Human interference with the climate system is occurring (WGI AR5 SPM Section D.3; WGI AR5 Sections 2.2, 6.3, 10.3 to 10.6, 10.9). Climate change poses risks for human and natural systems. The assessment of impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability in the Working Group II contribution to the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (WGII AR5) evaluates how patterns of risks and potential benefits are shifting due to climate change. It considers how impacts and risks related to climate change can be reduced and managed through adaptation and mitigation. The report assesses needs, options, opportunities, constraints, resilience, limits, and other aspects associated with adaptation. It recognizes that risks of climate change will vary across regions and populations, through space and time, dependent on myriad factors including the extent of adaptation and mitigation. For the past 2 decades, IPCC’s Working Group II has developed assessments of climate change impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability. The WGII AR5 builds from the WGII contribution to the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report (WGII AR4), published in 2007, and the Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX), published in 2012. It follows the Working Group I contribution to the AR5. The WGII AR5 is presented in two parts (Part A: Global and Sectoral Aspects, and Part B: Regional Aspects), reflecting the expanded literature basis and multidisciplinary approach, increased focus on societal impacts and responses, and continued regionally comprehensive coverage. [1.1 to 1.3] The number of scientific publications available for assessing climate change impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability more than doubled between 2005 and 2010, with especially rapid increases in publications related to adaptation, allowing for a more robust assessment that supports policymaking (high confidence). The diversity of the topics and regions covered has similarly expanded, as has the geographic distribution of authors contributing to the knowledge base for climate change assessments. Authorship of climate change publications from developing countries has increased, although it still represents a small fraction of the total. The unequal distribution of publications presents a challenge to the production of a comprehensive and balanced global assessment.