: Adaptation Strategies - Handling Uncertainty

    1. 1. Online Training Resource: Climate Adaptation Adaptation Strategies
    2. 2. Process Stage 2Developing Adaptation Strategies: UncertaintyHandling the Issue of UncertaintyThis module provides a more in depth look at the issues of uncertainty and covers the following:• How uncertainties affect vulnerability assessments• The categories of uncertainty?• How to conduct local uncertainty analysis Climate Adaptation Deborah Davies, Carlo Aall, Eli Heiberg, 2012 Online Training Resource
    3. 3. Process Stage 2Developing Adaptation Strategies: UncertaintyHandling UncertaintiesUncertainty poses a risk with regard to decision-making and policy-making.In dealing with uncertainty and climate change,politicians should adopt the precautionary principle,i.e. act cautiously to avoid the worst possibleoutcome rather than going ahead as usual whilehoping for the best outcome.Many adaptation activities can be win-win actionsthat also promote mitigation and/ or sustainableresource use or economic opportunities. In somecases, a cost- benefit analysis and politicaldecisions are required in order to map and weightconsequences (e.g. flood walls). Climate AdaptationOnline Training Resource
    4. 4. Process Stage 2Developing Adaptation Strategies: UncertaintyThe Magnitude of Uncertainty in Matters of Climate Change Adaptation Source: IPCC, 2001 Climate AdaptationOnline Training Resource
    5. 5. Process Stage 2Developing Adaptation Strategies: UncertaintyThe Complexity of Uncertainty in Matters of Climate Change Adaptation Source: Western Norway Research Climate Adaptation Institute / VestlandsforskingOnline Training Resource
    6. 6. Process Stage 2Developing Adaptation Strategies: UncertaintyRelationship Between UncertaintiesNew climate models are being developed by theIPCC in preparation for the next assessmentreport, and more mechanisms will be included thanin previous models; in particular, modelling howrising temperature can lead to increased emissionsof methane from melting tundra, and how this inturn could add to the greenhouse effect (negativefeedback mechanisms).Model uncertainty will thus be reduced, butparadoxically, the uncertainty and variability of theprognoses will in turn increase. In other words, thenext report is going to contain results that arehigher than the current models with regards toaverage temperature rise, but more uncertain. Thispoint shows that uncertainty is a very complextheme. Climate AdaptationOnline Training Resource
    7. 7. Process Stage 2Developing Adaptation Strategies: UncertaintyThe “uncertainty” DilemmaOne the one hand, it is important to be clear about thelarge and complex uncertainty associated with climatechange adaptationAt the same time, it is vital to avoid a state of non-actionbased on the assumption that “everything is uncertain” -Thus there is nothing we can doA solution to this dilemma is to -Accept that CCA is adaptation to uncertainty as much as it is adapting to climate change -Differentiate our understanding of uncertainty Climate AdaptationOnline Training Resource
    8. 8. Process Stage 2Developing Adaptation Strategies: UncertaintyDifferentiating Our Understanding of UncertaintyLocation of uncertainty – Climate – Nature – SocietyType of uncertainty• Basic uncertainty – Lack of basic knowledge on cause-effect relationships• Model uncertainty – Not succeeded in modelling known cause-effect relationships• Scale uncertainty – Models produce a wide variety when downscaling climate projections• Data uncertainty – Lack of input data leads to models producing unreliable results Climate AdaptationOnline Training Resource
    9. 9. Process Stage 2Developing Adaptation Strategies: Uncertainty Uncertainty Template Location of uncertaintyUncertainty type Climate Nature SocietyBasic uncertainty Will climate change lead to What causes certain types of How will international more and stronger wind? avalanches? economy develop?Model uncertainty How may the population develop in a + 50 year perspective?Scale uncertainty How will future precipitation To what extent may we be in the western part of experience increased risks Norway? of ”rain flooding”?Data uncertainty What are the local history of What are the local risks of What are the technical quality extreme precipitation events? avalanches? of buildings locally? Source: Western Norway Research Climate Adaptation Institute / Vestlandsforsking Online Training Resource

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