Step 4: Analyzing the Impacts of Climate Change

Submitted by Sukaina Bharwani | published 25th Mar 2011 | last updated 5th Jan 2023

Climate related stresses can cause major adverse impacts on several sectors, including food production and agriculture, human health, and water availability, quality and accessibility, among others.

Guiding questions:

  • Where are these impacts known to occur?
  • Where are the impacts of these hazards likely to be felt?

The purpose of addressing these questions is to assess and summarize the impacts of climate-related hazards on a specific region, country or sector. This step can provide the basis for defining both the measurable outputs and the implementation issues, particularly with respect to monitoring and evaluation in project activities. It also provides an opportunity for the risk assessment team to pay particular attention to sectoral studies at both regional and national levels, where data and information can be found concerning the critical climate values relevant to these sectors (e.g. rainfall values at which point agriculture becomes unfeasible). For example, poverty reduction and food security profiles and reports will generally include information on necessary caloric intake, the duration of the growing seasons etc. In addition, there exist national and regional reports on hazardous climate phenomenon in relation to food security. A list of potential data sources available in the assessment of impacts is presented in the table below.

Table impacts data sources Table impacts data sources

Impacts on the population can be mapped to show the number of people potentially affected by specific hazard events, as in the following example:

Identifying priority zones using a combination of existing data

Identifying priority zones using a combination of existing data

In order to better define project priorities and outputs, it is necessary to specify the impacts of climate-related hazards on target sectors/areas. The characterization of adverse effects should follow the treatment of issues, whether by sector or vulnerable group, or otherwise. Characterization of climate-related effects could be carried out by sectors: Food Production and Agriculture, Human Health, Water availability, quality and accessibility, and Loss of Life and Livelihood. The table below provides an example summary table for impact assessment using this categorization for Mali.

To review some existing impact studies that have been carried out across different regions and sectors and to add others you have carried out or come across, click through to the Impact studies page.