Climatic Change

, Volume 64, Issue 1, pp 193-225

First online:

Vulnerable or Resilient? A Multi-Scale Assessment of Climate Impacts and Vulnerability in Norway

  • Karen O'BrienAffiliated withCICERO, University of Oslo
  • , Linda SygnaAffiliated withCICERO, University of Oslo
  • , Jan Erik HaugenAffiliated withThe Norwegian Meteorological Institute

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This paper explores the issue of climate vulnerability in Norway, an affluent country that is generally considered to be resilient to the impacts of climate change. In presenting a multi-scale assessment of climate change impacts and vulnerability in Norway, we show that the concept of vulnerability depends on the scale of analysis. Both exposure and the distribution of climate sensitive sectors vary greatly across scale. So do the underlying social and economic conditions that influence adaptive capacity. These findings question the common notion that climate change may be beneficial for Norway, and that the country can readily adapt to climate change. As scale differences are brought into consideration, vulnerability emerges within some regions, localities, and social groups. To cope with actual and potential changes in climate and climate variability, it will be necessary to acknowledge climate vulnerabilities at the regional and local levels, and to address them accordingly. This multi-scale assessment of impacts and vulnerability in Norway reinforces the importance of scale in global change research.