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Using RCP-based scenarios in IAV research
The scenarios produced during the parallel phase will include both climate model projections for each of the four RCP forcings and also alternative socio-economic futures. Researchers wishing to use such scenarios for impacts, adaptation and vulnerability studies (as well as groups studying regional and local emissions mitigation) will need to have a means of establishing priorities for the scenarios to be evaluated.

Impacts, adaptation, vulnerability, and mitigation researchers working at the regional scale are commonly faced with the challenge of reconciling scenarios developed from global models with quite different, and often inconsistent, detailed scenarios developed locally. One approach is to develop regional narrative storylines that are consistent with the global storylines but also account for regional characteristics and processes. The advantage of developing regional storylines is that these can subsequently be used for quantifying regional scenarios that would not otherwise be available (or sufficiently reliable) from global scenarios based on IAMs. A crucial element of such exercises is stakeholder participation, which is required to ensure that regional scenarios and storylines are both credible and relevant for local needs. Some of these issues are explored in a recent review of regional storyline development (see WIREs Rounsevell and Metzger paper.)

Creating an IAV “Community of Practice”
The IAV research community is extremely diverse (and still expanding), drawing on disciplines and research traditions including social sciences, economics, engineering, and the natural sciences. No single organizing framework (outside the periodic assessment by IPCC Working Group II) exists to represent its activities. However, a number of recent initiatives have begun to mobilize the IAV community, including:

  • A workshop in January 2009 on Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability (IAV) community coordination, NCAR, Boulder, USA, at which suggestions emerged about key research questions for the community as well as some priority themes for international research and a proposal for an international conference (see workshop pages.)
  • The establishment of a new research programme, entitled the Programme of Research on Climate Change Vulnerability, Impacts and Adaptation (PROVIA), funded by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). PROVIA is conceived as a global umbrella programme for IAV research, offering a platform for identifying key emerging research issues, prioritizing these issues, improving research methodologies, setting standards of practice, serving as a contact point with policy makers and with funding agencies, working with START and other organizations on capacity building, and promoting communication with the scientific community. PROVIA co-sponsors a bi-annual meeting on Adaptation Futures, among other activities. More information on PROVIA can be found on their website. []

These initiatives represent movement towards a more active and coordinated involvement by the IAV community in the planning of IAV research in general, as well as scenario development and application in particular.

Content last modified: 1 May 2014