1.) Managing Uncertainties

The information and climate projections in this report are grounded in sound scientific research but characterized by information with various degrees of uncertainty. The pace, timing, and levels of impact reported throughout are subject to change based on a collection of factors that are essentially unpredictable, including the way the global hydrological cycle will change to what choices humans make in the future. Though the projected impacts contained in these chapters cannot be labeled with 100 % confidence, they’re likeliness is still very high and the risks of inaction are far too great to ignore.

2.) Classifying an Extreme

Extremes might be determined by the number, percentage, or fraction of days in a month, season, or year with maximum (or minimum) temperature above the 90th, 95th, or 99th percentile compared to a reference time period, such as the last four decades. Alternatively, how often a threshold temperature, for example 32°F or 90°F, is exceeded during a given decade. Extremes are also measured based on the average frequency of a given event that exceeds a specific magnitude. Extremes is a broad term and refers to a variety of events that vary in timescale.

3.) Identifying Greatest Vulnerabilities

Turning Vulnerability to Resiliency:  Taking action through Adaptation and Mitigation

This report defines resiliency as the capability of social and or natural systems to respond to and recover from climate change events. Adaptation is the process of adjustments that social ecological systems make in response to changing situations to reduce vulnerability from climate change impacts. Meanwhile, mitigation refers to a proactive process that moderates climate change disruption through reducing our overall contribution to emissions. These terms and their definitions appear in every chapter. The key messages in all chapters are chiefly summations of the vulnerability of a given sector, agriculture for instance, to projected climate impacts. Adaptation is often assessed and summarized as well. For example, in the case of the agriculture sector, there are serious vulnerabilities regarding changing growing seasons but changing specific farm practices or timing of certain operations are adaptation strategies to address this vulnerability. These actions contribute to the resiliency of a farm.

4.) Creating Opportunities

Adaptation can present new opportunities by taking advantage of specific changes. Mitigation and adaptation are linked, in that effective mitigation reduces the need for adaptation. Vermont has embraced “resilience” as a way to incorporate adaptation and mitigation in policy, lifestyles, and more. This is an empowering stance on climate change and is an essential part of a comprehensive response strategy.