Climate Adaptation Services for the Netherlands: an operational approach to support spatial adaptation planning


There is a growing availability of climate change information, offered to scientists and policy makers through climate services. However, climate services are not well taken up by the policy-making and planning community. Climate services focus on primary impacts of climate change, e.g., the disclosure of precipitation and temperature data, and this seems insufficient in meeting their needs. In this paper, we argue that, in order to reach the spatial planning community, climate services should take on a wider perspective by translating climate data to policy-relevant indicators and by offering support in the design of adaptation strategies. We argue there should be more focus on translating consequences of climate change to land-use claims and subsequently discuss the validity, consequences and implications of these claims with stakeholders, so they can play a role in spatial planning processes where much of the climate adaptation takes place. The term Climate Adaptation Services is introduced as being a stepwise approach supporting the assessment of vulnerability in a wider perspective and include the design and appraisal of adaptation strategies in a multi-stakeholder setting. We developed the Climate Adaptation Atlas and the Climate Ateliers as tools within the Climate Adaptation Services approach to support decision-making and planning processes. In this paper, we describe the different steps of our approach and report how some of the challenges were addressed.

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The development of the Climate Adaptation Atlas and the Climate Ateliers was funded by the Dutch research programs Climate changes Spatial Planning (CcSP) and Knowledge for Climate (KfC). To consolidate and to continue the development and innovation of Climate Adaptation Services in October 2012, the foundation Climate Adaptation ServicesFootnote 4 was established. The foundation brings together several Dutch research institutes like Alterra, Deltares, KNMI, Geodan and TNO and aims at creating a common knowledge portal. An important goal of the foundation is to support the adaptation process by assessing different adaptation strategies for different regions.

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Correspondence to H. Goosen.



See Table 1.

Table 1 An overview of online climate Web portals disclosing climate impact information by means of geospatial maps

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Goosen, H., de Groot-Reichwein, M.A.M., Masselink, L. et al. Climate Adaptation Services for the Netherlands: an operational approach to support spatial adaptation planning. Reg Environ Change 14, 1035–1048 (2014).

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  • Climate services
  • Adaptation
  • Spatial planning
  • Climate impacts
  • Visualisation