finding 19.4 : vulnerable-communities-more-stress

Communities that are already the most vulnerable to weather and climate extremes will be stressed even further by more frequent extreme events occurring within an already highly variable climate system.

This finding is from chapter 19 of Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment.

Process for developing key messages: A central component of the assessment process was the Great Plains Regional Climate assessment workshop that was held in August 2011 in Denver, CO, with approximately 40 attendees. The workshop began the process leading to a foundational Technical Input Report (TIR), the Great Plains Regional Climate Assessment Technical Report.5552509e-9af3-46dd-8920-78083bee05bc The TIR consists of 18 chapters assembled by 37 authors representing a wide range of inputs including governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations, tribes, and other entities. The chapter author team engaged in multiple technical discussions via regular teleconferences. These included careful review of the foundational TIRd873710b-8d1f-43fa-bb4f-2ffe216c089c and of approximately 50 additional technical inputs provided by the public, as well as the other published literature, and professional judgment. These discussions were followed by expert deliberation of draft key messages by the authors during an in-person meeting in Kansas City in April 2012, wherein each message was defended before the entire author team prior to the key message being selected for inclusion in the report. These discussions were supported by targeted consultation with additional experts by the lead author of each message, and they were based on criteria that help define “key vulnerabilities”.

Description of evidence base: The key message and supporting text summarize extensive evidence documented in the Technical Input Report.5552509e-9af3-46dd-8920-78083bee05bc Technical inputs (47) on a wide range of topics were also received and reviewed as part of the Federal Register Notice solicitation for public input. Extreme events are documented for the nation (Ch. 2: Our Changing Climate, Key Message 7), and for the region in the Climate Trends and Scenarios for the U.S. National Climate Assessment.994416dc-705b-4063-b8f5-bd3ed21d4a71 There are a few studies documenting the vulnerability of communities in remote locations with sparse infrastructure, limited local services, and aging populations (Ch. 14: Rural Communities),705b3390-35d7-448e-acbb-316dd8f2685a with some areas inhibited by language barriers.c84d113c-3464-4229-b52d-402d9857513e ae6f739c-8a33-4840-a303-fdd4bf929811 be024d51-9e23-4ed7-9d9f-9e5139e80f9f Changes in the tribal communities have been documented on a number of issues.33501980-7b98-48a1-8553-cc260202a311 7c010db7-ea8b-477b-9d27-03aa4e456429 1cfae204-ae66-4189-9ff7-02121d9db729 7fbb768c-d8cf-48a5-88b4-dddb6d254013 4a5bf355-103b-4c82-af94-42090a0e8514

New information and remaining uncertainties: A key issue (uncertainty) is how limited financial resources will be dedicated to adaptation actions and the amount of will and attention that will be paid to decreasing vulnerability and increasing resilience throughout the region. Should the awareness of damage grow great enough, it may overcome the economic incentives for development and change perspectives, allowing for increased adaptive response. But if current trends continue, more vulnerable lands may be lost. Thus the outcome on rural and vulnerable populations is largely unknown.

Assessment of confidence based on evidence: Extensive literature exists on vulnerable populations, limited resources and ability to respond to change. However, because the expected magnitude of changes is beyond previous experience and societal response is unknown, so the overall confidence is high.

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