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Alexia Karwat and Christian L. E. Franzke

Abstract

Over the last few decades heat waves have intensified and have led to excess mortality. While the probability of being affected by heat stress has significantly increased, the risk of heat mortality is rarely quantified. This quantification of heat mortality risk is necessary for systematic adaptation measures. Furthermore, heat mortality records are sparse and short, which presents a challenge for assessing heat mortality risk for future climate projections. It is therefore crucial to derive indicators for a systematic heat mortality risk assessment. Here, risk indicators based on temperature and mortality data are developed and applied to major cities in Germany, France and Spain, using regional climate model simulations. Bias-corrected daily maximum, minimum and wet-bulb temperatures show increasing trends in future climate projections for most considered cities. Additionally, we derive a relationship between daily maximum temperatures and mortality for producing future projections of heat mortality risk due to extreme temperatures based on low (Representative Concentration Pathway; RCP2.6) and high (RCP8.5) emission scenario future climate projections. Our results illustrate that heat mortality increases by about 0.9%/decade in Germany, 1.7%/decade in France and 7.9%/decade in Spain for RCP8.5 by 2050. The future climate projections also show that wet-bulb temperatures above 30°C will be reached regularly with maxima above 40°C likely by 2050. Our results suggest a significant increase of heat mortality in the future, especially in Spain. On average, our results indicate that the mortality risk trend is almost twice as high in all three countries for the RCP8.5 scenario compared to RCP2.6.

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Emma Austin, Anthony S. Kiem, Jane Rich, David Perkins, and Brian Kelly

Abstract

Drought is a global threat to public health. Increasingly, the impact of drought on mental health and wellbeing is being recognised. This paper investigates the relationship between drought and wellbeing to determine which drought indices most effectively capture wellbeing outcomes. A thorough understanding of the relationship between drought and wellbeing must consider the: (i) three aspects of drought (duration, frequency and magnitude); (ii) different types of drought (e.g. meteorological, agricultural, etc.); and (iii) the individual context of specific locations, communities and sectors. For this reason, we used a variety of drought types, drought indices, and time windows to identify the thresholds for wet and dry epochs that enhance and suppress impacts to wellbeing. Four postcodes in New South Wales (NSW), Australia are used as case studies in the analysis to highlight the spatial variability in the relationship between drought and wellbeing. The results demonstrate that the relationship between drought indices and wellbeing outcomes differs temporally, spatially and according to drought type. This paper objectively tests the relationship between commonly used drought indices and wellbeing outcomes to establish if current methods of quantifying drought effectively capture wellbeing outcomes. For funding, community programs and interventions to result in successful adaptation, it is essential to critically choose which drought index, time window and wellbeing outcome to use in empirical studies. The uncertainties associated with these relationships must be accounted for and it must also be realized that results will differ based on these decisions.

Open access
Susmita Mitra, Pradeep K. Mehta, and Sudipta Kumar Mishra

Abstract

Groundwater salinity, caused by over-extraction and aggravated by climate change, negatively affects crop productivity and threatens global food security. Poor farmers are vulnerable due to low adaptive capacity. A better understanding of their perceptions and adaptation is important to inform policies for successful adaptation. This paper represents an important study by exploring the same in Mewat, a salinity-affected socioeconomically backward district of northern India. The study uses a mixed-method approach with both secondary data and a primary survey of 250 farmers. A large number of farmers perceived negative impacts on water, crop, income, and assets; and adapt in various ways like water management, crop, and land management, livelihood diversification, and shift towards surface water irrigation. Perceived impacts differed between richer and poorer farmers, whereas adaptation measures varied across the educational, social, and economic backgrounds of farmers. Lack of awareness, education, skill development, and livelihood-opportunities are found to be hindrances, whereas institutional and infrastructural support as facilitators of adaptation. Comparing the findings with global experiences we argued that developed countries intervene more in the policy level and infrastructure, whereas in developing countries, adaptation strategies are local, context-specific, and low-cost. The insights from our study will be useful for intervention in Mewat and similar areas across the developing world. We further argue that farmers take adaptation decisions based on perceived impacts and cost-benefit analysis. Therefore, future research work on quantifying the negative impacts and cost-benefit analysis of various adaptation measures will be useful to ensure successful adaptation in the region and beyond.

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Torbjørn Selseng, Marit Klemetsen, and Tone Rusdal

Abstract

In recent decades there has been a surge in the scholarship on climate change adaptation (CCA) terminology, and diverging interpretations of the term have emerged. Given the crucial role of local governments in building societywide adaptive capacity, understanding how municipalities understand and interpret CCA is important. In this study, we analyze 12 large-scale questionnaires from 2007 to 2020 distributed to all Norwegian municipalities. Using a combination of directed and conventional content analysis of the questions and answers, we summarize and map the progress of adaptation work over the 14 years and assess the consistency and the scope of the surveys in light of the current research on climate adaptation. We find diverging views on what adaptation entails, both from the researchers, in the phrasing of questions, and from the respondents. The empirical evidence suggests an overall imbalanced interpretation of CCA, in terms of the risks and consequences we may face, the climate to which adapting is needed, and adequate adaptation strategies. We go on to discuss the implications of these findings, highlighting the need for a shared and well-communicated framework for local CCA and a closer monitoring of the actual efforts of the municipalities. If instead left unchecked, this confusion might lead to unsustainable maladaptation at the local government level throughout Norway and beyond.

Open access
Maqsooda Mahomed, Alistair D. Clulow, Sheldon Strydom, Tafadzwanashe Mabhaudhi, and Michael J. Savage

Abstract

Climate change projections of increases in lightning activity are an added concern for lightning-prone countries such as South Africa. South Africa’s high levels of poverty, lack of education, and awareness, as well as a poorly developed infrastructure, increase the vulnerability of rural communities to the threat of lightning. Despite the existence of national lightning networks, lightning alerts and warnings are not disseminated well to such rural communities. We therefore developed a community-based early warning system (EWS) to detect and disseminate lightning threats and alerts in a timely and comprehensible manner within Swayimane, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The system is composed of an electrical field meter and a lightning flash sensor with warnings disseminated via audible and visible alarms on site and with a remote server issuing short message services (SMSs) and email alerts. Twelve months of data (February 2018–February 2019) were utilized to evaluate the performance of the EWS’s detection and warning capabilities. Diurnal variations in lightning activity indicated the influence of solar radiation, causing convective conditions with peaks in lightning activity occurring during the late afternoon and early evening (between 1400 and 2100) coinciding with students being released from school and when most workers return home. In addition to detecting the threat of lightning, the EWS was beneficial in identifying periods that exhibited above-normal lightning activity, with two specific lightning events examined in detail. Poor network signals in rural communities presented an initial challenge, delaying data transmission to the central server until rectified using multiple network providers. Overall, the EWS was found to disseminate reliable warnings in a timely manner.

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Alexander J. Ross, Ryan C. Grow, Lauren D. Hayhurst, Haley A. MacLeod, Graydon I. McKee, Kyle W. Stratton, Marissa E. Wegher, and Michael D. Rennie

Abstract

Groundhog Day is a widespread North American ritual that marks the onset of spring, with festivities centered around animals that humans believe have abilities to make seasonal predictions. Yet, the collective success of groundhog Marmota monax prognosticators has never been rigorously tested. Here, we propose the local climate-predicted phenology of early blooming spring plants (Carolina spring beauty, or Claytonia caroliniana, which overlaps in native range with groundhogs) as a novel and relevant descriptor of spring onset that can be applied comparatively across a broad geographical range. Of 530 unique groundhog-year predictions across 33 different locations, spring onset was correctly predicted by groundhogs exactly 50% of the time. While no singular groundhog predicted the timing of spring with any statistical significance, there were a handful of groundhogs with notable records of both successful and unsuccessful predictions: Essex Ed (Essex, Connecticut), Stonewall Jackson (Wantage, New Jersey), and Chuckles (Manchester, Connecticut) correctly predicted spring onset over 70% of the time. By contrast, Buckeye Chuck (Marion, Ohio), Dunkirk Dave (Dunkirk, New York), and Holland Huckleberry (Holland, Ohio) made incorrect predictions over 70% of the time. The two most widely recognized and long-tenured groundhogs in their respective countries—Wiarton Willie (Canada) and Punxsutawney Phil (United States)—had success rates of 54% and 52%, respectively, despite over 150 collective guesses. Using a novel phenological indicator of spring, this study determined, without a shadow of a doubt, that groundhog prognosticating abilities for the arrival of spring are no better than chance.

Open access
Nathan Beech and Micah J. Hewer

Abstract

Grapevine growth and wine production are both closely connected with weather and climate, making anthropogenic climate change a source of great uncertainty for the grape and wine industries. To assess the impacts of climate change on viticulture and oenology in the Fraser Valley, British Columbia, Canada, where no such assessment has been published to this date, a series of key indicators and critical thresholds were selected on the basis of their relevance to the local climate. Trends among these indicators and thresholds were calculated over a historic period (1970–2019) and projected over the twenty-first century for one intermediate-emissions climate change scenario and one high-emissions climate change scenario. Historic trends were assessed using Environment and Climate Change Canada weather station data from Abbotsford, British Columbia. Two statistical downscaling methods were evaluated with regard to their ability to reproduce observed conditions in the Fraser Valley, and the most effective method was used to create projections of local, daily climate change scenarios. During the historic period, temperatures increased significantly while precipitation and moisture variables displayed insignificant trends, reflecting the trends observed across other wine regions in Canada and the northwestern United States. Throughout the twenty-first century, warming is expected to continue while precipitation decreases modestly. Extreme heat is projected to become far more frequent, whereas extreme cold and potential frost days become rare. In the short term, modifications to vineyard and winery operations may be sufficient adaptation strategies. Over the long term, new grape varieties will most likely need to be planted in existing vineyards and suitability for cool-climate varieties may shift northward in direction or upward in elevation.

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K. Fagiewicz, P. Churski, T. Herodowicz, P. Kaczmarek, P. Lupa, J. Morawska-Jancelewicz, and A. Mizgajski

Abstract

This study determines the conditions and provides a recommendation for fostering cocreation for climate change adaptation and mitigation (CCA&M). In postulating that insufficient cocreation by stakeholders in the quadruple helix model is an important factor contributing to the low effectiveness of climate actions in the regions, we have focused our research on identifying real stakeholder engagement in climate action and identifying the needs, barriers, and drivers for strengthening the cocreation process. We identified the needs for action highlighted by stakeholders as having an impact on reducing barriers and stimulating drivers. We treated the identified needs for action as deep leverage points (intent and design) focused on three realms—knowledge, values, and institutions—in which engagement and cocreation can be strengthened and have the potential to increase the effectiveness of climate action taken by stakeholders within our quadruple helix. We recommend knowledge-based cocreation, which puts the importance of climate action in the value system and leads to paradigm reevaluation. The implementation of the identified needs for action requires the support of institutions, whereby they develop standards of cooperation and mechanisms for their implementation as a sustainable framework for stakeholder cooperation. The research has proved how the quadruple helix operates for climate action in the Poznań Agglomeration. We believe that this case study can be a reference point for regions at a similar level of development, and the methods used and results obtained can be applied in similar real contexts to foster local stakeholders in climate action.

Open access
David C. Eisenhauer

Abstract

This paper presents a case study of how boundary objects were deployed to support a collaborative knowledge production process that resulted in the creation of climate change knowledge usable to municipal governments in the New Jersey shore region. In doing so, a case is made that boundary objects are useful throughout the collaborative process in overcoming ambiguity and disagreement. This points to boundary objects possessing a wider array of capabilities than is frequently theorized in the climate policy literature. Effectively designing and using boundary objects, however, requires carefully considering how they interface and interact with one another.

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Mustafa Hakkı Aydoğdu, Mehmet Reşit Sevinç, and Mehmet Cançelik

Abstract

In Şanlıurfa, Turkey, agriculture is the most important source of income. This study aimed to determine Şanlıurfa farmers’ willingness to pay for drought adaptation policies and the factors affecting their willingness. The data were obtained from face-to-face surveys with farmers, selected using a simple random sampling method. According to the results, 50.26% perceive a risk of drought, and 35.86% are willing to pay for adaptation policies. Among those willing to pay, the average amount was $22.63 ha−1 [$1 (U.S. dollar) = TRY 5.676 (Turkish lira)], and the average for all participants was $13.55 ha−1. This adds up to a total of $14,363,000 yr−1 for Şanlıurfa. This amount is 1.47% of the annual average income of the participants and is thus within their ability to pay. Age, amount of land farmed, education level, experience, and income were factors affecting willingness to pay. Many respondents, however, were unaware of drought adaptation policies. Because there is concern that drought risk is increasing, awareness needs to be increased, for example, through extension services. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study of its kind, and the results may be useful for creating and applying drought adaptation policies in both Turkey and other regions with similar socioeconomic characteristics.

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