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by Mareen E. Hofmann

The need for systematic access to research-based knowledge on CCIVA in order to inform future adaptation research and decision-making requires new ways of synthesising the fragmented knowledge base. In this context, the ADAM project developed a methodology for a conceptual meta-analysis, which aimed at identifying a code that allows to relate the diverse CCIVA studies. The methodology was applied to give a systematic overview of what is known about CCIVA in Europe based on the journal articles referenced in the Europe chapter of the Working Group II contribution to the IPCC AR4.

We focused on the major adaptation-relevant sectors: agriculture and fisheries, water resources, tourism and recreation, energy and transport, property insurance, and human health. In order to bridge the different levels of abstraction and detail provided by the full articles and for reasons of efficiency, we considered only the abstracts of the selected journal articles. Initial efforts that considered the full articles indicated that in most instances not much more relevant information could be extracted.

The code itself was developed on the basis of a general mathematical framework of the concepts vulnerability and adaptive capacity. We stepwise expanded and refined the code by going back and forth between the abstracts of the studies and the code in order to identify the most relevant categories and relationships between the studies. The top-level categories are 'study', 'subject matter', 'results', and 'methodology':·   

  • The category study comprises all relevant bibliographic information about the study as well as its abstract and a one-sentence-summary, which is added to present the research results in a simple and easily understandable way even to non-experts.
  • The category subject matter provides the regional and thematic context of the study. The development of a thesaurus of subject matters made it possible to bridge the different levels of description and is therefore most important for providing a systematic access to the studies according to theme and region of interest to the adaptation decision maker.
  • The category results takes record of the most important results reached by the study as well as its conclusions and adaptation options suggested. It refines the subject matter by marking considered variables with the label stimulus, which refers to the drivers of change taken into account, as well as the label impact, which refers to changes in the social-ecological system on which the stimulus acts.
  • The category methodology comprises information on the type of study, the methods applied (e.g., impact models and climate scenarios), as well as the time span considered by the study.

On the basis of this code, the studies are made accessible via this ADAM digital adaptation compendium. It is possible to search the developed database of studies according to sectors and other thematic labels, countries, methodologies, etc. The short summaries allow a very brief, but concise overview of the content of each study.

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  • © 2009 ADAM, Adaptation and Mitigation Strategies: Supporting European climate policy