Integration and Adaptation Definition

To return to the European heat wave narrative, continental European summers and the Mediterranean winters are expected to become considerably warmer: heat waves are "very likely" at the <90% level of confidence to increase in frequency and severity (IPCC 2007). Medical researcher Tony McMichael (2007) is reported "I welcome the growing emphasis on the modeling of adaptive strategies to lessen the health risks. Recent evidence from extreme heat waves, cyclones and droughts has shown how widely the health impacts vary between old and young, rich and poor, and those with strong versus weak social institutions and supports. Human societies and communities are very varied in resources, culture and behavior. Stronger linkages between natural and social sciences are now essential if we are to develop realistic integrated models that connect projected climatic change, social change and human vulnerability."

The issue of a globally integrative and numerically predictive model linking physical and human systems is likely to remain unresolved (Zillman 2004). At a more modest scale, however, within the physical domain the spatial resolution of scenario estimates by atmosphere-ocean coupled global circulation models (AOGCMs) have achieved good several hundred kilometer resolution, and while computer modelers are understandably cautious about scenario downscaling, coupling at the regional scale to topographic and terrain data is already producing significant improvement. There can be little doubt that this capacity will greatly increase with further advances in data acquisition and processing. This potential for spatial and temporal resolution is already ahead of our understanding of global atmospheric processes themselves, and certainly those of human systems at the regional scale. Discussion of integration of the several systems, however, seems to require some change in definition, if not adjustment to philosophical construct.

Firstly, adaptation is defined broadly by IPCC (2001) as "adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities". Despite a vast amount of time spent in IPCC discussions on definitions, the present still fails to make adequate provision for those situations where a seemingly successful adjustment becomes a detrimental maladaptation only over time. This may include ther-moregulatory functions such as active energy usage and air conditioning, which ultimately may not prove to "moderate harm" or be "beneficial" (Auliciems 1989; Auliciems and de Dear 1998; Auliciems and Szokolay 1998).

Of the six IPCC offered category definitions of adaptation as "anticipatory", "planned", "private", "public", and "reactive" are inapplicable to thermoregulation as a first order process. "Autonomous" adaptation is referred to as "spontaneous", "invariably reactive" and "adaptation that does not constitute a conscious response to climatic stimuli but is triggered by ecological changes in natural systems and by market or welfare changes in human systems". This definition fails to include deterministic biological processes as in Tables 11.1 and 11.2 and in Fig. 11.3, and is at odds to the thermoregulatory system's voluntary control mechanism, the thermo-preferendum mobility (Fig. 11.1), and even the short term vasomotor processes.

Clearly the universality of homeostasis, and the ubiquitous nature of thermoregulation, does not sit well with the soft determinism semantics or concepts of either mainstream IPCC (2001) or its progenitor the Chicago school of Natural Hazards (as in Burton et al.1978). Marginalization of the significance of active biological impact -adaptation processes, can be seen in the seminal contribution by Bob Kates (1985)

to SCOPE 27. Here links between orders of interaction are shown, in a much used model from Ingram et al. (1981), to flow from hazards to "direct" first order impacts (crops/plants, micro-organisms and animals), which according to Wigley et al. (1985), "may have economic or social (second-order) significance, affecting food and raw material supplies derived from agriculture or animal husbandry", which "may have an effect on biophysical processes important to human health" which is shown as a second order entity (together with food supplies, transport/ communications and wind/water power), to culminate in this model with wider economy and society. That is, as underlined by the apology from Kates (1985) for even suggesting deterministic overtones, there is no first order hazard impacts upon humans.

This surprising anachronism probably stems from the determinist-free will schism within Geography and from Natural Hazards work which had focused on differentiating cultural attitudes and perceptions. According to Burton et al. (1978) "the process of biological adaptation is generally slow; it cannot play a significant role in the short term responses to natural hazards" (p. 36), but "biological adaptations may also involve numerous mechanisms for temporary physiological responses in the face of hazards" (p. 39). Seemingly over time human biological processes have atrophied to insignificance, although in a subsequent section on coping, both cultural and biological processes seem to win some reprieve as parts of "loss absorption", but outside the main purposeful sets of adaptive processes. In any case, it appears that a society, and presumably its individual members, actually may be unaware of this hazard absorption. Overall the suggestion seems to be that humans may be considered biologically as less sensitive or adaptable than animals, and not be subject to first order deterministic impacts, and that thermoregulatory adaptation is little more than "routine" (Carter 1996) or "incidental" (Burton et al. 1978).

In part, the problem with the above underestimation of the role of dynamic biological processes may also relate to a critical period of computerization within weather forecasting. Natural Hazards concepts and semantics were formulated at a time when weather forecasts were for tomorrow, and the onset of most hazards was by definition sudden, i.e. less predictable, and therefore impacts were more severe. Nowadays, with advances in satellite technologies, numerical forecast skills and electronic communication networks, warnings of the likely onset of hazards is considerably enhanced. And anticipation and preparedness for an event reinforces the more recent concept of psycho-physiological adaptations within integrated first-second order impacts.

At the same time, that human adaptation and homeothermy is at the heart of biometeorology is implicitly accepted in health studies. In essence, the appeal of McMichael for the establishment of "stronger linkages between natural and social science" is also a call for rationalization in semantics and a bridging between artificial distinctions of first, second and third order adaptations. An integra-tive thermoregulatory system seems to provide a suitable template to fill this gap. Quite appropriately, the proposed system spans the extremes of each of the semantic dichotomies characterizing and differentiating adaptations to climate change (e.g. Smit et al. 1999: Autonomous - Planned, Passive - Active, Proactive -Reactive, Instantaneous-Cumulative).

Being mindful of the concern of Glantz (2007) that critical terms including adaptation can be misleading, for the present purposes adaptation is regarded no more than "adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli". Adopting this simplified definition also avoids the use of the term autonomous altogether, in favor of treating the set of human homeother-mic adaptations as an Integrated Adaptive System.

The significance of a need for redefinition can be underlined by overall changes in the patterns of death rates from extreme climate events. US death percentages (CSCCC 2007) lean increasingly away from major disaster events towards thermal or first order extremes. In percentages terms for the period 1992-2002, thermoregulatory deaths accounted for 82% of the total 1275/annum: extreme cold 53%, heat 28%, flood 9%, lightning 5%, tornado/hurricane 5%. Since reductions in death rates is largely a matter of economic development and research and investment, a more sophisticated understanding of first order thermoregulatory processes may have the potential for relatively large net returns.

Irrespective of realities in emission rates, future temperature trends and meteorological risks, at the smaller scale, human vulnerability and adaptability to specific impacts already can be realistically modeled on basis of established biometeorolog-ical relationships in most third order human systems. Undoubtedly, there also exist untested public and private records on every aspect of human life during the time of specific events, as well as routinely monitored data on environmental conditions, workforce and infrastructure anomalies or at least deviations from their norms. Initially accessing such records and organizing them in suitable database format no doubt would be a major task, but the information that could be rapidly obtained by suitable interrogation procedures, might vastly enhance human system inputs into models to match those of the physical world, and especially so in emergencies.

To illustrate, heat wave experience indicates that excess mortalities are caused by first order impacts and first order biological failures, while prevention is achieved by second order technologies as implemented at voluntary third order levels. There can be little doubt that the observed impacts of the 2003 European heat wave episode did precipitate impact and adaptation cascades well beyond the elevated mortality and shortfalls within hospital systems. Implications would have been considered throughout other third order human systems, including those of appropriate adjustments within social services, education, information, transport, emergency capacities, future urban planning and so on. The tragedy of 2003 had been of a sufficient magnitude to also alert French politicians, but their immediate suggested solution, however had been Woodruffean. Online encyclopedia Wikipedia reports that the administration of President Chirac and Prime Minister Raffarin laid the blame on the 35-h workweek, which affected the amount of time doctors could work, and in any case family practitioners took their vacations in August. Here we might be tempted to ask for a deeper investigation of the politician and administrator perceptions and attitudes towards optimizing solutions other than the hint of simply transferring some of the risk from one population to another.

Most of the higher order systems, in responding to events such as elevated heat stress, may have shared the initial first order trigger mechanism, but probably not coping ranges of particular groups of people or even the operation of second order technological infrastructures. Integrating information from these and other techno-cultural, spatial and socioeconomic systems and matching them to mortality data and medical service responses may have produced even more valuable insights into causes and solutions. Such projects as Monitoring and Measurement in the Next Generation Technologies (MOMENT 2008) may well resolve the vexing issue of accessing suitable and at times sensitive third order data, with fulfillment of their stated aims of "integrating different platforms for network monitoring and measurement to develop a common and open pan-European infrastructure. The system will include both passive and active monitoring and measurement techniques via a common web services interface and ontology that allows semantic queries."

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