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Natural Disasters and Adaptation to Climate Change

  • Includes 18 case studies on adaptive responses to extremes in Australia, North America, Europe and developing countries of Africa, Asia, and Central America
  • Lessons from these case studies address the overarching goal of informing our thinking about adaptation to future climate change
  • Empirical exploration of what it may be like to live with climate change

By: Sarah Boulter(Editor), Jean Palutikof(Editor), David John Karoly(Editor), Daniela Guitart(Editor)

Cambridge University Press

Hardback | Dec 2013 | #207013 | ISBN-13: 9781107010161
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NHBS Price: £92.99 $120/€102 approx

About this book

Natural Disasters and Adaptation to Climate Change presents eighteen case studies of natural disasters from Australia, Europe, North America and developing countries. By comparing the impacts, it seeks to identify what moves people to adapt, which adaptive activities succeed and which fail, and the underlying reasons, and the factors that determine when adaptation is required and when simply bearing the impact may be the more appropriate response. Much has been written about the theory of adaptation, and high-level, especially international, policy responses to climate change. Natural Disasters and Adaptation to Climate Change aims to inform actual adaptation practice – what works, what does not, and why. It explores some of the lessons we can learn from past disasters and the adaptation that takes place after the event in preparation for the next. Natural Disasters and Adaptation to Climate Change will be especially useful for researchers and decision makers in policy and government concerned with climate change adaptation, emergency management, disaster risk reduction, environmental policy and planning.


Part I. Case Studies from North America:
1. Introduction J. Palutikof, D. Karoly, S. Boulter and D. Guitart
2. Climate change and disaster risk management: challenges and opportunities M. C. Thomson
3. Hurricane Katrina and the city of New Orleans A. W. Garcia
4. A brief history of flooding and flood control measures along the Mississippi river basin, USA T. M. Kusky
5. The 2003 and 2007 wildfires in southern California J. E. Keeley, A. D. Syphard and C. J. Fotheringham
6. Adapting to extreme heat events: thirty years of lessons learned from the Kansas City, Missouri, extreme heat program D. M. Mills and W. D. Snook

Part II. Case Studies from Australia:
7. Drought and water in the Murray-Darling Basin: from disaster policy to adaptation L. C. Botterill and S. Dovers
8. After 'Black Saturday': adapting to bushfires in a changing climate J. Whittaker, J. Handmer and D. Karoly
9. Cyclone Tracy and the road to improving wind resistant design M. Mason, K. Haynes and G. Walker
10. Adaptation and resilience in two flood prone Queensland communities D. King, A. Apan, D. Keogh and M. Thomas

Part III. Case Studies from Europe:
11. The most costly natural hazard in Europe: windstorms U. Ulbrich, G. C. Leckebusch and M. G. Donat
12. The 2003 heat wave: impacts, public health adaptation, and response in France M. Pascal, A. Le Tertre and K. Laaidi
13. Lessons from river floods in central Europe, 1997–2010 Z. W. Kundzewicz
14. Lessons learned from the North Sea flooding disaster in the Netherlands, 1953 P. Vellinga and J. Aerts

Part IV. Case Studies from the Developing World:
15. Adapting to drought in the West African Sahel S. P. J. Batterbury and M. J. Mortimore
16. The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami: Sri Lankan experience S. S. L. Hettiarachchi and W. P. S. Dias
17. Recovery efforts: the case of the 2007 cyclone Sidr in Bangladesh B. K. Paul and M. K. Rahman
18. Coffee, disasters, and social-ecological resilience in Guatemala and Chiapas, Mexico H. Eakin, H. Morales, E. Castellanos, G. Cruz-Bello and J. F. Barrera
19. Responding to floods in the Nile Basin: a case study of the 1997/98 floods in the Upper White Nile M. C. Goulden and D. Conway
20. Floods in the Yangtze river basin, China Z. W. Kundzewicz, J. Tong and S. Buda

Part V. Synthesis Chapters:
21. Disasters and development J. Ayers, S. Huq and S. Boulter
22. What next? Climate change as a game-changer for policy and practice K. O'Brien and T. E. Downing
23. Barriers and limits to adaptation: cautionary notes J. Barnett, C. Mortreux and W. N. Adger
24. Lessons learned for adaptation to climate change S. Boulter, J. Palutikof and D. Karoly
25. Afterword: floods, storms, fire, and pestilence – disaster risk in Australia during 2010/11 D. Karoly and S. Boulter.

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Sarah Boulter is a Research Fellow with the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF), Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia where she works on synthesis and communication of adaptation research. She has been involved in the development of programs of policy guidance development for adaptation, research programs on historical case studies, the assessment of forest vulnerability in Australia, and as the convenor of Australia's Climate Adaptation conferences. She is a contributing author to the Australia chapter of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report. Her research background includes studies of biodiversity and reproductive ecology of forested systems and the impacts of climate change.

Jean Palutikof is the Director of the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF), Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia. At NCCARF, she has built a national program of adaptation research, communication and partnerships. Her work at NCCARF has convinced her of the need for case studies of good practice in adaptation action, to build adaptive capacity and knowledge amongst decision makers. Such good practice examples are hard to come by – hence this book, which seeks to extrapolate from responses to natural hazards to understand the perils and pitfalls around adapting to climate change. Prior to joining NCCARF, Professor Palutikof managed the production of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report for Working Group II (Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability), while based at the UK Met Office. Prior to joining the Met Office, she was a Professor at the School of Environmental Sciences and Director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, UK. Her research interests focus on climate change impacts and adaptation, and the application of climatic data to economic and planning issues.

David Karoly is Professor of Climate Science in the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Melbourne. He is an internationally recognised expert in climate change and climate variability, including greenhouse climate change, stratospheric ozone depletion and interannual climate variations due to the El Niño-Southern Oscillation. He was heavily involved in preparation of the Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC. He joined the University of Melbourne in 2007 as an ARC Federation Fellow funded by the Australian Government. He is a member of the new Climate Change Authority in Australia, the Science Advisory Panel to the Australian Climate Commission and the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists.

Daniela Guitart is an environmental scientist working at the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF), Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia. At NCCARF she coordinates the Adaptation Research Network activities and manages the production of information tools that communicate climate change adaptation research. Prior to joining NCCARF, she was conducting research on community based urban agriculture, and its contribution to food security and the conservation of agricultural biodiversity.

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