Short bibliography of vulnerability articles

Submitted by Ben Smith | published 30th Nov 2011 | last updated 17th Mar 2020

Below are a few papers which we have found particularly useful in thinking about vulnerability to climate change. We hope you find the references useful! If you have any suggestions for other papers we should point to please send us an email and let us know.

For more on dynamic vulnerability and an introduction to multi-stressor vulnerability please also follow the relevant links. Several other useful resources, in particular related to the water sector, can be found on the NeWater page.

 

Adger, W.N. (1999) Social vulnerability to climate change and extremes in coastal Vietnam. World Development 27(2): 249-269

An in depth and well argued case study of the factors contributing to vulnerability, highlighting the role of poverty, inequality and institutions. Available here.

Adger, W.N. et al. (2004) New Indicators of Vulnerability and Adaptive Capacity. Tyndall Centre project IT 1.11. Available here.

This report explores the different processes contributing to vulnerability and whether it is possible to create meaningful indicators of vulnerability and adaptive capacity.

Bohle, H.G. et al. (1994) Climate change and social vulnerability: towards a sociology and geography of food security. Global Environmental Change 4(1): 37-48.

Exploring the social determinants of food insecurity. Available here (payment/log-in needed) 

Brooks, N. (2003) Vulnerability, risk and adaptation: a conceptual framework. Tyndall Centre Working Paper 38.

Good discussion of the main vulnerability concepts, including the distinction between biophysical and social vulnerability. Available here.

Brooks, N, Adger, N. W. and Kelly, M.P. (2005) The determinants of vulnerability and adaptive capacity at the national level and implications for adaptation. Global Environmental Change 15(2): 151-163.

The paper assesses the processes which constrain or enhance capacity to adapt. Available here.

Cannon, T., et al. (2003) Social vulnerability, Sustainable Livelihoods and Disasters. Report to the UK Department for International Development.

Case studies of different approaches to vulnerability assessment, including tools developed by the Red Cross, CARE and Oxfam.

CCKN (2001) Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change: Concepts, Issues, Assessments, Methods. Available here.

Early review of many of the concepts and issues surrounding vulnerability and adaptation.

Eatkin, H. and Luers, A. (2006) Assessing the Vulnerability of Socio-Ecological Systems. Annual Review of Environmental Resources 31: 365-394. Available here.

Good overview of the different strands of vulnerability research. Available here. 

Füssel, H-M. and Klein, R.J.T. (2006) Climate Change Vulnerability Assessments: an evolution of conceptual thinking. Climatic Change 75(3): 301-329.

Traces the development and use of vulnerability concepts in climate change assessments. Available here.

Ionescu, C. et al. (2009) Towards a Formal Framework of Vulnerability to Climate Change. Environmental Modelling and Assessment 14(1): 1-16

Attempts to develop a formal framework in order to avoid confusion and ambiguity over the use of the term vulnerability. Warning: contains mathematical symbols! Available here (payment/log-in needed)

O'Brien, K. et al. (2004) Mapping vulnerability to multiple stressors: climate change and globalisation in India. Global Environmental Change 14: 303-313.

Outlines a methodology for assessing vulnerability to climate change in the context of multiple stressors. Available here.

O'Brien, K., Quinlan, T. and Ziervoger, G. (2009) Vulnerability interventions in the context of multiple stressors: lessons from the Southern Africa Vulnerability Initiative. Environmental Science and Policy 12(1): 23-32.

Uses three case studies to explore the interactions between multiple stressors in Southern Africa. The paper shows that multiple processes interact and create outcomes which would be apparent simply through focussing on only one stressor. Available here (payment/log-in needed)

Smit, B. and Wandel, J. (2006) Adaptation, adaptive capacity and vulnerability. Global Environmental Change 16: 282-292.

Good review of the connections between vulnerability and adaptive capacity. Available here.

Thomalla, F. et al. (2006) reducing hazard vulnerability: towards a common approach between disaster risk reduction and climate adaptation. Disasters 30(1): 39-48. Available here

Short and accessible paper exploring the synergies between climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction, disciplines which both seek to address vulnerability.

Turner, B.L. et al. (2003) A framework for vulnerability analysis in sustainability science. PNAS 100(14): 8074-8079.

Short but academic discussion of the use of vulnerability assessments. Presents a framework for vulnerability assessment for coupled socio-ecological systems. Available here.