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California Vulnerability and Adaptation Study

In 2012 CIEE concluded two years of work involving over 120 researchers from seven UC campuses and other institutions. Comprised of over 30 reports, this expansive study of California’s vulnerability to climate change addresses questions like: What do rising sea levels mean for coastal communities? With the vital Sierra snowpack shrinking, can California ensure ample water for homes and for its world-leading agriculture and wine industries? And, as temperatures climb, where is California most at risk for devastating wildfires or public-health threats to our most vulnerable citizens? The results reported below give planners, public-health officials, land-use managers, and others the research-backed basis they need to develop strategies to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Open the folder titles below to access specific reports in our Library.

Summary Report

Our Changing Climate 2012: Vulnerability & Adaptation to the Increasing Risks from Climate Change in California

A full color sixteen page summary report on the Third Assessment from the California Climate Change Center.

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Climate Change Impacts, Vulnerabilities, and Adaptation in the San Francisco Bay Area: A Synthesis of PIER Program Reports and Other Relevant Research

Results show that depending on the vulnerability of human and natural communities, and their abilities to respond to these growing risks through adaptive changes, the San Francisco Bay Area could experience either significant impacts or maintain its resilience in the face of a rapidly changing environment.

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Adaptation

Adaptation Strategies for Agricultural Sustainability in Yolo County, California

This place-based case study in an agricultural county in California’s Central Valley focused on the period of 2010–2050, and dealt with biophysical and socioeconomic issues related to both mitigation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and to adaptation to an uncertain climate.

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Climate Change Adaptations for Local Water Management in the San Francisco Bay Area

Climate change impacts will affect the reliability of water supplies and operations of California’s water supply system. Local water managers can adapt by changing water supply portfolios and operations.

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Climate Vulnerability and Adaptation Study for California: Legal Analysis of Barriers to Adaptation for California’s Water Sector

 

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Community-Based Climate Adaptation Planning: Case Study of Oakland, California

 

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Decision Making Under Uncertainty: An Assessment of Adaptation Strategies and Scenario Development for Resource Managers

This paper contributes an analysis of natural resource management tools for planning for climate change, including a case study on scenario planning in Marin County.

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Identifying and Overcoming Barriers to Climate Change Adaptation in San Francisco Bay: Results from Case Studies

The research goals of this project were to identify the adaptation barriers encountered by local government entities in San Francisco Bay Area, test empirically the robustness and usefulness of a diagnostic framework and draw larger lessons about the adaptation process and the importance of adaptation barriers.

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Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change in California Agriculture

 

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Agriculture

Adaptation Strategies for Agricultural Sustainability in Yolo County, California

This place-based case study in an agricultural county in California’s Central Valley focused on the period of 2010–2050, and dealt with biophysical and socioeconomic issues related to both mitigation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and to adaptation to an uncertain climate.

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Climate Change and the Agricultural Sector in the San Francisco Bay Area: Changes in Viticulture and Rangeland Forage Production Due to Altered Temperature and Precipitation Patterns

 

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Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change in California Agriculture

 

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Biodiversity

Climate Change Impacts on California Vegetation: Physiology, Life History, and Ecosystem Change

Dominant plant species mediate many ecosystem services, including carbon storage, soil retention, and water cycling. One of the uncertainties with climate change effects on terrestrial ecosystems is understanding where transitions in dominant vegetation, often termed state change, will occur.

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Consequences of Climate Change for Native Plants and Conservation

Projections of future species distributions under climate change are possible through models that correlate known species occurrences with observed historical climate, then project this correlation onto scenarios of climate change.

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Future Climate Scenarios for California: Freezing Isoclines, Novel Climates, and Climatic Resilience of California’s Protected Areas

This paper explores several biotically informed analyses of current climates and future climate projections for California, and their implications for biological conservation.

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Identifying Vulnerable Species and Adaptation Strategies in the Southern Sierra of California Using Historical Resurveys

Small mammals have shifted their elevation ranges in the Sierra Nevada. We questioned whether this shift can be linked to changes in habitat distribution, whether changes in population abundance match range dynamics, and how the shift affects predictions of future small mammal distribution.

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Potential Impacts of Climate Change on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in the San Francisco Bay Area

The San Francisco Bay Area contains a rich array of plant and animal biodiversity and an extensive open space network, embedded within a major metropolitan area. Terrestrial habitats in the San Francisco Bay Area support a wide range of ecosystem services, including carbon storage, forage production, enhanced water supply and quality, crop pollination, and outdoor recreation.

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Projected Effects of Future Climates on Freshwater Fishes of California

A methodology is presented that allows systematic evaluation of climate change impacts on freshwater fishes in California (121 native fish taxa and 43 aliens).

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Effects of Climate Change on the Inland Fishes of California: With Emphasis on the San Francisco Estuary Region

This paper: (1) briefly describes the environment of California and its fish fauna, (2) summarizes the projected general effects of climate change on its aquatic environments, (3) discusses likely interactions of climate with other stressors of fish populations, (4) describes possible effects on fishes of the San Francisco Estuary, and (5) suggests elements of a conservation strategy for the native fish fauna, focusing on the San Francisco Estuary.

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Energy

Climate Change Effects on the High-Elevation Hydropower System with Consideration of Warming Impacts on Electricity Demand and Pricing

 

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Hotspots of Climate-Driven Increases in Residential Electricity Demand: A Simulation Exercise Based on Household Level Billing Data for California

This paper provides reduced form estimates of changes in electricity consumption due to increased use of installed cooling equipment under a hotter climate.

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Impacts of Climate Change on San Francisco Bay Area Residential Electricity Consumption: Evidence from Billing Data

This study simulates the impacts of higher temperatures resulting from anthropogenic climate change on residential electricity consumption for the nine San Francisco Bay Area counties.

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Infrastructure

City of Santa Barbara Sea-Level Rise Vulnerability Study

Assesses vulnerability of Santa Barbara to future sea-level rise and related coastal hazards, cliff and bluff erosion, flooding of low-lying areas, and damage to shoreline infrastructure.

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Impacts of Predicted Sea-Level Rise and Extreme Storm Events on the Transportation Infrastructure in the San Francisco Bay Region

 

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The Impacts of Sea Level Rise on the San Francisco Bay

This study includes a detailed analysis of the current population, infrastructure, and property along the San Francisco Bay that are at risk from projected sea level rise if no actions are taken to protect the coast.

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Twenty-First Century Levee Overtopping Projections from inSAR-Derived Subsidence Rates in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, California: 2006-2010

To provide an updated synoptic assessment of vertical land motion rates in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the research team performed synthetic aperture radar interferometry (InSAR) on 35 radar scenes from the Envisat platform acquired from 2006–2010.

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Modeling and Scenarios

Development and Application of Downscaled Hydroclimatic Predictor Variables for Use in Climate Vulnerability and Assessment Studies

This paper outlines the production of 270 meter grid-scale maps for 14 climate and derivative hydrologic variables for a region that encompasses the State of California and all the streams that flow into it.

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Urban Growth in California: Projecting Growth in California (2000-2050) Under Six Alternative Policy Scenarios and Assessing Impacts to Future Dispersal Corridors, Fire Threats, and Climate-Sensitive Agriculture

The research team produced six UPlan model runs that portray the following policies as footprint scenarios to 2050: Business as Usual, Smart Growth, Fire Adaptation, Infill, Conservation of Projected Connectivity for Plant Movement under Climate Change, and Conservation of Vulnerable Agricultural Lands.

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Scenarios to Evaluate Long-Term Wildfire Risk in California: New Methods for Considering Links Between Changing Demography, Land Use, and Climate

This paper describes the development and analysis of over 21,000 scenarios for future residential wildfire risk in California on a 1/8-degree latitude/longitude grid at a monthly time step, using statistical models of wildfire activity and parameterizations of uncertainties related to residential property losses from wildfire.

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Climate Change Scenarios for the San Francisco Region

Six global climate models and two greenhouse emissions scenarios, the medium-high emissions Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES) A2 and the lower emissions SRES B1 were considered. The model simulations were downscaled.

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Public Health and Social Vulnerability

Mapping Climate Change Exposures, Vulnerabilities, and Adaptation to Public Health Risks in the San Francisco Bay and Fresno Regions

This study reviewed first available frameworks for climate change adaptation in the public health arena and the authors propose a conceptual framework with a three-step procedure to assess climate change vulnerabilities.

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Social Vulnerability to Climate Change in California

The researchers developed a new climate vulnerability index to indicate the social vulnerability of a region’s population to climate-related harm.

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Sea Level Rise

City of Santa Barbara Sea-Level Rise Vulnerability Study

Assesses vulnerability of Santa Barbara to future sea-level rise and related coastal hazards, cliff and bluff erosion, flooding of low-lying areas, and damage to shoreline infrastructure.

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Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Scenarios for California Vulnerability and Adaptation Assessment

Uses six global climate models and downscaled output under scenarios B1 and A2 to evaluate physical elements of climate change and sea level rise.

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Coastal Flooding Potential Projections: 2000-2100

The change in flooding potential along the California coast over the twenty-first century was estimated from both ocean wave and sea level rise projections produced from global climate model data.

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Impacts of Predicted Sea-Level Rise and Extreme Storm Events on the Transportation Infrastructure in the San Francisco Bay Region

 

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The Impacts of Sea Level Rise on the San Francisco Bay

This study includes a detailed analysis of the current population, infrastructure, and property along the San Francisco Bay that are at risk from projected sea level rise if no actions are taken to protect the coast.

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Water

Climate Change Adaptations for Local Water Management in the San Francisco Bay Area

Climate change impacts will affect the reliability of water supplies and operations of California’s water supply system. Local water managers can adapt by changing water supply portfolios and operations.

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Climate Change and Water Supply Security: Reconfiguring Groundwater Management to Reduce Drought Vulnerability

This research examined approaches to reducing drought vulnerability, focusing on five water agencies on California’s north and central coast that rely on local and regional sources of water.

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Climate Vulnerability and Adaptation Study for California: Legal Analysis of Barriers to Adaptation for California’s Water Sector

 

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Water and Energy Sector Vulnerability to Climate Warming in the Sierra Nevada: Simulating the Regulated Rivers of California’s West Slope Sierra Nevada

We describe the development and results from an integrated water resource management model encompassing water operations and hydropower generation for the west slope Sierra Nevada spanning the Feather River basin in the north to the Kern River basin in the south at the weekly time step.

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Water and Energy Sector Vulnerability to Climate Warming in the Sierra Nevada: Water Year Classification in Non-Stationary Climates

This paper explores the sensitivity of water indexing methods to climate change scenarios to better understand how water management decisions and allocations will be affected by climate change.

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Wildfire

Fire in Climates of the Future and Recent Past (1911-2099)

We examine a macro-scaled perspective of fire and climate for California and highlight landscapes where sensitivity and exposure to climate change has the potential to induce alteration of future fire activity.

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Scenarios to Evaluate Long-Term Wildfire Risk in California: New Methods for Considering Links Between Changing Demography, Land Use, and Climate

This paper describes the development and analysis of over 21,000 scenarios for future residential wildfire risk in California on a 1/8-degree latitude/longitude grid at a monthly time step, using statistical models of wildfire activity and parameterizations of uncertainties related to residential property losses from wildfire.

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