Uncertainty in climate change impacts, vulnerabilities, and risk

There is still a great deal of uncertainty in global climate change projections for coastal regions, and the associated vulnerabilities and risks [1,114,115]. Part of this uncertainty is due to lack of or limited access to reliable and continuous data sources. Specifically, large population centers and regions often draw most of the resources for long-term observations and other scientific monitoring necessary for adequate research. The other part of the uncertainty is the unpredictability of humans and their actions. New technologies are developed every day, but the diffusion and adoption of these technologies is often relatively slow. Understanding vulnerability and risk is more meaningful in smaller scales as characteristics of each community, their socio-economic structure, coastal context, environmental conditions, and institutional capacity contributes to their local vulnerability. Therefore, for uncertainties surrounding vulnerability and risk, the main knowledge gap lies with the lack of existing studies investigating the local and regional exposure and sensitivity to various climate change impacts.

This uncertainty in global climate projections and knowledge of local vulnerabilities and risk is further amplified by regional variations in local climate which interact with climate change, such as the El Niño – Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) [5,7,36]. Investments in monitoring and research will improve our understanding of climate change projections and impacts across the coastal region and at fine scales such as the MaPP sub-regions. Within BC, additional monitoring programs through the Hakai Institute and MEOPAR are in progress to monitor key climate change indicators including ocean acidification.

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