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Climate Change & Extreme Weather Vulnerability Assessment Framework


Excerpted from Impacts of Climate Variability and Change on Transportation Systems and Infrastructure-Gulf Coast Study, US Department of Transportation, (2008) (GC1), and Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change, America's Climate Choices: Panel on Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change, National Research Council, (2010). (ACC)


Adjustment in natural or human systems to a new or changing environment that exploits beneficial opportunities or moderates negative effects. (ACC)

Adaptive Capacity

The ability of a system to adjust to climate change (including climate variability and extremes) to moderate potential damages, to take advantage of opportunities, or to cope with the consequences. (GC1)


The combination of stress associated with climate-related change (sea level rise, changes in temperature, frequency of severe storms) and the probability, or likelihood, that this stress will affect transportation infrastructure. (GC1)

Extreme Weather Event

An event that is rare within its statistical reference distribution at a particular place. Definitions of "rare" vary, but an extreme weather event would normally be as rare as or rarer than the 10th or 90th percentile. By definition, the characteristics of what is called "extreme weather" may vary from place to place. Extreme weather events may typically include floods and droughts. (GC1)


A capability to anticipate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from significant multi-hazard threats with minimum damage to social well-being, the economy, and the environment. (ACC)


A combination of the magnitude of potential consequence(s) of climate change impacts(s) and the likelihodd that the consequence(s) will occur. (ACC)


The degree to which a system is susceptible to, or unable to cope with, adverse effects of climate change, including climate variability and extremes. Vulnerability is a function of the character, magnitude, and rate of climate variation to which a system is exposed, its sensitivity, and its adaptive capacity. (ACC)

Updated: 03/27/2014
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