Vulnerability, Resilience, and Adaptation: Societal Causes and Responses
Will better information—i.e., predictions about climate variability and change—help societies build resilience and adaptive capacity? These kinds of questions have motivated social science examination of the social and environmental interactions relevant to human predictions of, and responses to, climate variability and change. Taking as a starting point the definition of vulnerability as the capacity to be harmed (both exposure and sensitivity), resilience as the ability to recover from an exposure or shock, and adaptive capacity as the ability to adjust to new conditions, scientists at the Joint Global Change Research Institute have developed an the Vulnerability-Resilience Indicators Model (VRIM), that integrates social and environmental information to evaluate these characteristics in a comparative framework. The model has a hierarchical structure and uses various scenarios (based on statistical relationships and the IPCC Special Report on Emissions Scenarios) to project vulnerability and resilience across time spans relevant to climate change. This presentation suggests an approach to use the VRIM framework in exploring vulnerability and resilience to manifestations of decadal climatic variability.