Climate Change Adaptation

Climate Change Adaptation

The term Climate Change Adaptation refers to the tools and strategies that communities, local governments and entire countries can adopt in order to prepare for the inevitable outcomes brought on by climate change, such as changing temperatures, increased rain, or even forced migration. By developing strategies to cope with these changes, populations are building what’s called “adaptive capacity”. This term comes from Resilience theory text and describes the, “capacity of a system to absorb disturbance and re-organize while undergoing change so as to still retain essentially the same function, structure,... and identity.”  Ambience Data’s devices are allowing governments and businesses all around the world to build their adaptive capacity by providing access to high quality, instantaneous data on a variety of environmental conditions right to their phone.

So what does this mean and how does it work?

This means that cities are learning how to lessen their vulnerability to environmental shocks and also how to bounce back from shocks. This can include any activity that reduces the negative effects of climate change and/or takes advantage of new opportunities that arise due to climate change. For instance, anticipatory actions are those that activities that are taken before a weather event is observed and reactive actions are those that are felt after the weather event has been observed. Over the last several years, the City of Toronto has begun to take measures to make its buildings and infrastructure more resilient to climate change. These actions include:

  • Planting more trees to increase shade and to clean and cool the air

  • Increasing the size of storm sewers and culverts to handle greater volumes of runoff

  • Proactive pruning of trees to reduce damage to property and electrical power lines during wind storms

  • Increasing the inspection and maintenance of culverts on a regular basis and especially after storm events

  • Using rain barrels to reduce runoff and capture rainwater for reuse

  • Installing permeable surfaces (rather than asphalt, for example) to reduce runoff from heavy rainfalls

  • Landscaping with drought-resistant plants

  • Changing the slope of the land at the lot level to direct runoff away from property that can be damaged by excess surface water

  • Installation of basement backflow preventers and window well guards to reduce flooding risks

  • Using cool/reflective materials on the roofs of homes and buildings to reduce the urban heat island effect

  • Changing some city workers' uniforms to lighter colours during the summer months

  • Health programs such as West Nile, Lyme Disease, Shade Policy, Cooling Centres, Smog Alerts and the Air Quality Index


As indicated, these actions involve a lot of planning, monitoring, and changing current systems to become capable of handling the emerging outcomes of climate change. Doing so allows populations to respond and prepare for these shocks as well as giving governments the data they need to develop early warning systems and policies that will protect populations.  

Environmental monitoring, like that provided by Ambience Data’s technology is an invaluable tool when it comes to climate change adaptation. Our devices attach to sensors ranging from air quality to seismic activity and soil nutrient levels to flood prevention.  

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