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Addendum to 'Understanding risks in the light of uncertainty: low-probability, high-impact coastal events in cities'

Ibon Galarraga, Elisa Sainz de Murieta, Anil Markandya and Luis María Abadie

This addendum adds to the analysis presented in 'Understanding risks in the light of uncertainty: low-probability, high-impact coastal events in cities' Abadie et al (2017 Environ. Res. Lett. 12 014017). We propose to use the framework developed earlier to enhance communication and understanding of risks, with the aim of bridging the gap between highly technical risk management discussion to the public risk aversion debate. We also propose that the framework could be used for stress-testing resilience.

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Enhancing the Practical Utility of Risk Assessments in Climate Change Adaptation

Angela Connelly, Jeremy Carter, John Handley and Stephen Hincks

In 2012, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) moved from a vulnerability to a risk-based conception of climate change adaptation. However, there are few examples of work that translates this approach into climate change adaptation practice, in order to demonstrate the practical utility of following a risk-based approach to adapting to climate change. The paper explores critically the differing conceptions of vulnerability and risk across the literature relating to disaster risk management and climate change adaptation. The paper also examines a selection of spatially focused climate change vulnerability and risk assessment methodologies in this context. In doing so, we identify issues with the availability of spatial data to enable spatial risk-based climate change assessments. We argue that the concept of risk is potentially favorable in helping cities to understand the challenges posed by climate change, identify adaptation options, and build resilience to the changing climate. However, we suggest that change is needed in the way that practitioners and policymakers engage with risk-based concepts if they are to be embed into climate change adaptation activities.

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Towards successful adaptation: a checklist for the development of climate change adaptation plans

Marta Olazabal, Ibon Galarraga, James Ford, Alexandra Lesnikowski and Elisa Sainz de Murieta

The earliest climate change adaptation plans emerged about ten years ago and are an increasingly important component of the international policy agenda. Because these plans by nature involve long-term objectives, some of the main questions raised in current adaptation tracking research studies are whether and how they will be implemented and what is required for these plans to successfully achieve their objectives? There is no consensus on how to define “successful adaptation” and there are multiple, sometimes competing, interpretations of success. In this working paper, we define three areas where climate change adaptation plans should focus on to successfully achieve their goals: policy and economy, science and learning and legitimacy. We develop a checklist that identifies required aspects for successful adaptation and sustainability in the long-term based on these three areas and related indicators. We suggest that plans follow this checklist as a guideline for plan development and institutional capacity building in the long term. We eventually discuss the adequacy of these metrics for assessing the credibility of developed climate adaptation policies.

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The effect of flooding on mental health: Lessons learned for building resilience

Sebastien Foudi, Nuria Oses-Eraso, and Ibon Galarraga

Risk management and climate adaptation literature focuses mainly on reducing the impacts of, exposure to, and vulnerability to extreme events such as floods and droughts. Posttraumatic stress disorder is one of the most important impacts related to these events, but also a relatively under-researched topic outside original psychopathological contexts. We conduct a survey to investigate the mental stress caused by floods. We focus on hydrological, individual, and collective drivers of posttraumatic stress. We assess stress with flood-specific health scores and the GHQ-12 General Health Questionnaire. Our findings show that the combination of water depth and flood velocity measured via a Hazard Class Index is an important stressor; and that mental health resilience can be significantly improved by providing the population with adequate information. More specifically, the paper shows that psychological distress can be reduced by (i) coordinating awareness of flood risks and flood protection and prevention behavior; (ii) developing the ability to protect oneself from physical, material and intangible damage; (iii) designing simple insurance procedures and protocols for fast recovery; and (iv) learning from previous experiences.

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The RESIN climate change adaptation project and its simple modeling approach for risk-oriented vulnerability assessment

Daniel Lückerath, Manfred Bogen, Erich Rome, Betim Sojeva, Oliver Ullrich, Rainer Worst, Jingquan Xie

Workshop 2018 ASIM/GI-Fachgruppen (ASM 2018), Proc. ASIM Workshop, Hochschule Heilbronn, Germany, March 8–9, 2018, pp. 21–26.


Climate Risk Assessment under Uncertainty: An Application to Main European Coastal Cities

Luis M. Abadie, Elisa Sainz de Murieta* and Ibon Galarraga
Basque Centre for Climate Change, Leioa, Spain

This paper analyses the risk of extreme coastal events in major European coastal cities using a stochastic diffusion model that is calibrated with the worst case emission scenario from the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC), i.e., the representative concentration pathway (RCP) 8.5. The model incorporates uncertainty in the sea-level rise (SLR) distribution. Expected mean annual losses are calculated for 19 European coastal cities, together with two risk measures: the Value at Risk (VaR) and the Expected Shortfall (ES). Both measures are well-known in financial economics and enable us to calculate the impact of the worst SLR paths under uncertainty. The results presented here can serve as valuable inputs for cities in deciding how much risk they are willing to accept, and consequently how much adaptation they need depending on the risk aversion of their decision-makers.

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Understanding risks in the light of uncertainty: low-probability, high-impact coastal events in cities

Luis Maria Abadie, Ibon Galarraga1 and Elisa Sainz de Murieta

Published 17 January 2017

© 2017 IOP Publishing Ltd

A quantification of present and future mean annual losses due to extreme coastal events can be crucial for adequate decision making on adaptation to climate change in coastal areas around the globe. However, this approach is limited when uncertainty needs to be accounted for. In this paper, we assess coastal flood risk from sea-level rise and extreme events in 120 major cities around the world using an alternative stochastic approach that accounts for uncertainty. Probability distributions of future relative (local) sea-level rise have been used for each city, under three IPPC emission scenarios, RCP 2.6, 4.5 and 8.5. The approach allows a continuous stochastic function to be built to assess yearly evolution of damages from 2030 to 2100. Additionally, we present two risk measures that put low-probability, high-damage events in the spotlight: the Value at Risk (VaR) and the Expected Shortfall (ES), which enable the damages to be estimated when a certain risk level is exceeded. This level of acceptable risk can be defined involving different stakeholders to guide progressive adaptation strategies. The method presented here is new in the field of economics of adaptation and offers a much broader picture of the challenges related to dealing with climate impacts. Furthermore, it can be applied to assess not only adaptation needs but also to put adaptation into a timeframe in each city.

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Realisation & Implementation IVAVIA

IVAVIA (Impact and Vulnerability Analysis of Vital Infrastructures and built-up Areas) is a methodology for conducting a risk-based process for assessing impacts and vulnerabilities of urban areas and their infrastructure related to consequences of climate change.



2-Tier Webinars


Within the framework of work package 7 and specifically Task 7.3, ‘Identification, involvement and coordination of a 2-tier circle of learning’, three webinars were conducted.

As described in the document ‘RESIN Tier 2 circle of learning - Concept paper and work plan’ (refer Annex A), the webinars were designed to be a platform to present the project and its progress. They have taken place as part of ongoing exchange in the interest of building understanding of, and support for, the project’s evolving results among the Tier 2 cities. The webinars supported other knowledge transfer activities within the project (refer D7.3 ‘Knowledge transfer workshops’ and forthcoming D7.5 ‘Stakeholder dialogues’).

The aim of this report is to explain the design, organisation and implementation of the webinars.




Baseline assessment for Greater Manchester

Strengthening capacity to adapt and build resilience to climate change is a key aspect of moving the agenda forwards in Greater Manchester (GM). Climate change related research and data increases adaptive capacity in several ways, including by raising awareness of related issues and providing information to assess climate risk. This can in turn help to generate political commitment, and potentially support the allocation of resources. Allied to this, research and data can help to inform and target adaptation and resilience decisions and actions to generate more effective outcomes.

This baseline assessment has been undertaken for several reasons, not least because an overview of existing research and data relevant to adaptation and resilience in GM is currently unavailable. The aims are:

  • To identify resources to inform the GM RESIN case study, particularly the design and implementation of a method to assess weather and climate risks to GMs critical infrastructure.
  • To identify gaps in current research and data that the RESIN project (or other future studies) could help to address.

In addition to supporting the RESIN project, this assessment aims to inform ongoing and future activities in GM that are linked, directly or indirectly, to climate change adaptation and resilience.

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Coping with complexity, handling uncertainty  

In their endeavours to increase the climate resilience of cities, urban administrators, planners and decision makers have to deal with considerable uncertainty and complexity. This report aims to break down complexity and uncertainty into understandable definitions and aspects. By doing this, it accommodates the process of dealing with uncertainty and complexity in the RESIN project and linking useful methods and instruments to tackle complexity and uncertainty related challenges that arise in the context of adapting and building urban resilience to climate change. This report should be seen as the starting point of addressing the issues of uncertainty and complexity in the RESIN project. It provides city planners in general with an overview of methods and tools they can use to handle complexity and uncertainty, such as scenario planning, adaptive pathway design and adaptive governance. Methods and instruments to address uncertainty and complexity will be part of discussion and application within the RESIN cities. During the course of the RESIN project the user experiences and elaborated user guidelines will be included in the RESIN e-Guide..

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This report elaborates on the development approach and expected outline, use and form of the framework in which the decision support tooling will be presented to the end-users. To this end, a framework is developed in which all supportive elements to the end users can be placed, and presented. Eventually, in this framework, the supportive tools, methods and other structures will be referenced; this includes the results from other RESIN WP’s and external sources. Finally, an outline of a work plan is presented to develop and operationalise the framework, in close collaboration with the RESIN city partners.

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This report, which gathers the cities assessment reports of all four RESIN cities of Bilbao, Bratislava, Greater Manchester and Paris, will allow the RESIN cities and project partners to gain an overview over which adaptation and critical infrastructure protection (CIP) strategies, plans and measures are already in place or planned. 

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This report describes the general approach of the RESIN project to support the vulnerability analysis (VA) of urban areas and their critical infrastructures regarding the impacts of climate change (CC). IVAVIA is about how to structure and conduct the process of vulnerability assessment. That is, IVAVIA is a set of methods or practices for conducting the VA process. 

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The RCF underpins RESIN by establishing a context for the project and clarifying the key concepts, and the relationships between them, that the project is developed around.

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This document outlines the definitions for various terms that will be employed throughout the RESIN project. The definitions stem directly from RESIN’s State of the Art reports (Deliverable 1.1) with some minor modifications to harmonize with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) definitions outlined in their most recent assessment report (AR5) (IPCC 2014). This deliverable is strongly linked to the RESIN Conceptual Framework (Deliverable 1.3). 

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These reports aim to review the state of knowledge and scientific discourse in topics relevant for the RESIN programme of work.

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Methods and Tools in support of Stakeholder Analysis and Involvement

This report presents an overview of methods and tools in support of a stakeholder analysis for the various steps and stages of preparing for and developing and implementing climate adaptation strategies.

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Adaptation options database model

This study aims to develop a library or catalogue of standardised adaptation options.

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This document provides an overview of the RESIN website and lays out the logic behind the design and the features that can be supported following future updates.

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The RESIN Tools

The RESIN project’s ideal partnership of pioneering research experts and active city representatives uniquely position the project as creators of a complete adaptation action package. Comprehensive evidence, interactive training and intuitive tools support, mobilise and streamline every stage of the process, from concept to reality. 

The RESIN tools will be the first of their kind, going beyond local cases and consolidating accumulated experience and knowledge to generate reliable, evidence-supported toolkits that will be both scientifically novel and user-friendly.



The e-Guide is developed to support the development and execution process of an urban climate adaptation plan, but not to proscribe it; rather than laying down rules and limitations, it aims to offer information and helpful insight to aid the cities in developing their own, unique plan. It aims to be a practical source of information and to this end the information in this e-guide was developed not only for, but also in large parts by urban decision makers. It therefore also contains lessons learned and practical examples encountered in the actual process of using this guidance for the creation of actual climate adaptation plans.

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Impact and vulnerability analysis (IVAVIA)

IVAVIA stands for Impact and Vulnerability Analysis of Vital Infrastructures and built-up Areas. The overall aim of a risk-based vulnerability assessment using IVAVIA, the major deliverable of WP2, is to facilitate the understanding of cause-effect relationships of climate change and to assess what impact on people, economy and built-up area under study can be expected now and for the future due to the changing climate. It enables the identification of geographical hotspots of vulnerability, which can be used as entry-point for adaptation measures. The identification of these hotspots will enable prioritizing the areas where actions are needed first.

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Decision support system (DSS)

These tools will support decision-making in the following areas: 

  • stakeholder analysis
  • risk and vulnerability assessment
  • prioritising between adaptation options and risk reduction strategies
  • monitoring and evaluation. 

As with the IVAVIA tools, use case scenarios will be provided. 

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Library of adaptation options

A searchable archive will host the above tools as well as documentation on adaptation measures previously implemented in different cities. 
The library will have a collaborative element where partners and other users can log in to upload or edit content. A platform will be created that will serve as an adaptation hotspot for cities beyond the project duration. 

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The RESIN project goes beyond localised adaptation approaches and moves towards formal standardisation of climate adaptation strategies. The Standardisation Institute of the Netherlands (NEN) will work with the project partners in streamlining the project's outputs into European standardised approaches.


City Typology

A city typology will identify some of cities’ key aspects as they relate to adaptation. Existing adaptation measures will also be surveyed, evaluated and documented in the project's online library.