Adaptation is the process of adjustment
to actual or expected climate and its effects.
The impact of climate change is already felt in different ways today. These changes already demand to change behaviours and technologies.
Here just a few examples:
Changing weather patterns lead to a need to adapt agricultural practices and change crop varieties.
Increasingly hot summers increase demand for air conditioning where it was not needed before.
Rising sea levels coupled with more violent storms demand changes in coastal protection.
Risk of climate-related impacts results from the interaction of climate-related hazards (including hazardous events and trends) with the vulnerability and exposure of human and natural systems. Changes in both the climate system (left) and socioeconomic processes including adaptation and mitigation (right) are drivers of hazards, exposure, and vulnerability.
Source: IPCC WGII AR5 Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability
In general, adaptation measures can have different goals of how to cope with a changing climate. They can lead to increased resilience of ecosystems and the human population to climate change, while essentially maintaining the status quo of doing things. Or they can seek to change the way a climate-change-related problem is approached, leading to a new way of doing specific things.