Adapting to an Uncertain Climate

Lessons From Practice

  • Tiago Capela Lourenço
  • Ana Rovisco
  • Annemarie Groot
  • Carin Nilsson
  • Hans-Martin Füssel
  • Leendert Van Bree
  • Roger B. Street

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xix
  2. Leendert van Bree, Jeroen van der Sluijs
    Pages 17-40
  3. Annemarie Groot, Ana Rovisco, Tiago Capela Lourenço
    Pages 67-137
  4. Tiago Capela Lourenço, Ana Rovisco, Annemarie Groot
    Pages 139-162
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 163-182

About this book


Climate change highlights the challenges for long-term policy making in the face of persistent and irreducible levels of uncertainties. It calls for the development of flexible approaches, innovative governance and other elements that contribute to effective and adaptive decision-making. Exploring these new approaches is also a challenge for those involved in climate research and development of adaptation policy.

Targeted specifically at policy developers and advisors, practitioners, climate knowledge brokers, researchers and interested adaptation decision-makers, this book differs from other titles addressing climate change adaptation and uncertainty by using real life cases to address distinct and pertinent uncertainties in actual adaptation situations. The editors introduce the role of uncertainties in informing adaptation decisions, showing why and how this is important, and why decisions do not have to wait until uncertainties are resolved. They go on to explore uncertainty assessments supporting decision-making on climate change adaptation, with sections on variability, uncertainty typology, climate change and projection of risks. A discussion of national adaptation planning follows with sections on sources and levels of uncertainty, communication of uncertainty and guidance for adaptation planning under uncertainty.

The book provides a dozen real-life examples of adaptation decision making in the form of case studies:

· Studies on water supply management in Portugal, England and Wales and Hungary

· Studies on flooding, including flood risk in Ireland, coastal flooding and erosion in Southwest France and flood management in New Zealand’s Hutt River region

· Studies on transport and utilities, including the Austrian Federal railway system and public transit in Dresden, and Québec hydro-electric power

· A report examining communication of large numbers of climate scenarios in Dutch climate adaptation workshops

The concluding section outlines a new support framework for adaptation decisions under uncertainty, as well as guidance, recommendations and decision support for readers to apply in their own work. In the spirit of the newly adopted EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change, the book aims - as does the CIRCLE-2 project from which it emanates - to assist informed decision-making, and to provide added value through increased knowledge sharing.


climate adaptation climate adaptation science climate change science climate uncertainties guidance material

Editors and affiliations

  • Tiago Capela Lourenço
    • 1
  • Ana Rovisco
    • 2
  • Annemarie Groot
    • 3
  • Carin Nilsson
    • 4
  • Hans-Martin Füssel
    • 5
  • Leendert Van Bree
    • 6
  • Roger B. Street
    • 7
  1. 1.Faculty of Sciences CCIAM (Centre for Climate Change, Impacts, Adaptation and Modelling)University of LisbonLisbonPortugal
  2. 2.Faculty of Sciences CCIAM (Centre for Climate Change, Impacts, Adaptation and Modelling)University of LisbonLisbonPortugal
  3. 3.Alterra–Climate Change and Adaptive Land and Water ManagementWageningen University & Research CentreWageningenThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Centre for Environmental and Climate ResearchLund UniversityLundSweden
  5. 5.Air and Climate Change ProgrammeEuropean Environment AgencyCopenhagen KDenmark
  6. 6.Department of Spatial Planning and Quality of LivingPBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment AgencyThe HagueThe Netherlands
  7. 7.UKCIPEnvironmental Change Institute University of OxfordOxfordUnited Kingdom

Bibliographic information