Asia is a hotspot of climate change impacts and disasters and one of the most highly vulnerable regions in the world. Achieving sustainable development entails climate change adaptation and mitigation and the Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research, APN, is committed to helping the region address the challenges brought about by climate change. This is done by supporting research and capacity development activities that facilitate science-based decision- and policy-making.
Knowledge base in the region covering new climate information, policy gaps, and lessons learned are crucial and should be widely disseminated particularly to practitioners and policymakers. In this regard, a Special Issue “Climate Change Impacts, Vulnerability and Adaptation: Asian Perspective” that highlights findings of APN projects was recently published with Dr Sangam Shrestha (AIT), Dr Linda Anne Stevenson (APN), Dr Rajib Shaw (Keio University) and Dr Juan Pulhin (UPLB) as editors.
We hope that these articles, grouped below into three themes and a synthesis, are useful to support the formulation of adaptation policies to offset the negative impacts of climate change on natural and human systems, add value to the scientific literature, and help shape local, regional and global agendas on climate change.
Indian Ocean: Different El Niño events dramatically affect sea surface salinity
A study found that different types of El Niño events present dramatically different effects on the interannual variability of sea surface salinity over the central equatorial Indian Ocean in the boreal autumn. Transport of thermal energy through wind-driven anomalous zonal advection plays an important role in the changes in sea surface salinity.
Yue, W., Lin, L., & Xiaotong, Z. (2020). Influence of El Niño events on sea surface salinity over the central equatorial Indian Ocean. Environmental Research, 182, 109097. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2019.109097
Cambodia: Adaptive measures reduce climate impacts on micro businesses
Severe weather bringing typhoons and flooding increases risk for businesses and is a burden for many entrepreneurs especially micro business holders. Based on a case study on tourism and hospitality sectors in Kratie, Cambodia, micro business holders cope with climate impacts by adopting temporary and reactive responses rather than long-term systematic measures.
Ngin, C., Chhom, C., & Neef, A. (2020). Climate change impacts and disaster resilience among micro businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector: The case of Kratie, Cambodia. Environmental Research, 186, 109557. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2020.109557
Viet Nam: Future land use can hinder groundwater recharge
Groundwater as an important but vulnerable resource is impacted by major changes in land use due to population growth, industry expansion, and urbanization. In Ho Chi Minh City, there is potential for groundwater recharge by up to 15% annually under the “Low Urbanization” scenario. While under the “High Urbanization” scenario, the average annual groundwater recharge can be cut by more than half.
Adhikari, R. K., Mohanasundaram, S., & Shrestha, S. (2020). Impacts of land-use changes on the groundwater recharge in the Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam. Environmental Research, 185, 109440. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2020.109440
Nepal: Climate models predict future water availability
Water supply in mountainous regions depend on the melting of snowpack to provide surface water for consumption of communities. A research in Karnali River Basin (KRB), Nepal supported by the development of CORDEX climate models paved the way for the understanding of future water availability under different climate scenarios. Results suggest that temperature, precipitation and mean annual river discharge are likely to increase in the future.
Dahal, P., Shrestha, M. L., Panthi, J., & Pradhananga, D. (2020). Modeling the future impacts of climate change on water availability in the Karnali River Basin of Nepal Himalaya. Environmental Research, 185, 109430. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2020.109430
Bhutan and India: Effective agricultural waste management through local-scale smart solutions
This study shows that agro-biomass burning by removing and re-applying waste is a climate adaptive strategy for crop residue waste management that has mitigation benefits. Some 2700 farmers in India and Bhutan participated and are implementing the new practice that offers simple solutions to use agricultural waste to enhance crop productivity, improve air quality and reduce emissions.
Dey, D., Gyeltshen, T., Aich, A., Naskar, M., & Roy, A. (2020). Climate adaptive crop-residue management for soil-function improvement; recommendations from field interventions at two agro-ecological zones in South Asia. Environmental Research, 183, 109164. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2020.109164
Thailand: Assessment framework fosters practical solutions for water security
A generic city-scale water security assessment framework was developed with 5 dimensions, 12 indicators, and a set of potential variables. The framework was employed to assess water security in Bangkok. Its additional uniqueness is the ability to capture site-specific nuance. This water security assessment approach is expected to help implement climate change adaptation initiatives in Thailand.
Babel, M. S., Shinde, V. R., Sharma, D., & Dang, N. M. (2020). Measuring water security: A vital step for climate change adaptation. Environmental Research, 185, 109400. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2020.109400
Cambodia: Simple assessment tools empower communities to build resilience
Few resilience assessment frameworks are simple enough for communities not only to build resilience, but to have ownership in their adaptation efforts. This study shows that simple assessment tools can identify changes in resilience, and further highlights that sustained resilience building also requires community development.
Jacobson, C. (2020). Community climate resilience in Cambodia. Environmental Research, 186, 109512. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2020.109512
Philippines: Institutional resilience as cornerstone to effective climate-adaptive action
Building institutional resilience of local governments in the Philippines by engaging key actors to formulate local climate change and disaster risk action plans was the study’s key focus. Using a shared learning process to strengthen partnerships, the study determined that the key to institutional capacity building is competency development among local governments as frontline agencies in climate adaptation.
Grefalda, L. B., Pulhin, J. M., Tapia, M. A., Anacio, D. B., Luna, C. C., Sabino, L. L., . . . Inoue, M. (2020). Building institutional resilience in the context of climate change in Aurora, Philippines. Environmental Research, 186, 109584. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2020.109584
Nepal: A flexible assessment toolkit tested for rural communities
A city-based adaptation toolkit was applied in the Himalayan rural enclave of Ramgad to determine its versatility in the rural context. The toolkit proved to be simple and versatile in assessing the vulnerability and adaptive capacity of communities in rural Himalaya. While flexible, as urban and rural adaptive capacity needs differ, the toolkit could be further modified to increase its effectiveness in the rural context.
Heath, L. C., Tiwari, P., Sadhukhan, B., Tiwari, S., Chapagain, P., Xu, T., . . . Yan, J. (2020). Building climate change resilience by using a versatile toolkit for local governments and communities in rural Himalaya. Environmental Research, 109636. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2020.109636
China: Climate change impacts all: Health protection policies a must for labor workers
A novel study explored the efficacy of a policy in Guangzhou, China (2012) to protect occupational health in hot weather. A time series analysis quantified changes in occupational injuries and insurance payouts after policy implementation. The effectiveness of the policy suggests the necessity for decision makers to formulate similar policies as cost-effective climate adaptation strategies that protect labor workers.
Su, Y., Cheng, L., Cai, W., Lee, J. K. W., Zhong, S., Chen, S., … & Huang, C. (2020). Evaluating the effectiveness of laborer protection policy on occupational injuries caused by extreme heat in a large subtropical city of China. Environmental research, 186, 109532. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2020.109532
Nepal: Mapping groundwater resiliency under climate scenarios
A groundwater resiliency map for Kathmandu Valley was developed based on a multi-scenario analysis of climate change impacts on groundwater resources. The study offers insights for the formulation and implementation of adaptation strategies to offset negative impacts of climate change on groundwater resources in Kathmandu Valley.
Shrestha, S., Neupane, S., Mohanasundaram, S., & Pandey, V. P. (2020). Mapping groundwater resiliency under climate change scenarios: A case study of Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. Environmental Research, 183, 109149. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2020.109149
Viet Nam: Integrated approaches to better predict vulnerability to dengue
A novel approach combining dengue vulnerability maps and time-series modelling was used to predict vulnerability to dengue over the Mekong Delta Region. This integrated geospatial data approach seems to be an effective tool to support the public health sector in assessing potential increase in vulnerability to dengue in the context of climate change.
Pham, N. T., Nguyen, C. T., & Vu, H. H. (2020). Assessing and modelling vulnerability to dengue in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam by geospatial and time-series approaches. Environmental Research, 186, 109545. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2020.109545
Thailand: Heat stress and human health in high-density urban areas
A study involving 505 respondents living in the urban area of Bangkok reveals that urban populations living in high-density areas with less green open space were more likely to experience heat stress, and as a result, adverse health and well-being outcomes.
Arifwidodo, S. D., & Chandrasiri, O. (2020). Urban heat stress and human health in Bangkok, Thailand. Environmental Research, 185, 109398. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2020.109398
Southeast Asia: Forecasting extreme rainfall using multi-model regional projections
Future changes of precipitation extremes in Southeast Asia for the end of the 21st century were examined using outputs from the CORDEX-SEA simulation experiments. Results show a dry tendency over the maritime continent, and increasing extreme rainfall frequency and intensity over mainland Indo-China.
Supari, Tangang, F., Juneng, L., Cruz, F., Chung, J. X., Ngai, S. T., . . . Sopaheluwakan, A. (2020). Multi-model projections of precipitation extremes in Southeast Asia based on CORDEX-Southeast Asia simulations. Environmental Research, 184, 109350. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2020.109350
Asia: APN synthesizes its climate change research efforts in Asia
A knowledge synthesis of climate change efforts in Asia suggests there are 115 distinct and relevant projects in Southeast Asia, South Asia and Temperate East Asia, with many asserting issues around climate adaptation and mitigation, ecosystems and biodiversity, water-food-energy nexus, sustainable waste management, and climate education.
Uchiyama, C., Stevenson, L. A., & Tandoko, E. (2020). Climate Change Research in Asia: A knowledge synthesis of Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research (2013-2018). Environmental Research, 188, 109635. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2020.109635