Climate Adaptation Options Explorer

Submitted by Sukaina Bharwani | published 25th Mar 2011 | last updated 17th Mar 2020


Adaptation to climate change requires understanding of social processes. It means that we need to assess and respond to past climatic impacts, to increase adaptive capacity and resilience to multiple stresses, and to formulate plans and policies in ways which reduce the risk of adverse outcomes in the future. The first step is to gather the best available climate information to present and future climate hazards. This requires an understanding of present day risks, as well as trends in climate, and how both may change in years to come. The climate change explorer (CCE) handles these pieces of information and may map potential uncertainties. Then, we need the second step to screen potential adaptation options and guide decision makers to move appropriate directions of next decision making nodes. The Climate Adaptation Options Explorer (ADx) for climate change is one of the innovative tools of the weADAPT collaboration to support the second step. The philosophy of ADx is there is no cure-all method to analyse everything: do not rely on only one approach!. This concept is similar to the Climate Change Explorer (CCE), in its use of ensembles of future conditions.

An essential component of support to adaptation planning is guidance and tools on how to choose among the many strategies and measures that are available to decision makers. Supporting adaptation decision making is not as simple as 'use multi-criteria assessment' (as mandated in the NAPA guidance). 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.

One or several chosen engines receive input data from the shell and pass back preferred adaptation options to the shell. Therefore, the ADx needs a common but flexible data format. If a data format is specific to a particular engine, a user has to know which engine s/he needs to use beforehand. This violates the concept of ADx. At the same time, the data format should be flexible to accept new engines, which may require different input data. Therefore, the data format has to be anonymous to engines. The data format currently considering is XML as the component of data format could be extended as the tool is developed.

We are implementing existing six different methods as the first engines in the shell:

These engines may be merged, expanded, or eliminated in the future. This documentation in wikiADAPT will address technical designs for each engine to identify appropriate grounds to use these tools, which will be implemented into the shell function eventually. The six engines have different characteristics to deal with adaptation cases and possibly require different input data, situation, and connection to the shell. For example, the input data for elimination by aspects is more qualitative and the engine will be directly written within the ADx. In contrast, the input data for NAIDE is quantitative and the engine is an external software application. The shell and the external application will communicate though batch processes.

More information on the ADx can be found on the following pages:

Objectives of the Climate ADx

Uncertainty and Robustness

Climate ADx Methods

Design of the Climate ADx

Useful tools for adaptation and vulnerability

Further reading

Download a prototype of the Climate Adaptation Options explorer (ADx) here.

A printable /downloadable PDF briefing version of this page can be found here.  This document was submitted as CIRCE Deliverable 13.2.2

For more information please contact Richard Taylor