Quantifying Climate Change Adaptation to Incentivize & Facilitate Adaptation Action

Sophia Chau

Chau2Projected days per year reaching 100 °F in the US

Climate change and its associated biophysical impacts on human and natural systems are worsening each year. Many cities and communities have not begun adapting to these impacts, citing a lack of adaptation funding among other reasons. This adaptation funding gap stems in part from inadequate methods of measuring adaptation progress. 

The first chapter of my capstone project therefore reviews methodologies that have been proposed in the scholarly and grey literature for quantifying adaptation and incentivizing investment in communities with low adaptive capacity. The second chapter then proposes and demonstrates a simplified method of quantifying and tracking adaptation to heat waves in Indiana.

ChauComponents of vulnerability & their impact on a system

The final chapter of my project examines adaptation initiatives that three U.S. cities leading in adaptation action are implementing to deal with heat waves. These cities demonstrate good practices that cities like South Bend could emulate to also move from adaptation planning to implementation and evaluation. By tracking their adaptation progress over time using a similar method to the one demonstrated in this paper, communities can make more informed decisions on adaptation investment and create a market demand to drive adaptation funding.