Assessing Vulnerabilities as A Step Toward Climate Change Induced Hazard Preparedness

Assessing Vulnerabilities as A Step Toward Climate Change Induced Hazard Preparedness

Hardy Pundt Andrea Heilmann Martin Scheinert 

Harz University of Applied Sciences, Wernigerode, Germany

30 June 2017
| Citation



Increasingly, the consequences of climate change are recognized not only on a national, but also on the regional and local levels. More and more local administrations ask if and which measures should be implemented to be prepared concerning climate change induced hazards, such as flooding, soil erosion, or drought and heat periods in rural and/or urban environments.

Within the framework of a project carried out between 2013 and 2016, a local climate change adaptation strategy has been developed in a pilot region in middle Europe. Taking into account as many stakeholders, or actors from different sectors as possible, measures to adapt to climate change were defined based on the previous assessment of specific vulnerabilities. However, vulnerability assessment has been supported by the analysis of vast amount of spatial datasets using online geographic information services that were implemented as part of the project. Based on such technologies, as well as a web-based open forum, actors and the public were enabled to participate actively in the vulnerability assessment and especially concerning the definition of climate change adaptation measures. The participation process under explicit consideration of diverse relevant actors has lead to improved acceptance, and therefore more sustainable decisions about measures.

The benefits resulting from using open participation tools, including geographic information technologies and communication support, to identify and evaluate vulnerabilities will be discussed. This is linked to the goals of a follow-up project that starts in 2017, called ‘BebeR’, in which a special focus is on soil erosion due to increasing heavy rainfall events accompanied by flooding. The computer based support during the prioritization and implementation of measures to mitigate potential threats will be considered and conclusions be drawn.


climate change adaptation, GIS, hazard preparedness, participation, vulnerability


[1] Sotiropoulou, A.M., Alexandridis, T., Bilas, G., Karapetsas, N., Tzellou, A., Silleos, N. & Misopolinos, N., A user friendly GIS model for the estimation of erosion risk in agricultural land using the USLE. In: Proceeding of the International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies for Sustainable Agri-production and Environment, eds M. Salampasis & A. Matopoulos, pp. 795–801, 2011.

[2] Wegehenkel, M., Heinrich, U., Jochheim, H., Kersebaum K.C. & Röber, K., Evaluation of three different regional climate change scenarios for the application of a water balance model in a mesoscale catchment in Northeast Germany. Advances in Geosciences, 27, pp. 57–64, 2010.

[3] Schmidt, C., Klimaanpassung auf Regionaler Ebene am Beispiel der Region Westsachsen und Oberlausitz-Niederschlesien. In: Lehr- und Forschungsgebiet Landschaftsplanung der Techn. Univ. Dresden eds, Klimaanpassungsstrategien in der Landschaftsund Raumplanung, Band 2.

[4] NSERL (National Soil Erosion Laboratory, Purdue University Indiana), 2017. Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation, Version 2 (RUSLE2), available at: (accessed 23 January 2017).

[5] Beskow, S., Mello, C.R. & Norton, L.D., Soil erosion prediction in the Grande River Basin, Brazil using distributed modeling. CATENA, 79(1), pp. 49–59, 2009.

[6] Biswas, H., Raizada1, A., Mandal, D., Kumar, S., Srinivas, S. & Mishra, P.K., Identification of areas vulnerable to soil erosion risk in India using GIS methods. Solid Earth, 6(4), 1247–1257, 2015.

[7] Durães, M.F. & Mello, C.R., Groundwater recharge behavior based on surface runoff hydrographs in two basins of the Minas Gerais State. Revista Ambiente & Água, 8(2), pp. 1–10, 2013.

[8] Mello, C.R., Viola, M.R., Beskow, S. & Norton, L.D., Multivariate models for annual rainfall erosivity in Brazil. Geoderma, 202–203, pp. 88–102, 2013.

[9] Routschek, A., Auswirkungen des Klimawandels auf die Bodenerosion durch Wasser, Schriftenreihe des LfULG, Heft 29.

[10] Pradhan, B., Chaudhari, A., Adinarayana, J. & Buchroithner, M.F., Soil erosion assessment and its correlation with landslide events using remote sensing data and GIS: a case study at Penang Island, Malaysia. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 184(2), pp. 715–727, 2012.

[11] Reinstorf, F. & Köhn, J., Ursachenermittlung und Maßnahmenplanung zur Vermeidung von Bodenerosion im Einzugsgebiet des Regenbeeks, Landkreis Mansfeld-Südharz, Project Report, Univ. Appl. Sciences Magdeburg-Stendal, 2015.

[12] Scheinert, M., Pundt, H. & Heilmann, A., Climate change adaptation and interactive participation of stakeholders - first Results of the Project “KLIMPASS-AKTIV”. In: J. Marx Gómez, M. Sonnenschein, U. Vogel, A. Winter, B. Rapp & N. Giesen, eds. EnviroInfo 2014, 28th Internatonal Conference on Informatics for Environmental Protection. BIS-Verlag, Oldenburg, pp. 181–188, 2014.

[13] Brennan, J., Heilmann, A. & Pundt, H., An information systems approach to developing adaptation strategies. Proceeding of the European, Mediterranean & Middle Eastern Conference on Information Systems 2012, EMCIS2012, Munich, Germany, pp. 231–241, 2012.

[14] Scheuer, S., Haase, D. & Meyer, V., Exploring multicriteria flood vulnerability by integrating economic, social and ecological dimensions of flood risk and coping capacity - from a starting point view towards an end point view of vulnerability. Natural Hazards, 58(2), pp. 731–751.

[15] Available at: Green Paper Citizen Science Strategy 2020 for Germany, 2016.