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Multi-temporal assessment of vulnerability to climate change: insights from the agricultural sector in Mexico

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Vulnerability to climate change was evaluated for three different time periods: 1990, 2000, and 2010. Our objective was to discuss the scope of a multi-temporal assessment of vulnerability. The method used 55 indicators—with emphasis on the agricultural sector in Mexico—of which 27 were updated for the year 2010 and 33 were retrospectively estimated for the year 1990. The results show that in the 20-year study period, the exposure of the municipalities (and inhabitants) has increased, and sensitivity and adaptive capacity have decreased. The number of municipalities vulnerable to climate change declined over the 20-year period. We found that calculating vulnerability by adding exposure and sensitivity and subtracting adaptive capacity (E + S − AC) can lead to unintentional underestimation of total vulnerability. When rating vulnerability, care must be taken in what is reported: the results differ for the number of inhabitants versus the number of municipalities. Our previous published vulnerability evaluation was for the year 2000, so we wanted to evaluate the sensitivity of some variables and the vulnerability formula itself we used in that moment. It is possible to evaluate the vulnerability multi-temporally, which allows to evaluate the sensibility and calibration of the variables and indicators used and the reconsideration of their application.

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We are grateful to the Departamento de Suelos and CIRENAM at the Universidad Autónoma Chapingo; Centro de Ciencias de la Atmosfera at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México; and Instituto Nacional de Ecología y Cambio Climático (INECC), where the research was conducted. We gratefully acknowledge the comments and suggestions of the anonymous reviewers whose comments have substantially improved the paper.

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Correspondence to Alejandro Ismael Monterroso-Rivas.

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Monterroso-Rivas, A.I., Conde-Álvarez, A.C., Pérez-Damian, J.L. et al. Multi-temporal assessment of vulnerability to climate change: insights from the agricultural sector in Mexico. Climatic Change 147, 457–473 (2018).

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