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Adaptation and Resilience



Adaptation refers to adjustments in ecological, social, or economic systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli and their effects or impacts. It refers to changes in processes, practices, and structures to moderate potential damages or to benefit from opportunities associated with climate change. In simple terms, countries and communities need to develop adaptation solution and implement action to respond to the impacts of climate change that are already happening, as well as prepare for future impacts.

United Nations Climate Change


As the world responds, it must build back better. We can return to the old way of doing things or we can get on a new path, one that makes human society more resilient, more equitable, healthier, and stronger. These goals are interconnected and investments in the recovery should address multiple challenges. We must seize the opportunity to transform how we understand, plan, finance, and respond to risks. We must integrate climate resilience into decisions at all levels of government and by businesses, communities, and households, with particular focus on resilience in infrastructure and financial decisions. Innovative investment in research and development and finance can help countries deliver new solutions to both the pandemic and climate crises. UN Climate Statement, July 2020


International research partnerships for adaptation and resilience

Warwick's researchers have a strong tradition of working in partnership with colleagues and communities in the global South, addressing issues related to governance, ethics and access to data in order to build resilience to climate change. Recognising that countries in the global South are already being affected by climate change, we explore not just the social but the ethical and distributional impact of adaptation measures. We explore how data can be produced in and used by marginalised communities in low- and middle-income countries to increase understanding of risk at community level, transforming data practices, improving knowledge among a diverse range of stakeholders and enhancing capacity to promote equitable resilience. And we look at psychological responses to major weather events, advancing knowledge that can inform better communication practice in disaster risk response.

We have highlighted here a few examples.

Ethics in climate and development, Department of Politics and International Studies

Researchers in this stream place ethics and justice at the core of international development and adaptation to climate change. They collaborate with research and policy partners around the world to confront pressing challenges in international development. Led by Dr Keith Hyams, the team has expertise in adaptation to climate change in both the Global South and the Global North.

They have a strong track record in both philosophical and social science approaches to ethics and justice, combining theoretical and empirical research.

Their work encompasses adaptation to climate change, resilience, health, the rights of Indigenous Peoples, urban violence, and the politics of self-determination. Find out more about this research group.

Drought risk in a changing climate, Centre for Cultural and Media Policy Studies

Professor Joanne Garde-Hansen was co-investigator with Professor Lindsey McEwen (University of the West of England) in the UKRI Natural Environment Research Council funded project: Developing a Drought Narrative Resource in a Multi-Stakeholder Decision-Making Utility for Drought Risk Management: DRY (Drought Risk and You).

The DRY project was founded in April 2014, with an aim to develop an easy-to-use, evidence-based resource to inform decision-making for drought risk management in the UK over a four year period. The project spans seven catchment areas in England, Wales and Scotland to reflect different hydrological, socio-economic and cultural contexts in the UK. It takes a unique approach because it draws together information from multiple perspectives on drought science, stakeholder engagement, citizen science and narrative storytelling to better understand drought risks, while other studies have focused on mathematical modelling of drought risk. A key part of this is using different types of data together to build a better picture of drought risk in the UK. In this project, ‘data’ can mean statistics derived from a hydrological model to stories, media and images collected from a river catchment area.

Linked to her extensive work on flooding and drought, Professor Garde-Hansen collaborated with Coventry University and a local artist in Coventry to create the Flow, Flora and Fauna project as part of Coventry City of Culture. This project explored how we can capture the river in ways that will generate conversation and conservation, focused on the flow, flora and fauna of the River Sherbourne, at the point in Spon End where it slips beneath the city. The team found that it generated conversations, public engagement and a desire to improve the water quality and surrounding landscape. Read more about this project.

Building sustainable, flood resilient communities in Brazil, Institute for Global Sustainable Development

Creating sustainable, flood resilient communities is vital in parts of the world that are prone to flooding. A key part of flood resilience lies in flood risk data and understanding how it is produced. Waterproofing Data is a project run by the University of Warwick’s Professor João Porto de Albuquerque involving researchers from Brazil, Germany and the UK.

Flood risk and the collection of data

The project is examining the governance of flood risks, with a focus on social and cultural aspects of data practices. “Typically, data flows up from local levels to scientific centres of expertise, and then flood-related alerts and interventions flow back down through local governments and into communities. Rethinking how flood data is produced, and how it flows, can help build sustainable, flood resilient communities” explains Professor Porto de Albuquerque.

A key aim of the project is to investigate how data flows from Brazil's National Disaster Monitoring and Alerts agency (CEMADEN), which creates and monitors existing flood data, to local government. This involves gathering information on existing data practices, including conducting interviews and observations. The research is helping to ascertain data usage over time, and helping researchers understand how and why different decision-makers use different data. The resulting ‘data diaries’ highlight existing data practices used by CEMADEN and local government for monitoring and responding to floods.

Hear Professor Porto de Albuquerque talk about the Waterproofing Data project below.

Using 'distributional downscaling' to predict the effects of climate change on extreme weather events, Department of Computer Science

Professor Yulan He from the Department for Computer Science and Dr Ritabrata Dutta from the Department of Statistics are working with colleagues at the Alan Turing Institute on this project exploring modelling to predict extreme weather.

State-of-the-art climate models typically run with horizontal resolutions of 50-100km, which is not sufficient to represent the impact of clouds or small-scale topography on local precipitation, thus making it impossible to predict local details of heavy precipitation events such as the 2013-14 UK winter floods in England and Wales. As the effects of climate change become more evident, it will be crucial to predict and assess the impact of extreme weather events with return times of 100 years or more, with regional accuracy to give civil authorities the best opportunity to prepare emergency response plans.

The weather/climate variables (eg. temperature, air velocity, air pressure etc.) can be seen as a vector valued variable W(x, t), evolving over three-dimensional space x and time t. Due to the significant cost of global climate model (GCM) simulations, climate predictions by GCMs are done using a coarse-resolution grid. Given these coarse-grained predictions of W only occur at n-many grid points of the coarse-grid on Earth’s surface by GCMs at a time-point, to assess the effects at a regional level the values of W need to be predicted at a finer spatial resolution based on some vector-valued predictor function p(x) (eg. topology, tree cover, water body etc.).

As these extreme climate events are the events from the tail of the distributions of W, this project proposes to predict the distribution of W for all values of x using techniques from distribution regression, given m number of samples from the distributions of W at each of the nth points of the coarse-grid. This is called distributional downscaling as it involves predicting probability distributions rather than some statistics of the distribution.

Key UN Sustainable Development Goals in this theme are:


Researcher Department

Research Details

Soroush Abolfathi

School of Engineering

Soroush is currently the lead investigator on:

'Enhancing Mangrove-Based Resilience Against Coastal Erosion and Storm Surges in Malaysia', GCRF, Project Start Date 15-01-2020 - Project End Date 30-01-2021

'Developing Innovative and Transdisciplinary Tools for Community-driven Holistic solutions to target Plastic Waste', GCRF, Project Start Date 15-01-2020 - Project End Date 30-01-2021

He is part of Blu Hope Campaign aiming to protect biodiversity in the Coral Triangle region in Southeast Asia. The outcomes of his GCRF projects will provide key data and evidence to facilitate science-led decisions and legislations to protect Coral Triangle and the wider Southeast Asia environment. 

Soroush co-investigator on:

  • 'DITCh Plastic: Digital Innovations for Transitioning to a Circular plastic Economy', EPSRC, Project Start Date 01-05-2020 - Project End Date 01-05-2021- 
  • PATHWAYS and evolution of pollutants: Interactions between physical controlling effects, microbial community composition, and pollutant biodegradation, NERC, Project Start Date 30-01-2018 - Project End Date 29-01-2021

  • ECOSTRUCTURE: Climate Change Adaption through Ecologically Sensitive Coastal Infrastructure, 2014 - 2020 INTERREG V-A United Kingdom - Ireland (Ireland - Wales), Project Start Date 01-03-2017 - Project End Date 30-04-2021 -


Vangelis Pitidis

Institute for Global Sustainable Development

Research Assistant: Waterproofing Data: engaging stakeholders in sustainable flood risk governance for urban resilience.


Internal Co-Investigator: Accelerating the impact of citizen-generated data for improving the monitoring and management of catastrophic flooding



  • Coaffee J., de Albuquerque J.P., Pitidis V. (2021) Risk and Resilience Management in Coproduction In: Loeffler E., Bovaird T. (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of Co-Production of Public Services and Outcomes. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. Available at:
  • Pitidis V. and Coaffee J. (2020), Catalysing governance transformations through urban resilience implementation: The case of Thessaloniki, Greece, Cities, 107, ISSN 0264-2751 Available at: (IF:4.802)
  • Pitidis, V., Tapete, D., Coaffee, J., Kapetas, L., & Albuquerque, J. P. (2018). Understanding the Implementation Challenges of Urban Resilience Policies: Investigating the Influence of Urban Geological Risk in Thessaloniki, Greece. Sustainability, 10 (10), 3573. Available at: (IF: 2.576)



  • IM928 Data Risk and Resilience, a postgraduate module with 25 students
  • IL913 Urban Resilience, Disasters and Data, a postgraduate module with 23 students, part of the Humanitarian Engineering MSc programme.
  • IM913 Spatial Methods and Practice in Urban Science

Jonathan Pearson

School of Engineering

  • 2017-2021: EU ECOSTRUCTURE: Climate Change Adaption through Ecologically Sensitive Coastal Infrastructure: European Regional Development Fund (ERDF): (Co-I)
  • 2017: Lloyd’s Register Foundation / Arup Joint Programme on Resilience Engineering “Flood Resilience: Consolidating knowledge between and within critical infrastructure sectors”
  • 2016: Royal Academy of Engineering: / The Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship “Coastal flood risks under extreme events: Creating resilience through retrofitting”
  • 2016: British Council: Newton – Al-Farabi Partnership Programme grant, entitled “UK-Kazakhstan cooperation on mitigating the effects of climate and anthropogenic changes: Disaster Management and Emergency Response to flooding”

Marco Haenssgen

Global Sustainable Development

Funded research projects:

· 10/21 – 09/23 Activity Spaces and Household Exclusion from Food Environments (Thailand ∙ Lao PDR)

· 01/20 – 07/21 Exploring behavioural spill-overs in a nationwide agricultural insurance field experiment in Thailand (Thailand); Institute of Advanced Study & Warwick Interdisciplinary Centre for International Development

· 12/19 – 07/21 Dynamism of Land Use and Livelihood Strategies Among Highland Ethnic Minorities (Thailand)

· 01/19 – 07/19 Protected Areas and People: Perceived wisdoms surrounding natural resource management (Cambodia)



· Haenssgen, MJ, Savage, J, Yeboah, G, Charoenboon, N & Srenh, S. (under review). In a network of lines that intersect: the socio-economic development impact of marine resource management and conservation in Southeast Asia


Academic Interest:

· Livelihood change, activity spaces (interactions between administrative, community, and natural systems), human behaviour and adaptation strategies, cross-domain spillovers (e.g. climate impacts on health behaviour)



· GD204/209/212 Health and Sustainable Development: critical analysis of global health including topics of planetary health, mental health impacts of climate change, and human behaviour as response to contextual (e.g. climate/environmental) change

Keith Hyams

Politics & International Studies

Research Projects Involved with:

  • 2020- 2022, UKRI GCRF/Newton Fund, The COVID Observatories: Monitoring the Interaction of Pandemics, Climate Risks, and Food Systems among the World’s most Disadvantaged Communities’, Co-Investigator.
  • 2020-2022, AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund, 'Inserting Ethics into Adaptation and Resilience Policy', Principal Investigator.
  • 2020-2022, Royal Academy of Engineering, 'New Approaches to Equitable Resilience' Principal Investigator.
  • 2019-2022, ESRC Global Challenges Research Fund, 'Challenging Inequalities: An Indo-European Perspective', Co-Investigator
  • 2019-2021, ESRC Global Challenges Research Fund, 'Urban Violence & Climate Change Network', Network Member
  • 2017-2022, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, ‘Climate Change and Indigenous Food Security’, Co-Investigator
  • 2019-2020, British Academy Knowledge Frontiers, ‘Tackling Climate-Related Health Risks in Urban Slums: an interdisciplinary analysis of the challenge of integrating local and scientific knowledges’, Principal Investigator



  • 'Addressing Multi-Dimensional Injustice in Indigenous Adaptation: The Case of Uganda's Batwa Community' (with Poshendra Satyal and Morten Byskov), Climate and Development, OnlineFirst at
  • 'Indigenous Peoples and Climate Justice in the Arctic', (with James Ford, Shaugn Coggins, and others), Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, in press 'An Agenda for Ethics and Justice in Climate Adaptation', (with Morten Byskov and others), Climate and Development 13
  • (2021): 1-9 'Mapping Narratives of Urban Resilience in the Global South', (with Maud Borie, Mark Pelling, and Gina Ziervogel), Global Environmental Change 54
  • (2019): 203-213 'Inserting Rights and Justice into Urban Resilience: a Focus on Everyday Risk', (with Gina Ziervogel, Mark Pelling, et al.) Environment and Urbanisation 29
  • (2017): 123-138 'Climate Justice and Energy: Applying International Principles to UK Residential Energy Policy', (with Tina Fawcett and Ruth Mayne) Local Environment 22

(2017): 393-409 ‘The Ethics of Carbon Offsetting’, (with Tina Fawcett) Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change 4


Forthcoming relevant publications:

  • Vulnerable Communities and Political Representation in Climate Policy and Practice, (with Morten Byskov) special issue of Ethics and International Affairs
  • 'Equity and justice in climate adaptation literature' (with Lea Berrang-Ford, Shaugn Coggins, and others)
  • 'Tackling Climate-Related Health Risks in Urban Slums: An Ethical Approach' (with Morten Byskov and Oyinlola Oyebode)
  • ‘Who Should Represent Future Generations in Climate Planning?’, (with Morten Byskov)
  • ‘Epistemic Injustice in Climate Adaptation’ (with Morten Byskov)

Robin Goodwin

Department of Psychology


  • We have published on effective communication and psychological response to Hurricane Sandy and Typhoon Haiyan, two major weather events, and broader topics on resilience on natural threats (e.g. a Leverhulme-sponsored project on the Great East Japan Earthquake).



  • Goodwin, R., Sugiyama, K., Sun, S., Takahashi, T., & Aida, J. (2020).Trajectories of distress following the Great East Japan Earthquake: a multi-wave prospective study. Clinical Psychological Science
  • Goodwin, R., Sugiyama, K., Sun, S., Jun, A., & Ben-Ezra, M. (2019). Distress six years after the Great Earthquake: Two, Multi-Level Prospective Analyses. British Journal of Psychiatry

Bo Chen

Warwick Business School

Sustainability and Closed-Loop Supply Chain Coordination This is a Ph.D. research project with (2021 to 2025) to study sustainability and closed-loop supply chain coordination in the pharmaceutical sector with dynamic game-theoretic analysis.

Ritabrata Dutta


Summary of Work

With the effects of climate change becoming more evident, it is becoming more important to predict and assess the impact of extreme climate events with return times of 100 years or more with regional accuracy to give civil authorities the best opportunity to prepare emergency response plans. Unfortunately, there are substantial shortcomings in the ability to predict precipitation at regional level. This is mainly caused by climate models having insufficient resolution. State-of-the-art global climate models (GCM) typically run with horizontal resolutions of 50-100 kilometres. Another serious shortcoming of these climate models is in providing probabilistic prediction, which is rather crucial for emergency preparedness as this provides us with a quantification of uncertainty in regional level (e.g.. for flood prediction).


To address these issues, our work presents two solution:


(1) A statistical model using compound Poisson distribution, spatio-temporal modelling and Bayesian inference provides rigorous uncertainty quantification in addition to rainfall prediction. Pre-print of this work can be found here: “High-resolution probabilistic rainfall prediction in distant future”,


(2) A neural network based model TRUNET to predict rainfall at high-resolution using low-resolution output of climate models, which outperforms expensive predictions derived from global climate model. Pre-print of this work can be found here: “TRU-NET: A Deep Learning Approach to High Resolution Prediction of Rainfall.”


This work is funded by Alan Turing Institute and EPSRC.


Gary Bending

Life Sciences


Extreme rainfall: Unravelling the importance of new climate-rhizosphere feedbacks across contrasting land use systems. NERC 2017-2019.



Relevant papers from last 6 years below; topics are related to land use change and C mitigation, use of bioachar to sequester C, effects of extreme weather on ecosystems, bioenergy crops to replace fossil fuels, replacement of fertilisers with biofertilisers


  • Norton, B., Bending, G.D., Clark, R., Corstanje, R., Dunnett, N., Evans, K., Grafius, D., Gravestock, E., Grice, S., Harris, J., Hilton, S., Hoyle, H., Lim, E., Mercer, T., Pawlett, M., Prescott, O., Richards, J.; Southon, G., Warren, P. Urban meadows as an alternative to short mown grassland: effects of composition and height on biodiversity. Ecological Applications 29, e01946.
  • Barnes, Christopher J., van der Gast, Christopher J., McNamara, Niall P., Rowe, Rebecca, Bending, G. D., 2018. Extreme rainfall affects assembly of the root-associated fungal community. New Phytologist, 220 (4), pp. 1172-1184
  • Gosling P., van der Gast C., Bending, G.D. (2017) Converting highly productive arable cropland in Europe to grassland – a poor candidate for carbon sequestration. Scientific reports 7, 10493.
  • Elias, Dafydd M. O., Rowe, Rebecca L., Pereira, M. Glória, Stott, Andrew W., Barnes, Christopher J., Bending, G. D., McNamara, Niall P., 2017. Functional differences in the microbial processing of recent assimilates under two contrasting perennial bioenergy plantations. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 114, pp. 248-262
  • Barnes, Christopher J., Burns, Caitlin A., van der Gast, Christopher J., McNamara, Niall P., Bending, G. D., 2016. Spatio-temporal variation of core and satellite arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus communities in Miscanthus giganteus. Frontiers in Microbiology, 7



Taught modules which deal with this: lectures in year 3 BSc Environmental Science and Management and MSc module Soils and the Environment.



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