Integrated Climate Change Modelling and Policy Linkages for Adaptive Planning
Climate change is influencing the frequency and intensity of extreme weather, exposing both people and economies to lost lives, productivity, and property. This project will help planners and policymakers respond more effectively by implementing climate-smart adaptive strategies. These strategies will serve to strengthen communities' resilience and sustainable economies. Modelling future scenarios for better planning To create effective strategies, policymakers need high quality information to define the nature and scale of change and to anticipate the impact of these changes on natural and fabricated systems, along with the associated uncertainty. This knowledge is typically based on future climate scenarios developed using integrated modelling techniques for both short- and long-term change. Applying this knowledge demands a common understanding between modellers, planners, and policymakers on the meaning of "predicted climate futures" and the policy context. Without this shared understanding, decisions may be poorly made, limiting the effectiveness of policy to reduce risks and associated damage. This can also lead to poor adaptation. The data challenge in developing countries Climate and impact modellers working in the developing world face significant challenges accessing appropriate data and models. Similarly, planners and policymakers face barriers in applying and using climate information. IDRC's Climate Change and Water (CCW) program has more than 20 projects with significant modelling components, a number of which have had notable success in bringing together both ends of this problem. Each has integrated socio-economic and biophysical model outputs and applied them in a local context with tangible results. Improving approaches, integrating tools This project seeks to build on the collective strengths and experience of those CCW projects. It will maximize the University of Cape Town's position as a hub for climate information in the Southern hemisphere to: -strengthen and enable the southern climate modelling community of practice; -address lack of access to data and models; -improve communication of climate science and uncertainty in a developing world context; -address inadequate tools to use information on climate futures for planning and climate-smart policy; and -build common understanding of what can be predicted and what is needed to develop strong policy. The project will consolidate the collective experience of CCW recipients from Africa, Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean to develop and test a framework designed to overcome the mismatch between supply-driven climate research and demand-driven planning and policy. The project team will identify leading modellers and support them to become points of contact. This will serve to boost the quality and impact of CCW research in their respective regions. They will serve as focal points for the community of practice, facilitating knowledge exchange. The research, modelling framework, and policy linkages for adaptive planning will be practical and will apply to the mainly hydrological impacts associated with a range of climate change adaptation situations in sectors spanning from agriculture to urban planning.