Term Definition Reference
Adaptation (to climate change) The process of adjustment to actual or expected climate, and its effects. See also Autonomous Adaptation, Evolutionary Adaptation, Incremental Adaptation and Transformative Adaptation IPCC 2014
Adaptation Assessment The practice of identifying options to adapt to climate change and evaluating them, in terms of criteria such as availability, benefits, costs, effectiveness, efficiency and feasibility. IPCC 2014
Adaptation Options The array of strategies and measures that are available and appropriate for addressing adaptation needs. They include a wide range of actions that can be categorized as structural, institutional, or social. IPCC 2014
Adaptation Planning The practice of identifying options to adapt to climate change and evaluating them in terms of criteria such as availability, benefits, costs, effectiveness, efficiency, and feasibility. IPCC 2014
Adaptation Strategies [Adaptation Strategies] include a mix of policies and measures with the overarching objective of reducing vulnerability. Depending on the circumstances, the strategy can be set at a national level, addressing adaptation across sectors, regions and vulnerable populations, or it can be more limited, focusing on just one or two sectors or regions. IPCC 2014
Adaptive capacity (or adaptability) The ability of systems, institutions, humans, and other organisms to adjust to potential damage, to take advantage of opportunities, or to respond to consequences. IPCC 2014
Autonomous Adaptation Adaptation in response to experienced climate and its effects, without planning explicitly or consciously focused on addressing climate change. Also referred to as spontaneous adaptation. IPCC 2014
Blue Infrastructure See Green Infrastructure
Cascading Effects A sequence of events in which each one produces the circumstances necessary for the initiation of the next. See also Consequence Analysis Allaby 2004
A sequence of events in which each individual event is the cause of the following event; all the events can be traced back to one and the same initial event. Rome et al. 2015
Climate Climate in a narrow sense is usually defined as the average weather, or more rigorously, as the statistical description in terms of the mean and variability of relevant quantities over a period of time ranging from months to thousands or millions of years. The classical period for averaging these variables is 30 years, as defined by the World Meteorological Organization. IPCC 2013
Climate Change Climate change refers to a change in the state of the climate that can be identified (e.g., by using statistical tests) by changes in the mean and/or the variability of its properties, and that persists for an extended period, typically decades or longer. IPCC 2013
Climate Projection A climate projection is the simulated response of the climate system to a scenario of future emission or concentration of greenhouse gases and aerosols, generally derived using climate models. IPCC 2013
Climate Model A numerical representation of the climate system based on the physical, chemical and biological properties of its components, their interactions and feedback processes, and accounting for some of its known properties. IPCC 2013
Climate System The climate system is the highly complex system consisting of five major components: the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, the cryosphere, the lithosphere and the biosphere, and the interactions between them. IPCC 2013
Co-benefits The positive effects that a policy or measure aimed at one objective might have on other objectives, irrespective of the net effect on overall social welfare. Co-benefits are often subject to uncertainty and depend on local circumstances and implementation practices, among other factors. Co-benefits are also referred to as ancillary benefits Allaby 2004
Consequences The outcome of an event affecting objectives ISO/IEC 27000: 2014 and ISO 310000: 2009
Consequence Analysis Consequence Analysis is estimation of the effect of potential hazardous events Australian Emergency Management Glossary (1998)
Contextual Vulnerability A present inability to cope with external pressures or changes, such as changing climate conditions. Contextual vulnerability is a characteristic of social and ecological systems generated by multiple factors and processes (O’Brien et al., 2007). IPCC 2014
Coping Capacity The ability of people, institutions, organizations, and systems, using available skills, values, beliefs, resources, and opportunities, to address, manage, and overcome adverse conditions in the short to medium term. IPCC 2014
The ability of people, organizations and systems, using available skills and resources, to face and manage adverse conditions, emergencies or disasters. UNISDR 2009
Critical Infrastructure (CI) An asset, system or part thereof located in Member States which is essential for the maintenance of vital societal functions, health, safety, security, economic or social well-being of people, and the disruption or destruction of which would have a significant impact in a Member State as a result of the failure to maintain those functions. European Commission: Council Directive 2008/114/EC
Organizations and facilities that are essential for the functioning of society and the economy as a whole. ISO/IEC TR 27019:2013
Critical Infrastructure (CI) Dependency CI dependency is the relationship between two (critical infrastructure) products or services in which one product or service is required for the generation of the other product or service. Rome et al 2015
Critical Infrastructure (CI) Element Part of a CI. Can have sub-elements Rome et al 2015
Critical Information Infrastructure (CII) Critical information infrastructures (‘CII’) should be understood as referring to those interconnected information systems and networks, the disruption or destruction of which would have serious impact on the health, safety, security, or economic well-being of citizens, or on the effective functioning of government or the economy. OECD Recommendation of the Council on the Protection of Critical Information Infrastructures C(2008)35
Critical Infrastructure (CI) Interdependency The mutual dependency of products or services. ACIP 2003.
Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) All activities aimed at ensuring the functionality, continuity and integrity of critical infrastructures in order to deter, mitigate and neutralise a threat, risk or vulnerability. Council Directive 2008/114/EC
Critical Infrastructure (CI) Sector Economic sectors considered critical Rome et al. 2015
Cyber Security Cyber-security commonly refers to the safeguards and actions that can be used to protect the cyber domain, both in the civilian and military fields, from those threats that are associated with or that may harm its interdependent networks and information infrastructure. Cyber-security strives to preserve the availability and integrity of the networks and infrastructure and the confidentiality of the information contained therein EC 2013a
Damage Damage classification is the evaluation and recording of damage to structures, facilities, or objects according to three (or more) categories. UN Department of Humanitarian Affairs, 1992
Decision The result of making up one’s mind regarding a choice between alternatives Wijnmalen et al 2015
Decision Support The structure process of activities that support decision makers and other stakeholders in coping with and resolving problems they are faced with. Wijnmalen et al 2015
Disruption Incident, whether anticipated (e.g. hurricane) or unanticipated (e.g. a blackout or earthquake) which disrupts the normal course of operations at an organization location. ISO/PAS 22399:2007 Societal security – Guideline for incident preparedness and operational continuity management.
Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) The use of biodiversity and ecosystem services as part of an overall adaptation strategy to help people to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change. Adapted from Abajo et al. 2015
Ecosystem Service Planning A place-based approach that focuses on the creation, restoration and conservation of ecological structures to provide society with specific services from nature. Wamsler et al. 2014
Efficiency The good use of time and energy in a way that does not waste any.
Ensemble A collection of model simulations characterizing a climate prediction or [climate] projection. IPCC 2013
European Critical Infrastructure Critical infrastructure located in Member States the disruption or destruction of which would have a significant impact on at least two Member States. The significance of the impact shall be assessed in terms of cross-cutting criteria. This includes effects resulting from cross-sector dependencies on other types of infrastructure. Council Directive 2008/114/EC
Evolutionary Adaptation For a population or species, change in functional characteristics as a result of selection acting on heritable traits. The rate of evolutionary adaptation depends on factors such as the strength of selection, generation turnover time, and degree of outcrossing (as opposed to inbreeding). IPCC 2014
Exposure The presence of people, livelihoods, species or ecosystems, environmental services and resources, infrastructure, or economic, social, or cultural assets in places that could be adversely affected IPCC 2014
Extreme Weather Event An extreme weather event is an event that is rare at a particular place and time of year. IPCC 2013
Green Infrastructure Green Infrastructure can be broadly defined as a strategically planned network of high quality natural and semi-natural areas with other environmental features, which is designed and managed to deliver a wide range of ecosystem services and protect biodiversity in both rural and urban settings. Note: Green infrastructure may incorporate both landscape and water features, the latter of which may be termed ‘blue infrastructure’. Other terms include ‘green-blue infrastructure’ and ‘green and blue infrastructure’ European Commission 2013b.
Grey Infrastructure Familiar urban infrastructure such as roads, sewer systems and storm drains is known as ‘grey infrastructure’. Such conventional infrastructure often uses engineered solutions typically designed for a single function. Parliamentary Office of Science & Technology 2013
Hazard The potential occurrence of a natural or human-induced physical event or trend, or physical impact, that may cause loss of life, injury, or other health impacts, as well as damage and loss to property, infrastructure, livelihoods, service provision, and environmental resources. IPCC 2014
Impacts Effects on natural and human systems (…) the term impact is used primarily to refer to the effects on natural and human systems of extreme weather and events and of climate change. Impacts generally refer to effects on lives, livelihoods, health, ecosystems, economies, societies, cultures, services and infrastructure due to the interaction of climate changes of hazardous climate events occurring within a specific time period and the vulnerability of an exposed society or system. Note: Impacts are also referred to as consequences and outcomes Adapted from IPCC 2014
The direct outcome of an event CIPedia® 2015
Incident Event that might be, or could lead to, an operational interruption, disruption, loss, emergency or crisis. ISO/PAS 22399: 2007
Incremental Adaptation Adaptation actions where the central aim is to maintain the essence and integrity of a system or process at a given scale. IPCC 2014
Infrastructure Infrastructure refers to all public and private facilities which are considered to be necessary for adequate public services and economic development. In most cases, the infrastructure is divided into technical infrastructure (e.g. transport and communications facilities, energy and water supply or wastewater disposal) and social infrastructure (e.g. schools, hospitals, shopping or cultural facilities). Translated from: Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik, Bundesamt für Bevölkerungsschutz und Katastrophenhilfe (2013)
Inoperability The degree of function loss of an object Rome et al 2015
Maladaptation Actions that may lead to increased risk of adverse climate-related outcomes, increased vulnerability to climate change, or diminished welfare, now or in the future. IPCC 2014
Mainstreaming Deliberate perturbation in the natural order of the things and undermines the status quo to radically expand and enhance the topic under consideration. Wamsler et al 2014
Passive Measure It is a type of measure which does not use energy once it has been implemented. It is normally refers to adaptation measures for buildings indoor environments. Van Hoof et al 2014
Probabilistic Climate Projections These are projections of future absolute climate that assign a probability level to different climate outcomes. This projection provides an absolute value for the future climate (as opposed to giving values that are relative to a baseline period) that assign a probability level to different climate outcomes Adapted from the UK Met Office 2014
Outcome Vulnerability Vulnerability as the end point of a sequence of analyses beginning with projections of future emission trends, moving on to the development of climate scenarios, and concluding with biophysical impact studies and the identification of adaptive options. Any residual consequences that remain after adaptation has taken place define the levels of vulnerability (Kelly and Adger, 2000; O’Brien et al., 2007). IPCC 2014
Recovery The restoration, and improvement where appropriate, of facilities, livelihoods and living conditions of disaster-affected communities, including efforts to reduce disaster risk factors UNISDR 2009
Reliability Property of consistent intended behaviour and results ISO/IEC 27000:2014
Resilience The capacity of a social-ecological system to cope with a hazardous event or disturbance, responding or reorganizing in ways that maintain its essential function, identity, and structure, while also maintaining the capacity for adaptation, learning, and transformation (Arctic Council, 2013). IPCC 2014
The ability to function, survive, and thrive no matter what stresses happen and to skilfully prepare for, respond to, and manage a crisis. Finally, it should include the ability to return to normal operations as quickly as possible after a disruption. NIAC 2009
The ability of a system, community or society exposed to hazards to resist, absorb, accommodate to and recover from the effects of a hazard in a timely and efficient manner, including through the preservation and restoration of its essential basic structures and functions. UNISDR 2009
Risk The potential for consequences where something of value is at stake and where the outcome is uncertain, recognizing the diversity of values. Risk is often represented as probability of occurrence of hazardous events or trends multiplied by the impacts if these events or trends occur. Risk results from the interaction of vulnerability, exposure, and hazard. IPCC 2014
Scenario A plausible description of how the future may develop based on a coherent and internally consistent set of assumptions about key driving forces (e.g. rate of technological change, prices) and relationships. IPCC 2013
Sensitivity The degree to which a system or species is affected, either adversely or beneficially, by climate variability or change. The effect may be direct … or indirect. Adapted from IPCC 2014
Social Infrastructure (Institutional) The social infrastructure includes the humans, organizations and governments that make decisions and form our economy as well as our institutions and policies. Chappin and van der Lei 2014
Social Infrastructure (Physical) Schools, hospitals, shopping or cultural facilities Unpublished working glossary of UP KRITIS and BSI, 2014
Stakeholder Person or organization that can affect, be affected by, or perceive themselves to be affected by a decision or activity Note: A decision maker can be a stakeholder. Adapted from: ISO 31000:2009
Transformative Adaptation Adaptation that changes the fundamental attributes of a system in response to climate and its effects. IPCC 2014
Uncertainty A state of incomplete knowledge that can result from a lack of information or from disagreement about what is known or even knowable IPCC 2014
Urban (Urban Area) Urban ‘is a function of (1) sheer population size, (2) space (land area), (3) the ratio of population to space (density or concentration), and (4) economic and social organization.’ Weeks 2010
The OECD-EU classification identifies functional urban areas beyond city boundaries, to reflect the economic geography of where people live and work… Defining urban areas as functional economic units can better guide the way national and city governments plan infrastructure, transportation, housing and schools, space for culture and recreation. Improved planning will OECD 2012
Urban Critical Infrastructure An asset, system or part thereof located in an urban area which is essential for the maintenance of vital societal functions, health, safety, security, economic or social well-being of people, and the disruption or destruction of which would have a significant impact in an urban area as a result of the failure to maintain those functions Adapted from Council Directive 2008/114/EC
Urban Critical Infrastructure System Urban critical infrastructure from a systemic viewpoint. It is part of the urban system and simultaneously part of the national critical infrastructure system. Rome et al 2015
Urban System System of urban areas (Urban settlements from a systemic viewpoint) Rome et al 2015
Vulnerability The propensity or predisposition to be adversely affected. Vulnerability encompasses a variety of concepts including sensitivity or susceptibility to harm and lack of capacity to cope and adapt. Note: Please see contextual vulnerability and outcome vulnerability IPCC 2014
Intrinsic properties of something resulting in susceptibility to a risk source that can lead to an event with a consequence CIPedia© 2015
Weakness of an asset or control that can be exploited by one or more threats ISO/IEC 27000: 2014
Vulnerability Index A metric characterizing the vulnerability of a system. A climate vulnerability index is typically derived by combining, with or without weighting, several indicators assumed to represent vulnerability IPCC 2014
Wicked Problem A problem that is categorized by a great number of uncertainties. These include: on the stakeholders involved, the boundaries of the problem, long term organisational developments and responsibilities, amongst others. Adapted from Wijnmalen et al 2015. Please also see Rittel and Webber 1973.