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WIREs Clim Change
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Developing qualitative scenario storylines for environmental change assessment

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This article reviews the historic evolution of qualitative scenario storylines and the various methods used in their development and application in environmental change assessment. The scenario method largely emerged from military strategy and war planning, with the techniques being adopted and advanced further by the business sector. Scenario storylines became widely applied to environmental problems from the 1970s and since then a number of new studies have been developed at both global and regional scales. Many different methods are used in scenario storyline development although most examples applied to environmental change assessment are exploratory and defined through a matrix logic that reflects different dimensions of environmental change drivers. This article discusses several development techniques for scenario storylines, provides examples of existing scenario storylines, discusses the differences between them, and highlights a number of limitations in the current scenario storyline development methods. The credibility, legitimacy, and saliency of future scenario storylines are discussed with respect to personal beliefs, the equifinality of alternative development pathways, the validation and uncertainty of assumptions, stakeholder engagement in visions development, and participatory methods. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Figure 1.

The five generic stages in scenario development.46.

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Assessing Impacts of Climate Change > Scenario Development and Application
Integrated Assessment of Climate Change > Integrated Scenario Development

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