Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Defining tipping points for social-ecological systems scholarship - An interdisciplinary literature review
Milkoreit, Manjana ; Hodbod, Jennifer ; Baggio, Jacopo ; Benessaiah, Karina ; Calderón-Contreras, Rafael ; Donges, Jonathan F. ; Mathias, Jean Denis ; Rocha, Juan Carlos ; Schoon, Michael ; Werners, Saskia E. - \ 2018
Environmental Research Letters 13 (2018)3. - ISSN 1748-9318
non-linear change - social tipping points - social-ecological systems - tipping points
The term tipping point has experienced explosive popularity across multiple disciplines over the last decade. Research on social-ecological systems (SES) has contributed to the growth and diversity of the term's use. The diverse uses of the term obscure potential differences between tipping behavior in natural and social systems, and issues of causality across natural and social system components in SES. This paper aims to create the foundation for a discussion within the SES research community about the appropriate use of the term tipping point, especially the relatively novel term 'social tipping point.' We review existing literature on tipping points and similar concepts (e.g. regime shifts, critical transitions) across all spheres of science published between 1960 and 2016 with a special focus on a recent and still small body of work on social tipping points. We combine quantitative and qualitative analyses in a bibliometric approach, rooted in an expert elicitation process. We find that the term tipping point became popular after the year 2000 - long after the terms regime shift and critical transition - across all spheres of science. We identify 23 distinct features of tipping point definitions and their prevalence across disciplines, but find no clear taxonomy of discipline-specific definitions. Building on the most frequently used features, we propose definitions for tipping points in general and social tipping points in SES in particular.
Exploring Future Water Shortage for Large River Basins under Different Water Allocation Strategies
Yan, Dan ; Yao, Mingtian ; Ludwig, Fulco ; Kabat, Pavel ; Huang, He Qing ; Hutjes, Ronald W.A. ; Werners, Saskia E. - \ 2018
Water Resources Management 32 (2018)9. - ISSN 0920-4741 - p. 3071 - 3086.
Climate change - Pearl River basin - Socio-economic development - Water resources allocation - Water shortage
Climate change and socio-economic development increase variations in water availability and water use in the Pearl River Basin (PRB), China. This can potentially result in conflicts over water resources between water users, and cause water shortage in the dry season. To assess and manage water shortage in the PRB, we first explored two water availability and three water use scenarios. Next, four different strategies to allocate water were defined. These water allocation strategies prioritized upstream water use, Pearl River Delta water use, irrigation water use, and manufacturing water use, respectively. The impact of the four strategies on water use and related economic output was assessed under different water availability and water use scenarios. Results show that almost all the regions in the PRB are likely to face water shortage under the four strategies. The increasing water demand contributes twice as much as the decreasing water availability to water shortage. All four water allocation strategies are insufficient to solve the water scarcity in the PRB. The economic losses differ greatly under the four water allocation strategies. Prioritizing the delta region or manufacturing production would result in lower economic losses than the other two strategies. However, all of them are rather extreme strategies. Development of water resources management strategies requires a compromise between different water users.
Holistic quality assessment of ECMWF System-4 seasonal climate forecast to support crop production
Hoang, P.L. ; Slobbe, E.J.J. van; Dewulf, A.R.P.J. ; Werners, S.E. ; Kumar, Uthpal ; Gbangou, Talardia ; Sarku, Rebecca ; Ludwig, F. - \ 2018
Geophysical Research Abstracts 20 (2018). - ISSN 1029-7006 - 1 p.
Addressing Socio-Ecological Development Challenges in the Digital Age: Environmental Virtual Observatories For Connective Action
Cieslik, Katarzyna ; Leeuwis, C. ; Dewulf, A.R.P.J. ; Feindt, P.H. ; Lie, R. ; Werners, S.E. ; Wessel, M.G.J. van; Struik, P.C. - \ 2017
Addressing Socio-Ecological Development Challenges in the Digital Age: Environmental Virtual Observatories For Connective Action
Cieslik, Katarzyna ; Leeuwis, C. ; Dewulf, A.R.P.J. ; Feindt, P.H. ; Lie, R. ; Werners, S.E. ; Wessel, M.G.J. van; Struik, P.C. - \ 2017
Agroforestry systems in the Upper Mara River Basin : a practical guide for farmers
Ingram, Verina ; Jans, Wilma ; Hitimana, Joseph ; Werners, Saskia ; Spijkerman, Arjen ; Froebrich, Jochen ; Ndolo, Ben ; Heesmans, Hanneke ; Rooker, Jaclyn - \ 2017
Wageningen : Wageningen University & Research - ISBN 9789463432245 - 61
Climate adaptation approaches and key policy characteristics : Cases from South Asia
Vij, Sumit ; Moors, Eddy ; Ahmad, Bashir ; Uzzaman, Arfan ; Bhadwal, Suruchi ; Biesbroek, Robbert ; Gioli, Giovanna ; Groot, Annemarie ; Mallick, Dwijen ; Regmi, Bimal ; Saeed, Basharat Ahmed ; Ishaq, Sultan ; Thapa, Bhuwan ; Werners, Saskia E. ; Wester, Philippus - \ 2017
Environmental Science & Policy 78 (2017). - ISSN 1462-9011 - p. 58 - 65.
Adaptation - Climate change - Long-term - Policy approaches - South Asia

This paper analyses and assesses how existing policies and approaches in South Asia consider long-term climate change adaptation. Presently, it is unclear what approaches are used in the existing policies to cope with the future climatic changes. Our research framework consists of two components. First, we identify and define key characteristics of adaptation policy approaches based on a review of scientific journal articles. The key characteristics identified are institutional flexibility, adaptive nature, scalability and reflexivity. Second, we analyse the presence of these characteristics in the climate change adaptation policies of Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistan. Our findings show that the four South Asian countries contribute to only 8% of the total journal articles on adaptation policy, with least papers representing Pakistan and Nepal. Reviewing the adaptation policies, we find that except for the Climate Change Policy of Nepal, none of the policies discusses transboundary scale adaptation approaches. The identified adaptation policies lack focus on shared transboundary resources between the countries, and instead focus at national or sub-national scale. This is reflected by relatively low scores for the scalability characteristic. All the countries show high scores for institutional flexibility, suggesting that changing roles and responsibilities between government agencies for adaptation planning and implementation is accepted in the four countries. We conclude that to prevent a loss of flexibility and to promote scalability of shared transboundary resources, policy approaches such as anticipatory governance, robust decision-making, and adaptation pathways can be useful for long-term climate change adaptation.

Many-objective robust decision making for water allocation under climate change
Yan, Dan ; Ludwig, Fulco ; Huang, He Qing ; Werners, Saskia E. - \ 2017
Science of the Total Environment 607-608 (2017). - ISSN 0048-9697 - p. 294 - 303.
Climate uncertainties - Multi-objective evolutionary algorithms - Pearl River basin - Robust decision making
Water allocation is facing profound challenges due to climate change uncertainties. To identify adaptive water allocation strategies that are robust to climate change uncertainties, a model framework combining many-objective robust decision making and biophysical modeling is developed for large rivers. The framework was applied to the Pearl River basin (PRB), China where sufficient flow to the delta is required to reduce saltwater intrusion in the dry season. Before identifying and assessing robust water allocation plans for the future, the performance of ten state-of-the-art MOEAs (multi-objective evolutionary algorithms) is evaluated for the water allocation problem in the PRB. The Borg multi-objective evolutionary algorithm (Borg MOEA), which is a self-adaptive optimization algorithm, has the best performance during the historical periods. Therefore it is selected to generate new water allocation plans for the future (2079–2099). This study shows that robust decision making using carefully selected MOEAs can help limit saltwater intrusion in the Pearl River Delta. However, the framework could perform poorly due to larger than expected climate change impacts on water availability. Results also show that subjective design choices from the researchers and/or water managers could potentially affect the ability of the model framework, and cause the most robust water allocation plans to fail under future climate change. Developing robust allocation plans in a river basin suffering from increasing water shortage requires the researchers and water managers to well characterize future climate change of the study regions and vulnerabilities of their tools.
Building Regional Water-Use Scenarios Consistent with Global Shared Socioeconomic Pathways
Yao, Mingtian ; Tramberend, Sylvia ; Kabat, Pavel ; Hutjes, Ronald W.A. ; Werners, Saskia E. - \ 2017
Environmental Processes 4 (2017)1. - ISSN 2198-7491 - p. 15 - 31.
Hydro-economic classification - Pearl River Delta - Regional - Shared socioeconomic pathways - Water futures and solution initiative - Water use
Water use projections are crucial to safeguard sustainable access to freshwater in the future. The Water Futures and Solution initiative (WFaS) has developed a set of global water-use scenarios consistent with the recent Assessment Report framework of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, notably the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs), and applying a hydro-economic classification that links a socioeconomic dimension with hydrologic complexity. Here we present regional water use projections for the Pearl River Delta (PRD) in China consistent with the WFaS global assessment. Using two different downscaling techniques for developing regional water-use scenarios based on the national assumptions made for China in the WFaS assessment, we investigate PRD’s water-use projections. The findings indicate significant differences in the PRD’s regional development trends compared to China’s national SSP. The regionalized scenarios project lower water use because of the PRD’s lower share of the manufacturing sector in total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and higher rates of technological improvement, compared to national development trend assumptions. Nevertheless, hydrological challenges remain for the PRD. Its total water use would still increase by up to 54% in 2030 under the regionalized scenarios. Although uncertainties related to scarce data remain, we provide a scientifically sound and feasible method to generate regional scenarios that can capture the regional sectorial water uses development as well as being consistent with national water-use scenarios developed by global assessment.
Vooroeversuppleties in de Oosterschelde : Meerwaarde voor ecologie, economie en waterveiligheid
Veraart, J.A. ; Werners, S.E. ; Tangelder, M. ; Groot, A.M.E. ; Bel, Mark de; Mulder, J.P.M. - \ 2016
Landschap : tijdschrift voor Landschapsecologie en Milieukunde 33 (2016)3. - p. 143 - 151.
Vooroeversuppleties kunnen tegelijkertijd bijdragen aan de waterveiligheid en aan de ecologie en economiein de Oosterschelde. Dit artikel bespreekt deze potentiële bijdragen aan de hand van een praktijkervaringen een rekenvoorbeeld. Het laat zien dat met vooroeversuppleties een reductie van de belastingvan dijklichamen mogelijk is waarmee reguliere dijkversterking uitgesteld kan worden en tegelijkertijdnatuur- en recreatiedoelen kunnen worden gediend. Bestuurlijke afspraken over de verdeling van investeringskosten,beheer en onderhoud zijn daarbij een belangrijke succesfactor.Vooroeversuppleties in deOosterscheldeIn en rondom de Oosterschelde zijn in de afgelopen zestigjaar grote ingrepen uitgevoerd om het gebied veiligerte maken in het kader van het eerste Deltaplan.Daardoor staat de Oosterschelde niet langer in verbindingmet de Rijn en de Schelde en is de voormalige zeearmveranderd in een zoutwater baai met gereduceerdgetij. De aanleg van de Oosterscheldekering, de OesterenPhilipsdam heeft ook geleid tot erosie en herverdelingvan zand en sediment van platen en slikken naarde geulen van de Oosterschelde (ook wel zandhongergenoemd). Hierdoor slinkt het areaal intergetijdengebiedin de Oosterschelde met circa 50 hectare per jaar(Eelkema et al., 2013; Van Zanten & Adriaanse, 2008).De Oosterschelde is sinds 2002 een Nationaal Park.Behoud van intergetijdengebied is een substantiële opgavein het kader van het Europese natuurbeleid; binnenenbuitendijkse gronden zijn aangewezen als Natura2000-gebied. De droogvallende slikken en platen in deOosterschelde zijn van belang voor de zeehonden en foeragerendewatervogels, in het bijzonder voor steltlopers.Het ontwerpbeheerplan is in juni 2015 ter inzage vrijgegeven(Rijkswaterstaat, 2015).In het Deltaprogramma is opgenomen dat het peil- ensluitregime van de Oosterscheldekering en het beheer enonderhoud van de dijken aangepast zullen worden methet oog op klimaatverandering (Staf Deltacommissaris,2014). Alvorens dat te doen zal eerst uitgezocht wordenof de toepassing van innovatieve dijkconcepten (inclusiefzandsuppleties van de vooroevers) en een gewijzigdpeil- en sluitregime van de Oosterscheldekering realiseerbaarzijn en welke mogelijke meerwaarde deze biedenvoor veiligheid, natuur, recreatie en visserij. In eerderonderzoek van Rijkswaterstaat zijn locaties geïdentificeerdwaar vooroeversuppleties theoretisch mogelijkzijn (figuur 1).Dit artikel onderzoekt en vergelijkt een praktijkvoorbeeldvan een uitgevoerde vooroeversuppletie(Sophiastrand) en een rekenvoorbeeld van een mogelijkevooroeversuppletie (Slikken van den Dortsman), ziefiguur 1, wat betreft hun potentiële bijdrage aan waterveiligheid,ecologie en economie. De gegevens zijn verkregendoor het samenbrengen en interpreteren van deresultaten uit beleidsondersteunend onderzoek in hetkader van het Deltaprogramma. Daarnaast worden aanbevelingengedaan over het aanvullen van de integraleontwerprichtlijnen uit het innovatieprogramma Buildingwith Nature (De Vriend et al., 2015) voor de dimensioneringvan specifieke vooroeversuppleties in estuaria.
Climate Change Adaptation in the Carpathian Mountain Region
Werners, Saskia Elisabeth ; Szalai, Sándor ; Zingstra, Henk ; Kőpataki, Éva ; Beckmann, Andreas ; Bos, Ernst ; Civic, Kristijan ; Hlásny, Tomas ; Hulea, Orieta ; Jurek, Matthias ; Koch, Hagen ; Kondor, Attila Csaba ; Kovbasko, Aleksandra ; Lakatos, M. ; Lambert, Stijn ; Peters, Richard ; Trombik, Jiří ; De Velde, Ilse Van; Zsuffa, István - \ 2016
In: Climate Change Adaptation Strategies : An Upstream-downstream Perspective / Salzmann, Nadine, Huggel, Christian, Nussbaumer, Samuel U., Ziervogel, Gina, Springer International Publishing Switzerland - ISBN 9783319407715 - p. 79 - 99.
The Carpathian mountain region is one of the most significant natural refuges on the European continent. It is home to Europe’s most extensive tracts of montane forest, the largest remaining virgin forest and natural mountain beech-fir forest ecosystems. Adding to the biodiversity are semi-natural habitats such as hay meadows, which are the result of centuries of traditional land management. Like other mountain regions areas, the Carpathian mountain region provides important ecosystem goods and services such as water provision, food products, forest products and tourism. But these ecosystem services are feared to be under threat from climate change.

This chapter reports on climate trends, impacts and adaptation options. Analysis of climate trends show an increase in annual mean temperature of 1.1–2.0 °C over the last 50 years (1961–2010), further increasing by 3.5–4.0 °C towards the end of the century. Precipitation changes are dispersed with an increase of 300–400 mm in the north and decrease of 100–150 mm in the south regions. Summer precipitation is projected to reduce by 20 %, whereas winter precipitation is projected to increase in most areas by 5–20 % by the year 2100. Both future scenarios and observations show high spatial variability and uncertainty. The same holds for the impacts on the investigated sectors water resources, forests, wetlands, grasslands, agriculture and tourism.

The review of climate trends and adaptation options, inspired a strategic agenda on adaptation to be implemented under the regional Carpathian Convention. Planning for climate change adaptation benefits from transnational cooperation because many impacts relate to seasonal and geographical shifts across borders. This is true for the natural system (e.g. shifts in species distribution and snow cover) as well as for socio-economic activities like agriculture, forestry and tourism (e.g. shifting opportunities for growing crops and changes in the tourist season). Examples of adaptation exist, yet need to be communicated for wider adoption. Essential components of adaptation will be capacity building and information sharing, climate-proofing of infrastructure and investments, promotion of eco-system based adaptation measures and making biodiversity management more dynamic.
Identifying and Assessing Robust Water Allocation Plans for Deltas Under Climate Change
Yan, Dan ; Werners, Saskia E. ; Huang, He Qing ; Ludwig, Fulco - \ 2016
Water Resources Management 3014 (2016). - ISSN 0920-4741 - p. 5421 - 5435.
Climate change - RCP scenarios - Robustness assessment - The Pearl River basin - Water allocation

Water scarcity threatens economic growth, social cohesion, and environmental sustainability in many deltas. This situation is likely to worsen due to future climate change. To reduce water scarcity and limit salt water intrusion in deltas, many countries have launched policies to allocate water resources. However, it is difficult to develop long-term adaptive water management policies due to large uncertainties. In this paper, we present a Robust Assessment Model for Water Allocation (RAMWA) to support decision making about water release of different key reservoirs under future climate change. The model was applied in the Pearl River basin, China to improve reservoir management, to ensure sufficient flow into the delta to reduce salt intrusion, and to provide sufficient freshwater for human and industrial consumption. Results show that performance of the existing water allocation plans reduces under climate change, as the plans are unable to sustain the required minimum river discharge. However alternatives generated by a Generic Evolutionary Algorithm (GEA) suggest that new plans can be developed which ensure minimum flows into the delta under most future climate change scenarios. The GEA plans perform better than existing plans because rather than following a fixed allocation schedule, the optimal water release for each reservoir is recalculated every 10 days based on observed discharge and storage in key reservoirs.

Analysing monthly sectorial water use and its influence on salt intrusion induced water shortage in urbanized deltas
Yao, Mingtian ; Yan, Dan ; Kabat, Pavel ; Huang, Heqing ; Hutjes, Ronald W.A. ; Werners, Saskia E. - \ 2016
Sustainable Cities and Society 26 (2016). - ISSN 2210-6707 - p. 255 - 263.
Pearl river delta - Salt intrusion - Urbanized delta - Water shortage - Water use - Water use efficiency

Urbanizing delta regions face seasonal water shortages induced by rising salt intrusion. Decreasing river discharge is readily listed as the major cause of water shortage events. Yet, observations of river discharge often fail to support this attribution. Evidence of the association between severe salt intrusion and water use is weak and inconclusive. The present study asks to what extent water use contributes to salt intrusion and freshwater shortages. Moreover, it asks whether management of water use rather than water supply can be part of mitigating salt intrusion. The contribution of water use in causing severe salt intrusion events is assessed by first quantifying monthly sectorial water use and next comparing it with threshold discharges from the graded salt intrusion warning system. The case study region is the Pearl River Delta, China. Sectorial water use is found to substantially vary between months. In particular in the dry month in which water shortages are reported, water use can be more than 25% of discharge and thus exacerbates salt intrusion. Evaluation of coping strategies shows that improved water use can alleviate salt intrusion by up to one level in the warning system, thus preventing problems at a number of water abstraction points.

Shrimp farming as adaptation to salt intrusion in coastal Bangladesh
Werners, Saskia - \ 2016
Method selection in adaptation research : the case of the Delta Programme for the Dutch Wadden region
Werners, Saskia Elisabeth ; Loon-Steensma, Jantsje Mintsje van; Oost, Albert Peter - \ 2016
Regional Environmental Change 16 (2016)1. - ISSN 1436-3798 - p. 111 - 122.
Adaptation research - Delta Programme - Diagnostic framework - Dutch Wadden region - Method selection

Many methods are available to support adaptation planning. Yet there is little guidance on their selection. A recently developed diagnostic framework offers a structured set of criteria to choose research methods for specific adaptation questions. It has been derived from science-driven cases mostly. This paper offers the first application to a policy-driven case. Thus, it aims to (1) assess the descriptive quality of the framework for adaptation planning and (2) reflect on its value in supporting method selection. The paper focuses on the research commissioned for adaptation policymaking by the Dutch Delta Programme in the Wadden region. It compares the research methods used in the Delta Programme with those suggested by the diagnostic framework. It concludes that the selection of methods in the adaptation planning process can be described quite well by the decision trees of the diagnostic framework. Deviations occurred mostly for pragmatic reasons when the selection is informed by practical limitations of the policymaking process, such as available resources, time constraints and experience of the involved experts. It is recommended to enrich the diagnostic framework with methods from adaptation practice and consult it in climate adaptation studies at an early stage.

Construction area expansion in relation to economic-demographic development and land resource in the Pearl River Delta of China
Liu, Zhijia ; Huang, Heqing ; Werners, Saskia E. ; Yan, Dan - \ 2016
Journal of Geographical Sciences 26 (2016)2. - ISSN 1009-637X - p. 188 - 202.
construction area expansion - GDP growth - land resource - Pearl River Delta - population growth

Since 1979, the Pearl River Delta (PRD) of China has experienced rapid socioeconomic development along with a fast expansion of construction area. Affected by both natural and human factors, a complex interdependency is found among the regional changes in construction area, GDP and population. A quantitative analysis of the four phases of the regional land use data extracted from remote sensing images and socioeconomic statistics spanning 1979 to 2009 demonstrates that the proportion of construction area in the PRD increased from 0.5% in 1979 to 10.8% in 2009, accompanied with a rapid loss of agricultural land. An increase of one million residents was associated with an increase of GDP of approximately 32 billion yuan before 2000 and approximately 162 billion yuan after 2000. Because the expansion of construction area has approached the limits of land resource in some cities of the PRD, a power function is found more suitable than a linear one in describing the relationship between GDP and construction area. Consequently, the Logistic model is shown to provide more accurate predictions of population growth than the Malthus model, particularly in some cities where a very large proportion of land resource has been urbanized, such as Shenzhen and Dongguan.

The future of the Rhine : stranded ships and no more salmon?
Slobbe, Erik van; Werners, S.E. ; Riquelme-Solar, Marcela ; Bölscher, Tobias ; Vliet, M.T.H. van - \ 2016
Regional Environmental Change 16 (2016)1. - ISSN 1436-3798 - p. 31 - 41.
Adaptation - Climate change impacts - River management - Turning points

Climate studies show high likelihood of changing hydrological regimes in European rivers. Concerned authorities increasingly question the sustainability of current river management strategies. The aim of this paper is to apply the adaptation turning point (ATP) approach and demonstrates its potential for analysing turning points in river management strategies as a method to support authorities in decisions on adaptation to climate change. Two management strategies in the Rhine River basin were selected as case studies: (1) reintroduction of a sustainable population of Atlantic salmon and (2) inland shipping in relation to water depth variability. By applying the turning point approach, we search for answers to the following questions: when will these management strategies fail due to climate change impacts on the river’s hydrology? What adaptation measures exist to delay or avoid failure? The identification of adaption turning points is not easy, due to large scenario and model uncertainties in transient future projections of low-flow discharges and water temperatures. But the case studies demonstrate that the ATP approach is salient from a decision-maker’s perspective, because it addresses the timing of possible failure of current management strategies. Analysis of results allows policy makers to assess risks and the urgency for action and provides them with a time horizon for adaptation planning. It is also a valuable first step in the application of methods of formal appraisal of adaptation options when flexibility in planning is required.

Turning points in climate change adaptation
Werners, Saskia Elisabeth ; Slobbe, Erik van; Bölscher, Tobias ; Oost, Albert ; Pfenninger, Stefan ; Trombi, Giacomo ; Bindi, Marco ; Moriondo, Marco - \ 2015
Ecology and Society 20 (2015)4. - ISSN 1708-3087
Adaptation turning points - Climate change - Governance - Tools - Uncertainty

Concerned decision makers increasingly pose questions as to whether current management practices are able to cope with climate change and increased climate variability. This signifies a shift in the framing of climate change from asking what its potential impacts are to asking whether it induces policy failure and unacceptable change. In this paper, we explore the background, feasibility, and consequences of this new framing. We focus on the specific situation in which a social-political threshold of concern is likely to be exceeded as a result of climate change, requiring consideration of alternative strategies. Action is imperative when such a situation is conceivable, and at this point climate change becomes particularly relevant to decision makers. We call this situation an “adaptation turning point.” The assessment of adaptation turning points converts uncertainty surrounding the extent of a climate impact into a time range over which it is likely that specific thresholds will be exceeded. This can then be used to take adaptive action. Despite the difficulty in identifying adaptation turning points and the relative newness of the approach, experience so far suggests that the assessment generates a meaningful dialogue between stakeholders and scientists. Discussion revolves around the amount of change that is acceptable; how likely it is that unacceptable, or more favorable, conditions will be reached; and the adaptation pathways that need to be considered under these circumstances. Defining and renegotiating policy objectives under climate change are important topics in the governance of adaptation.

Portfolios of adaptation investments in water management
Aerts, Jeroen C.J.H. ; Botzen, Wouter ; Werners, Saskia E. - \ 2015
Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change 20 (2015)8. - ISSN 1381-2386 - p. 1247 - 1265.
Adaptation - Decision making under risk - Flood risk management - Modern portfolio theory - Uncertainty

This study explores how Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT) can guide investment decisions in integrated water resources management (IWRM) and climate change adaptation under uncertainty. The objectives of the paper are to: (i) explain the concept of diversification to reduce risk, as formulated in MPT; (ii) discuss the conditions for applying MPT to IWRM, and provide examples of these; and (iii) analyze the opportunities and limitations of applying MPT to the design of IWRM and adaptation policies. It is shown that MPT can be applied when a case meets four conditions: (1) there is more than one possible investment at a given time; (2) these investments are subject to risk; (3) there is information about the historical and/or expected return of these investments; and (4) the same conditions do not affect all investments equally, meaning that their returns are imperfectly correlated. Analysis of a case study Noorderkwartier in the Netherlands concludes that MPT can contribute to designing portfolios of combinations of investments in flood risk management—technical measures, spatial planning and insurance—which are robust to uncertainty in long-term projections such as present in climate change scenarios.

Adaptation turning points on inland waterway transport in the Rhine River
Riquelme-Solar, M. ; Slobbe, E. van; Werners, S.E. - \ 2015
Journal of Water and Climate Change 6 (2015)4. - ISSN 2040-2244 - p. 670 - 682.
Climate adaptation - Extreme low flow - Inland waterway transport - River management

It is expected that climate change will affect important natural inland waterways in Europe, among others, the Rhine River. Inland waterway transport is one of the main economic activities developed in the Rhine, and the effects of climate change on this activity are of great concern for skippers, the industry and policy-makers. This paper aims to identify whether longer and more frequent dry periods projected in the Rhine River will turn into a physical limitation that prevent inland waterway transport companies from guaranteeing reliable transportation to their customers, and – if so – when such a situation might take place. Based on the adaptation turning point approach, we propose a four step method to identify critical time periods for future climate change adaptation. According to our results, the inland waterway transport sector will start facing insurmountable problems associated with low water levels within the time span 2081–2095. The adaptation turning point approach provides analysts with a dynamic appraisal method that allows options to be ranked with timing of period of effectiveness and the time span needed for implementation as criteria. This increases flexibility of planning and allows for uncertainty about changing future conditions.

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