Photo: Flooding on Main and Water Streets (1911), Black River Falls, WI.
Taken from the Wisconsin Historical Society Archives (WHI-29419).

The mission of WICCI is to help Wisconsin adapt to climate change.

Adaptation is a complicated topic. In general terms, adaptation is any sort of adjustment in human or natural systems that helps those systems survive changing conditions or become better suited to them. Adaptation to climate change may involve both human and natural systems, or overlaps between the two.

In some cases, adaptation is about dealing with potential harms, such as summer heat waves. In other cases, adaptation is about taking advantage of potential benefits. Often, benefits and harms will come mixed in a package that cannot be easily separated.

The role of the Adaptation Working Group is to explore these and other aspects of adaptation. Our goal is to help other working groups and parts of WICCI to apply adaptation concepts in their own topic areas.

Goals & Objective

The Adaptation Working Group’s mission is to support other elements of WICCI by providing a suggested general framework on climate change adaptation. That framework is contained in a March 9, 2010 memorandum to working groups. It briefly addresses the meaning of adaptation; types and forms of adaptation; and essential questions to consider in assessing climate change adaptation issues and strategies.

Three of the group’s goals are related to this framework:

  • Expand WICCI members’ understandings of the nature of adaptation and the range of adaptation strategies available.
  • Clarify implicit assumptions about adaptation processes on the part of WICCI members and products.
  • Provide a written summary of adaptation concepts to guide working group members in developing adaptation strategies appropriate to the vulnerabilities identified by these groups.

The group’s remaining two goals relate to the first adaptive assessment report itself. As part of the report-writing process, the Adaptation Working Group will comment on and look for commonalities among the adaptation strategies identified by the other working groups.

Supporting Role

The Adaptation Working Group is unlike other working groups. Its role is primarily to provide support to other groups and to the Science Council. This includes making groups aware of issues in the adaptation literature; suggesting definitions and concepts to other groups; and helping the managing editor of the assessment report to integrate adaptation issues into the report.

Because the Adaptation Working Group is focused on the first adaptive assessment report, the group’s primary mission will end on completion of that report. At that time, the group will make a recommendation regarding continuing support on adaptation issues for consideration by the WICCI Science Council.

Back to top

More Information

For more information see the following:

  • The Adaptation Working Group charter
  • The group’s March 9, 2010 memorandum to working groups on adaptation issues
  • Co-chair Walker’s personal blog on adaptation issues: acclimatize


Please contact David Liebl for more information about the Adaptation Working Group.


Back to top