Working Group II: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability

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2.8. Conclusion

In the decade prior to the SAR, the preponderance of studies employed methods and tools largely for the purpose of ascertaining the biophysical impacts of climate change, usually on a sectoral basis. Thus, the methods included models and other means for examining the impacts of climate change on water resources, agriculture, natural ecosystems, or coasts. Such methods have improved with regard to detection of climate change in biotic and physical systems and produced new substantive findings. In addition, since the SAR, cautious steps have been taken to expand the "toolbox" to address more effectively the human dimensions of climate as cause and consequence of change and to deal more directly with cross-sectoral issues concerning vulnerability, adaptation, and decisionmaking. In particular, more studies have begun to apply methods and tools for costing and valuing effects, treating uncertainties, integrating effects across sectors and regions, and applying DAFs to evaluate adaptive capacity. Overall, these modest methodological developments are encouraging analyses that will build a more solid foundation for understanding how decisions regarding adaptation to future climate change might be taken.

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