DECCMA Poster Competition Winner – Shouvik Das

poster competition winner

Winning poster

The winner of the PhD Category of the Poster Competition at the DECCMA 4th Consortium Workshop was Shouvik Das’ (Jadavpur University, India) poster ‘The implication of applying IPCC AR4 & AR5 framework for Vulnerability and Risk assessment in relation to Climate Change in the Indian Bengal Delta’.

The term ‘Vulnerability’ is used by the disaster risk reduction (DRR) community to describe the interaction of the physical and societal factors that contribute to disaster risk. This is closer to the IPCC AR4’s conceptual framework of vulnerability to climate change. The AR5 introduces a new approach and terminology which moves closer to the disaster risk concept, thus differing from the current understanding of vulnerability as expressed in the IPCC AR4. In this comparative study, different indicators based on AR4 and AR5 frameworks have been used to assess vulnerability (AR4) and risk (AR5) in the 51 Community Development Blocks of Indian Bengal Delta. The high score of ‘risk’ obtained through AR5 approach appears to be governed more by the climate induced hazards (like flood/cyclones). The external stressors of vulnerability (as conceptualized in AR4) comprise hazards as well as other climate variability as ‘potential hazard’. It also has a problem of neutralizing the impact of one specific hazard by the adaptive capacity to another potential hazard. The final results however show some disparity in scores in assessing ‘vulnerable’ zones and ‘risk’ zones. Sandeshkhali-II is assessed as the most vulnerable block (AR4) whereas Gosaba is found to be exposed to high risk (AR5) although both the blocks are spatially contiguous and geographically similar. The present study thus emphasizes efficacy of AR5 framework in assessing hazard specific risk zone which will be more suitable to correlate with impacts such as human migration or in designing appropriate hazard specific adaptation options.

Interview with the winner:
1. Why did you choose the topic for the poster?
Climate change acts as a ‘threat multiplier’ with a growing population and a deteriorating natural resource base in the deltaic environments. In recent years, Vulnerability or Risk Assessments are being used to identify climate change impact hotspots and to provide input for adaptation and development planning at different levels. Vulnerability or Risk Assessments being one of the thrust area of DECCMA, this poster could be useful, significant and interesting for all relevant ongoing research activities in the sphere of Disaster Management or Climate Change Adaptation. This study might also be helpful to compare the efficacies of IPCC AR 4 and AR 5 framework to apply in a particular research problem.

2. What data sources have you used for the analysis?
In Vulnerability or Risk Assessment, we use an integration of classified indicators to assess the interaction of human beings with physical and social surroundings at the Sub-District level (Community Development Blocks for India). Different bio-physical and socio-economic indicators have been used to conduct the study. The climate-related stress or extremes events like Flood Frequency (National Remote Sensing Centre, 2004-2014), Cyclone Intensity (Indian Meteorological Department, 1992-2009), Coastal Erosion (Landsat TM images, 2001 & 2011), Salinization (National Bureau of Soil Survey and Land Use Planning) have been considered to determine Hazard (AR 5) and Exposure (AR 4) under different frameworks. The datasets of District Census Handbook (DCHB) and District Statistical Handbook (DSHB) of 2011 have been used to estimate Sensitivity and Adaptive Capacity (IPCC Contributing Factors) with their catalytic influences in the system.

3. What’s the significance of your conclusion?
Applying the AR 4 and AR 5 concept and framework on the same data set, two different blocks have been identified to be most vulnerable or exposed to highest risk. However, both the blocks are spatially contiguous and geographically similar. The results have been validated through ground truth survey and stakeholder engagements. It proves the efficacy of AR5 over the AR 4 framework. Moreover, the hazard specific risk assessment (AR 5) can be more appropriate and suitable method to correlate with impacts such as human migration, and thus appear to be more appropriate for designing hazard specific adaptation options.

Download the poster here:,_India_20160125_035018.pdf

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