Climate Adaptation Options Explorer (ADX)

Submitted by Sabrina Lambat 5th August 2011 8:41

Adaptation decision-making is challenging; it requires not only an understanding of present and future climate hazards but also of the socio-economic contexts in which adaptation will be implemented. As the 'social complexity' increases the relative importance of precise climate information may decrease. To the extent that generic decision support tools are appropriate, there are many existing tools and methods that can be applied to the problem of climate adaptation. At the same time, there are new tools appearing that address the demand for climate information specifically, eg. downscaling, or for the integration of climate information with other priorities in adaptation decision-making.

The ADx concept falls into the latter category; it is designed to operate as a meta-tool in which several promising decision methods can be compared. Its objective is to provide support to adaptation planning, i.e. guidance and tools on how to choose among the many strategies and measures that are available to decision makers. We have developed a prototype tool consisting of a shell, through which users can access several engines to select adaptation options. Users choose an appropriate engine or several different engines - each one being an implementation of a type of approach/method. Engines are selected according to their fit to the the data, context, and objective of the users, and the combined results can also be compared via the shell, providing a more robust analytical approach.

The aim is to integrate the ADx with the best available climate information; decision-support tools such as the Climate Information Portal (CIP) that allows identification of options that are robust against a wide variety of future climate conditions, will be used in conjunction with the ADx. Thus the decision-maker will identify and explore from among the following sets of inputs: adaptation options, decision methods, climate scenarios and socio-economic scenarios. The approach aligns with that of the CIP: taking explicit account of uncertainty and aiming to achieve robust rather than optimal decisions. The philosophy of ADx is there is no cure-all method to analyse everything: do not rely on only one approach!

ADX Prototype

Download the current prototype of the Climate Adaptation Options explorer (ADX):

Current version (ADX v2-2) (Older versions ADX version 2-1  ADX version 2 )

To launch this Java application, double click the jar file or type "java -jar ADX_v2-2.jar"

You will need to have the Java Runtime (JRE) installed (if any problems are encountered we suggest first to update your version of Java; the current version is compatible with JRE6)

Example XML files required for input of options (these are also included in the ADX load menu and in the /related directory) can be downloaded separately here (right click -> Save As..):

The ADX prototype has the open source GPL3 and the source is available at

ADX example applications

These examples are used in the Climate ADX User Guide and online materials. See these weADAPT articles/placemarks for further information about the ADx case study applications:

Greater Banjul Area

Mekong Bridge

Tanzania NAPA

We also include ADX examples in our adaptation decision-making training module. Participants are asked to bring their own case studies and we help them identify adaptation options and attributes, goals and decision criteria. 

References for applications of ADX

Taylor, R. and Coll Besa, M. (2014) 1st HEALTHY FUTURES Stakeholder Engagement Workshop Report, Stockholm Environment Institute. Available from

Ampomah, G. and Devisscher T. (2013) Adaptation Toolkit. Guidebook for researchers and Adaptation Practitioners Working with Local Communities, ENDA/UNITAR. Available from

How to cite (example)

Taylor, R. (2014) Climate Adaptation Options Explorer (ADX) (Version 2.1) [Software]. Available from

Further resources

Further information:

Linked Projects

The ADx concept, the decision-making engines and prototype tool are being developed at various levels within the following projects:

CIRCE (2008-2011), C3D+ (2011-2012), Mediation (2011-2013) and Healthy Futures (2013-2014).



Hi! I'm having Trouble with my own XML files. They will load correctly in ADx but will not open to show the adaptation options like the example files do (Mekong, Tanzania, etc.). Has this problem been encountered before? Thanks!

541c623f3f604richard - climate adaptation.

Hi Julie

Thanks for your message.

Please make sure your XML file has the <descriptor> </descriptor> elements. ADX looks for these and will not work if it doesn't find them.

You might find the conversion tool (available at helpful for making the XML from a spreadsheet.  

Please let us know if you are still having problems.