ANALYSIS STEP 2: Analysing the climate context
Understanding the climate context of the project area is essential when designing quality CBA projects. This includes historical, current and projected climate; and it includes both climate conditions (temperature, wind, humidity and rainfall patterns) and events (e.g. heavy rains, droughts, floods, cyclones and hurricanes).
The analysis should draw on scientific data as well as data and information gathered from communities. This should be done at the smallest scale possible to be meaningful for project design, taking into account local micro-climate variability and geography.
Analysis Step 2.1: Identify past and current climate hazards (events and conditions) facing target area (country, region, community)
In many areas, the impacts of climate change are already being observed, both by scientists and by local communities. Understanding the climate events and conditions that have been experienced in an area (both recently and historically), and how communities and individuals have responded to them, provides us with an important basis for understanding how future changes in climate may impact a community and their capacity to adapt. This is the basis upon which to develop actions that should be included in a CBA project.
The national government or national research institutions, such as universities, may have gathered data on historical weather conditions and the government disaster agency may have information on climate events such as storms and floods. The quality and level of detail is likely to vary but these are still important sources of data. Other non-governmental bodies, such as NGOs and UN agencies, may also have such data. Therefore, a good starting point is to establish a partnership with an institution engaged in climate monitoring. In addition, local communities are sources of this kind of information (see Analysis Step 2.3)
Analysis Step 2.2: Analyze projected changes in climate hazards (events and conditions)
Building on the knowledge of the current context and an analysis of past changes, analysing future climate projections is key to effectively preparing communities to adapt to longer-term climatic changes. This analysis should be based on scientific projections, focus on broad trends, and highlight the uncertainties of future climate projections. It remains a challenge to obtain local climate change projections. However, new methods for “downscaling” global-scale projections into more localised projections are being developed.
Climate change is expected to increase the frequency and severity of extreme weather events, including droughts, floods, cyclones and hurricanes, among others. We can no longer assume that these events will occur as they have done in the past; nor can we assume that communities will face the same hazards as they have in the past. Design of CBA projects must be based on analysis of both current and future climate events, based on available projections.
Changing conditions such as temperatures and rainfall patterns are less dramatic than events such as floods or cyclones, but they can have a serious impact on livelihoods, particularly agricultural-based livelihoods. Analysis of how these climate variables may change in future can support the identification of adaptation strategies that are appropriate to future conditions, or that build in flexibility to deal with uncertainty, recognising that adaptation is a process, not an end.
Reports prepared for the UNFCCC are likely to be a good source of information depending on when they were prepared. As well, various government and non government agencies in country, such as universities and other learning institutions, may have done analysis work on the downscaling of global climate models to the national context. The meteorology department, environment department, UN agencies and universities are potential sources.
Analysis Step 2.3: Solicit community observations of climate change
To complement the scientific information gathered in the previous two steps, and to put it in the local context, it is important to also solicit community observations of climate change. Communities often have a wealth of information on past and current climate trends, including both data and perceptions. Tools in the CVCA Handbook will assist you in gathering this information from communities using tools such as hazard maps (p. 33) and historical timelines (p. 37).
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