Adaptation to Compound Climate Risks: A Systematic Global Stocktake

Nicholas P. Simpson, Portia Adade Williams, Katharine J. Mach, Lea Berrang-Ford, Robbert Biesbroek, Marjolijn Haasnoot, Alcade C. Segnon, Donovan Campbell, Justice Issah Musah-Surugu, Elphin Tom Joe, Abraham Marshall Nunbogu, Salma Sabour, Andreas L.S. Meyer, Talbot M Andrews, Chandni Singh, A.R. Siders, Judy Lawrence, Maarten van Aalst, Christopher H. Trisos| 2023


This article provides a stocktake of the adaptation literature between 2013 and 2019 to better understand how adaptation responses affect risk under the particularly challenging conditions of compound climate events. Across 39 countries, 45 response types to compound hazards display anticipatory (9%), reactive (33%) and maladaptive (41%) characteristics, as well as hard (18%) and soft (68%) limits to adaptation. Low income, food insecurity, access to institutional resources and finance are the most prominent of 23 vulnerabilities observed to negatively affect responses. Risk for food security, health, livelihoods and economic outputs are commonly associated risks driving responses. Narrow geographical and sectoral foci of the literature highlight important conceptual, sectoral and geographic areas for future research to better understand the way responses shape risk. When responses are integrated within climate risk assessment and management there is greater potential to advance the urgency of response and safeguards for the most vulnerable.