05 Sep 2023
 | 05 Sep 2023

Quantifying and Communicating Uncertain Climate Change Hazards in Participatory Climate Change Adaptation Processes

Laura Müller and Petra Döll

Abstract. Participatory processes for identifying local climate change adaptation measures have to be performed all around the globe. It is therefore of utmost importance to investigate methods for the optimal design of such processes. A central aspect is how to address the epistemic uncertainties of future developments, in particular how to appropriately inform the stakeholders about the uncertain potential climate change hazards. In a participatory process on water-related adaptation in a biosphere reserve in Germany, we used the freely available output of a multi-model ensemble to quantify the wide range of potential future changes in (ground)water resources. We analyzed groundwater recharge and runoff computed according to the ISIMIP2b protocol by eight global hydrological models, each of which was driven by the output of four global climate models. To support participatory climate change adaptation processes, we propose to present uncertain local climate change hazards with percentile boxes rather than with boxplots or with simple averages and a verbal description of model agreement on the sign of change. This enables stakeholders to identify the future changes they wish to adapt to depending on the problem (e.g., resource scarcity vs. resource excess) and their risk aversion. Using or adapting our analysis and communication approach, flexible climate change risk management strategies can and should be developed worldwide in a participatory and transdisciplinary manner involving stakeholders and scientists.

Laura Müller and Petra Döll

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1958', Usha Harris, 29 Sep 2023
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Laura Müller, 16 Oct 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1958', Anonymous Referee #2, 17 Nov 2023
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Laura Müller, 13 Dec 2023
Laura Müller and Petra Döll
Laura Müller and Petra Döll


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Short summary
To be able to adapt to climate change, stakeholders need to be informed about future uncertain climate change hazards. Using freely available output of global hydrological models, we quantified future local changes in water resources and their uncertainty. To communicate these in participatory processes, we propose using “percentile boxes” for supporting the development of flexible strategies for climate risk management worldwide, involving stakeholders and scientists.