Recent developments in both the policy arena and the climate impacts research community point to a growing interest in human adaptation to climatic variability and change. The Importance of adaptation in the climate change question is affirmed in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Technical Guidelines for Assessing Impacts and Adaptations and the IPCC's more recent Second Assessment Report. Yet, the nature and processes of human adaptation to climate are poorly understood and rarely investigated directly. Most often, human responses of one form or another are simply assumed in impacts research. Analyses that do address adaptation use a variety of interpretations and perspectives resulting in an Incomplete, and at times inconsistent, understanding of human adaptation to environmental variations. This paper reviews and synthesizes perspectives from an eclectic body of scholarship to develop a framework for characterizing and understanding human adaptation to climatic variability and change. The framework recognizes the characteristics of climatic events, the ecological properties of systems which mediate effects, and the distinctions which are possible among different types of adaptation. A classification scheme is proposed for differentiating adaptation strategies.
Global Environmental Change – Elsevier
Published: Jul 1, 1997
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