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Supporting climate change adaptation using historical climate analysis

Dorward, P., Osbahr, H. ORCID:, Sutcliffe, C. and Mbeche, R. (2020) Supporting climate change adaptation using historical climate analysis. Climate and Development, 12 (5). pp. 469-480. ISSN 1756-5537

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/17565529.2019.1642177


Climate change and variability presents a major challenge for rural communities in developing countries. Bridging organisations have a role in helping align top-down and local perspectives, mediating the communication messages that ultimately shape the effectiveness of adaptation responses. We argue that for any coping or adaptation project a first step should be to determine the nature of the climate norms within the project area in order to ascertain the efficacy of current coping strategies. This paper explores the degree to which development organisations in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania used analysis of local historical climate information in project aims, planning and design. Sixty seven participants, managing 102 community-level climate-related agricultural projects, and three NGO case studies were included. Most projects focused on low-regret options. The majority of respondents’ projects included enhancing farmers’ awareness of climate change and variability as an aim, but only seven percent had used any historical climate information during planning. Instead projects relied on general knowledge or farmers’ perceptions, which can sometimes differ from analysed historical climate information, thus potentially leading to a cycle of reinforcement of perceptions. It is vital that bridging organisations and policy makers be aware of the value of using analysed historical climate information to determine the climate norms (including variability) and to identify what the data shows regarding how the climate is changing. This is essential for planning, consideration with stakeholders, and for example to determine suitability of alternative crops and cultivars or to ensure other relevant environmental factors influencing agricultural production are considered.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of International Development
ID Code:84835
Publisher:Taylor & Francis


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