Even though global warming is expressed as a single figure - the average temperature rise of the whole planet's surface - the effect will not be spread evenly.
Higher temperatures, fresh water shortages, higher sea levels and extreme weather events will each affect regions differently.
A region's vulnerability will depend not only on the nature and level of climate change, but on the capacity of local systems and populations to adapt to change.
The planet faces a range of scenarios depending on the level of continuing greenhouse gas emissions. Some change is inevitable but the extent and severity of long-term climate disruption depends on future emissions.
Last updated: 15 October 2013