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Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Planning ...

Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Planning ...

3.0 Conducting a

3.0 Conducting a Vulnerability Assessment3.8 Climate (rainfall) modelingApproach Expertise/ Technology needed Time taken Cost Contribution to VAAvailable projections Moderate Some Low 3 SomeWhat is it?This method involves a review of detailed projectionsfor climate change effects on rainfall for the mangrovearea and for the catchment areas of any riversdelivering surface water to the mangrove area, usingglobal models and/or downscaled regional modelswhere available (these give a higher-resolution outputthan global models).Climate change, particularly with respect to rainfalland humidity changes, is an exposure factor.Why do it?The predicted effects of climate change factors onmangrove ecosystems listed in Table 1 show thatmangroves are not expected to be vulnerable toincreased temperatures, increased CO 2 concentrations,or wetter conditions. One exception is where extremeevents bring prolonged flooding, which causesmangrove mortality (Breen & Hill, 1969; Jimenez &Lugo, 1985; Steinke & Ward, 1989; Forbes & Cyrus,1992; Choy & Booth, 1994; Erftemeijer & Hamerlynck,2005).Reduced rainfall and reduced humidity, however, havea negative effect on mangrove productivity (Table 1),but given that productive mangroves exist in some ofthe driest areas on Earth (Ellison & Simmonds, 2003),these occurrences are unlikely to cause their total loss.As the precipitation projections in climate changemodels improve, such modeling will become moreuseful for a mangrove vulnerability assessment.How to collect dataAs discussed in subsection 3.1, modeled data offuture climate change scenarios may be available forthe vulnerability assessment area through partners,stakeholders or other projects. Key stakeholdersto approach are meteorological agencies, focalgovernment departments responsible for climatechange or regional climate change institutions.In many cases, such downscaled modeling outputs maynot be available from secondary sources, in which casethey can be commissioned from specialist institutionswith modeling expertise, such as universitiesor national meteorological agencies. However,practitioners will want to consider whether theresulting expense is the best use of available resourcesin view of the uncertainty and unpredictabilitycurrently involved in generating future rainfallprojections. The value of downscaled projections willalso depend on the number of meteorological stationsin the vicinity of the target area and the temporal spanof the data, which poses a limitation particularly insub-Saharan Africa.How to analyze resultsUse model results to analyze different rainfallparameters relative to recent conditions such as:• mean monthly rainfall• mean daily rainfall• monthly 90th percentile daily rainfall• monthly days exceeding 90th percentile• monthly mean dry spell durationA significant increase in drier conditions may causereduced productivity and diversity in mangrovesor at riverine sites and in the usually more diverselandward margins of mangroves. Species suchas Avicennia bicolor, Sonneratia caseolaris, S.lanceolata, Rhizophora racemosa, Pelliciera sp. (Dukeet al., 1998) and Nypa fruticans are upstream speciesof freshwater-dominated riverine systems that areparticularly vulnerable to increases in salinity causedby drier conditions.3 Refers just to use of the data, not the actual setup andmaintenance of a climate model – which is high-technology,expensive and requires lengthy data sets.72 | Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Planning for Mangrove Systems

3.0 Conducting a Vulnerability AssessmentHow to interpret vulnerabilityAlthough higher temperatures are not a vulnerabilityfactor for mangroves, adjacent coral reef systems arevulnerable to temperature increases (see subsection 3.7).Changes in rainfall patterns and downscaled rainfallprojections may show rainfall trends, as well asdemonstrate changes in seasonality of rainfall (whichmight affect phenology). Changes in frequency of dryspells can affect mangroves separately from the longertermtrends.More severe or more frequent freshwater floodingevents are excluded from the vulnerability assessmenteven though they cause mortality as mentionedearlier. This is because site-specific storm impacts areimpossible to predict, and overall sea level inundationvulnerability is covered in subsection 3.5.Drier conditions may increase the vulnerabilityof mangroves, such as through reduced diversity,photosynthesis and productivity, as well as groundlevelsubsidence (Table 1). However, as demonstratedin the case study below, rainfall projections currentlytend to be highly uncertain and hence difficult toquantify. This will improve as rainfall modelingbecomes more sophisticated.Rank vulnerability on the scale below. Record the scorein the final column (S = score).Strengths/weaknessesData on changes in ground level and forest diversityand condition are collected in the forest assessment,elevation and sedimentation components of thevulnerability assessment already described. From thesebaseline surveys, such changes can be monitored in thefuture and the results interpreted relative to rainfallchanges. Rainfall projections within downscaledclimate modeling may eventually improve in their levelof certainty, which would make them more useful formangrove vulnerability assessment.Rank 1 2 3 4 5 SExposure factorsPrecipitation change Becomes wetter Rainfall unchanged Somewhat drier Moderately drier Significantly drierCase studyFollowing traditional approaches in climate changevulnerability assessment, the WWF project initiallyinvestigated climate models for the pilot sites andfound very uncertain results for the exposure factor ofprecipitation change (Table 22), in that it was predictedto either get wetter or drier.In Fiji, downscaled modeling was undertaken to try toreduce this uncertainty. The results were inconclusive,with 7 of 12 models showing a future (2080–99) withhigher annual rainfall than at present (1980–99).These results implied that it would be wise forenvironmental planners, when reviewing adaptationoptions, to consider both negative and positiverainfall projections for the 21st century. Hence, themodeling was of little help to the overall vulnerabilityassessment.Regions 2010-2039 2040-2069 2070-2099Mediterranean -35.6 to +55.1 -52.6 to +38.3 -61.0 to +6.2Caribbean -14.2 to +13.7 -36.3 to +34.2 -49.3 to +28.9Indian Ocean -5.4 to +6.0 -6.9 to +12.4 -9.8 to +14.7NorthernPacificSouthernPacific-6.3 to +9.1 -19.2 to +21.3 -2.7 to +25.8-3.9 to +3.4 -8.23 to +6.7 -14.0 to +14.6Table 22. Projected change in precipitation over smallislands, by region (percentage). The ranges are derivedfrom seven atmosphere-ocean general circulationmodels (GCMs) run under the key SRES emissionsscenarios (from IPCC, 2007c).Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Planning for Mangrove Systems | 73

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