Important Terminology

Established definitions have been used in this report to frame the theory and methods used in climate change assessments, which are provided here for clarity from the sources. A complete glossary is included in the Appendix.

Adaptation to climate change means the adjustment(s) in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities.
Adaptive capacity describes a system’s ability to cope with the disturbance and self-organize to continue its functioning.
Climate Change Projections describe the future and the pathway leading to it. Specific to climate change, projections estimate the change in a climate change indicator or variable derived from models of future climate. 
Exposure refers to a system’s properties that are subject to potential future harm from a disturbance.
Sensitivity refers to a system’s tendency of loss when exposed to a disturbance. 
Impact is the effect or influence that occurs based on a projected change (in climate).
Risk is the probability that a disturbance will happen.
Vulnerability is how susceptible a social or environmental system or sector is to the effects of a climate change impacts and it is a function of the systems’ sensitivity, exposure and adaptive capacity.
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