02 December 2015

Climate adaptation: Managing the risk of extreme events

Climate change brings with it an increased risk of extreme weather events, including heat waves, droughts, and heavy rainfall. A new special issue in the journal Climatic Change puts in perspective the latest research on the topic.

© Garudeya | Dreamstime.com

© Garudeya | Dreamstime.com

A new special issue in the journal Climatic Change examines a broad spectrum of issues pertaining to adaptation and climate risk management, including: changing definitions of climate extremes, the role of adaptation in the urban space, novel scenarios for adaptation, complexities involved in attributing climate change with climate-related risks, the role of risk financing instruments, and the interplay of adaptation and transformation.

IIASA researcher Reinhard Mechler acted as guest editor of the special issue, along with Joern Birkmann of the University Stuttgart. 

Mechler says, “Whatever the outcomes of the Paris climate talks, the world is already experiencing  the impacts of climate change, and we need to be prepared for more of these impacts in the future. The research gathered in this special issue helps underline the key role of climate risk management for adaptation, the Loss and Damage debate and the significance for climate mitigation, and also brings forward potential actionable options backed by policy-relevant research.”

The issue includes 2 studies from IIASA researchers, including an analysis of projecting climate risks for Bangladesh as well an an examination of potential financial mechanisms for managing disaster impacts conducted by IIASA Risk Policy and Vulnerability Program Director Joanne Bayer and senior researcher Stefan Hochrainer-Stigler. 

Bayer says, “Reducing the risks from climate extremes means effectively preparing for them. Our study shows how financial instruments can be used as one tool in the risk management toolbox, improving the ability of developing countries to bounce back after climate-related disasters.” 

Much of the research in the issue draws on lessons learned in the development of two recent reports for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in which IIASA researchers were involved: the IPCC Special Report on Managing the Risk of Extreme Events to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (IPCC 2012) as well as the contribution of Working Group II to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report  (IPCC, 2014).   

Birkmann,  J and Mechler, R (2015). Advancing climate adaptation and risk management. New insights, concepts and approaches: what have we learned from the SREX and the AR5 processes? Climatic Change 133 (1):  1-6 

Mechler R & Bouwer, L (2014). Understanding trends and projections of global disaster losses and climate change: Is vulnerability the missing link? Climatic Change 133 (1):  23-35 

Linnerooth-Bayer, J  and Hochrainer-Stigler S (2015). Financial instruments for disaster risk management and climate change adaptation. Climatic Change 133 (1): 85-100

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Last edited: 02 December 2015


Reinhard Mechler

Research Group Leader and Senior Research Scholar Systemic Risk and Resilience Research Group - Advancing Systems Analysis Program

Joanne Linnerooth-Bayer

Emeritus Research Scholar Equity and Justice Research Group - Population and Just Societies Program

Stefan Hochrainer-Stigler

Senior Research Scholar Systemic Risk and Resilience Research Group - Advancing Systems Analysis Program


Science for climate risk management and climate justice


Paris Climate Change Conference (COP21)

30 Nov 2015 - 11 Dec 2015

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