From this page, a user can learn more about the Vulnerability Mapping project in general, as well as the two online experiments: Voicing Climate Concerns (VCC) experiment and the Deliberative Mapping of Vulnerability (DMV) experiment. The entire website is available to registered participants. Register now. A user can also link to the Oregon Coastal Atlas.
Vulnerability assessments are a key component of adaptation planning for climate change. Community vulnerability assessments provide an inventory the most salient concerns communities consider when undertaking adaptation planning about climate change.
Voicing Climate Concerns (VCC) is a web site (www.climateconcerns.org) that helps people develop, through a structured participation process, a shared understanding of their concerns about climate change and how to measure those concerns in terms of climate indicators and receptor indicators. Indicators are commonly defined as measurements that many people can understand. Climate and receptor indicators provide the information, and basis for establishing priorities, about peoples' concerns about climate change. Indicators provide the input for community vulnerability assessments and subsequently climate change adaptation planning. In addition, the indicators developed through the VCC process provide information to data analysts that direct the compilation of data layers. The data layers will be used for creating online maps to be used by project participants for deliberating about priorities for vulnerability assessment.
A Deliberative Mapping of Vulnerability (DMV) web tool is under development to support discussions about place-based climate and receptor indicators. The DMV is meant to support participatory deliberation about priorities for vulnerability assessment and adaptation planning. Use of this web site will form a follow-on participatory activity to the VCC activity.
Using indicators to assess vulnerability
Specifically, a climate indicator is a measurement of a climate change characteristic. Examples of climate indicators are increase or decrease in temperature by area (place) by year (or decade), or increase or decrease in rainfall by area (place) by year (or decade). A "receptor" is any phenomenon (person, place, thing as in habitats, crops, animals etc), that is potentially vulnerable (affected by) climate change (climate indicator). Examples of receptor indicators are habitat gain and/or loss measured in meters squared per year at some place and time, or gain or loss of tourism measured in dollars. Receptor and climate indicators can be mapped, each as a "map layer". Map layers of climate indicators and receptor indicators can be compared one against another to identify possible exposures.
An overlay of the map layers provides an idea of places and times when receptors and climate indicators are collocated, or in other words where exposures might occur. Using the indicators above, habitat map layers each for a different time can be overlain with temperature map layers each for a different time. Changes in habitat can provide an idea of impact. In other words, we can map where habitats could be vulnerable to increases in temperature. An exposure indicator is the combination of one or more climate indicators (map layers) paired with one or more receptor indicators. A user will be able to draw, label, and comment on the nature of the exposure.
A climate change impact map can be created by taking the exposure indicator map and specifying the expected (measured) change in a receptor indicator due to an expected (measured) change in a climate indicator. For example, when sea-level rise increases by 6 centimeters for a particular area for a given period of time, the corresponding expected change in habitat gain or loss will be X meters squared.
Levels of Vulnerability Assessment
Every project has some limitations for what it can do and what must be left for further work. Identifying impacts from exposures, without considering any other information, can be called a level I vulnerability assessment. Quantitative measurements of impacts are difficult to quantify without considering the functional relationship between each unit of climate change and a corresponding unit of receptor change. Nonetheless, the categorical relationship can be discussed, and that is the intention in the deliberative mapping tool used by participants.
Furthermore, clearly, some receptors might be more "sensitive" to climate change than others. When we take into consideration sensitivity, then we speak of a level II vulnerability assessment. These can also be discussed in terms of categorical relationships rather than quantitative relationships. Discussing them categorically is the first step in a quantitative consideration.
It is also possible that some receptors have a better adaptive capacity than others to climate change. When we take into consideration adaptive capacity then we are performing a level III vulnerability assessment.
This project is funded to explore level I vulnerability concerns. However, a deliberative mapping web site will support discussions about sensitivity and adaptive capacity, thereby providing feedback about the development of community vulnerability indicators at levels I, II, III (and perhaps combinations of indicators that we call indexes). Establishing level 1 vulnerability concerns can help provide recommendations and directions for online tool building that can address more details for climate change adaptation planning.
Activities in Steps 1-5 enable participants to specify indicators about climate change impacts, including indicators for both climate conditions and receptor impacts.
Step 1. Participants brainstorm climate concerns plus keywords/phrases for annotating concerns.
Step 2. Participants specify indicator labels that best represent the entire collection of keywords/phrases.
Step 3. Participants select indicator labels that should move forward in the process, as well as identify indicator labels that help generalize climate indicators as appropriate.
Step 4. Participants assign units of measurement to indicator labels, thereby suggesting ways of measuring climate conditions and receptor impacts.
Step 5. Partcipants review a report listing the indicators.
After completion of the entire process, the report will be provided to data analysts to direct their search for climate change data.
Throughout the 5-step process, each step includes a sub-step (a) involving individual work and a concurrent or following sub-step (b) that involves group assessment. We hope you find this overall process insightful and productive.