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Focus Areas

Climate Vulnerability, Adaptation, and Mitigation

Data-informed understanding and decision making help identify and minimize risk and vulnerability from climate change

Never has human civilization faced a more significant challenge than now in addressing and responding to climate change. The impacts and challenges resulting from rapid climate change are global, span physical and societal boundaries, and cross interlinked sectors. The ability to identify vulnerabilities to prepare for climate change, adapt to new conditions, and mitigate potential impacts to be resilient, requires specific interdisciplinary knowledge to minimize risks and support data-informed decisions. RTI provides support and solutions at every stage of decision-making.

Preparation for climate change begins with awareness regarding how systems or expectations may be affected in a way that makes communities or populations vulnerable. While reviewing regional temperatures or altered precipitation patterns from climate models does not inform specific impacts or the severity of an occurrence, it can lead to a systems-based thinking approach to climate vulnerability. How are supply chains affected? Is the reliability of electrical transmission impacted? What is the probability of a deficit in crop yield? Answers to such questions support data-informed decisions, or even identify unknown emerging challenges, in the process of preparing for action in response to climate change.

Adaptation is a potential response to climate change once the issues and challenges are defined. Sea walls may be constructed, towns may be relocated, or different construction techniques may be applied that are able to withstand the new climate. What actions can be taken acknowledging a 'new normal'?

Maximizing Resilience in Times of Climate Change

In some cases, adverse effects may be inevitable, but the magnitude or severity of impacts can be reduced through mitigation actions. New forecast warning systems can be installed allowing early evacuation and saving of lives; new plans or guidelines to handle extreme events can be developed minimizing impacts; or public educational programs may be implemented. 

Should some adverse condition occur, the ability for a community, government, or other group to recover from the event is a measure of resiliency. With evidence-based knowledge of challenges and threats, proper planning, the development of adaptation measures, and the implementation of measures to reduce impacts, the ability to be resilient in times of climate change can be maximized.