Climatic Change

, Volume 117, Issue 3, pp 481-495

First online:

Modeling climate change feedbacks and adaptation responses: recent approaches and shortcomings

  • Karen Fisher-VandenAffiliated withPennsylvania State University Email author 
  • , Ian Sue WingAffiliated withBoston University
  • , Elisa LanziAffiliated withOECD Environment Directorate
  • , David PoppAffiliated withSyracuse University

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This paper offers a critical review of modeling practice in the field of integrated assessment of climate change and ways forward. Past efforts in integrated assessment have concentrated on developing baseline trajectories of emissions and mitigation scenario analyses. A key missing component in Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs) is the representation of climate impacts and adaptation responses. In this paper, we identify key biases that are introduced when climate impacts and adaptation responses are omitted from the analysis and review the state of modeling studies that attempt to capture these feedbacks. A common problem in these IAM studies is the lack of connection with empirical studies. We therefore also review the state of the empirical work on climate impacts and identify ways that this connection could be improved.