Synthesis of Indicators, Datasets, and Frameworks Available to Establish Resilience and Adaptation Indicators: Case Study of Chesapeake Bay Region, USA

Melissa A. Kenney, Michael D. Gerst

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Adaptation planning and evaluation is challenging because adaptation is occurring on complex systems that are not completely understood. Though assessment is more straightforward for single projects, the larger question often asked is whether multiple adaptation actions, developed by different actors and for different purposes, are making a region more resilient. One way to comprehensively assess adaptation is through indicators—a promising decision support tool because they can be designed to efficiently and comprehensively summarize system behavior even if significant uncertainty exists. In practice, choosing indicators requires navigating a rich and often contradictory information landscape of peer-reviewed and non-peer reviewed documents and data products, largely produced for other purposes. In this paper, we review the available information applicable to resilience indicators for the Chesapeake Bay region of the USA. To provide consistency across such diverse projects and information sources, we develop a resilience framework through literature and stakeholder engagement that provides a consistent definition of objectives and frame for evaluation. Using systematic search methods, we identified 283 relevant documents, which were then qualitatively assessed for climate change and resilience themes. Predominant themes emerge around key regional impacts—sea level rise, water quality, flooding, and aquatic ecosystems—as well as magnitude of, exposure to, and impacts of climate hazards. Notably, relatively little information was found for designing indicators for coping and adaptive capacity and adaptation responses. This result highlights that even for well-known problems in the Chesapeake Bay region, much work remains in translating the existing information landscape into actionable indicators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-44
Number of pages10
JournalCurrent Climate Change Reports
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 15 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors acknowledge the data collection and research support from J. Felix Wolfinger, Allison E. Baer, Jose Daniel Teodoro, Bruce Narin, Ariana Sutton-Grier, Eni Awowale, Cheryl Dombrowski, Kate Dorn, Greta Easthom, Shannon Evans Engstrom, Jill Freedman, Tyler Ruth, Christopher Smith, Sheena Patel, and Amanda Speciale. The resilience framework was refined given discussion by the project advisory committee members: Brian Ambrette, Eric Bannerman, Jim Bass, Nicole Carlozo, Jennifer Dindinger, Akosua Dosu, Sasha Land, Brian K. LeCates, Kelly Leo, Adam Ortiz, Anna Sierra, and Ariana Sutton-Grier. Kenney and Gerst received support from Maryland Sea Grant under award NA18OAR4170070 Subaward R/CL-2 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), US Department of Commerce.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG part of Springer Nature.


  • Adaptation
  • Climate change
  • Decision support
  • Framework
  • Indicators
  • Resilience


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