Table of contents
  1. Story
    1. Summary of GCIS Linked Data Tables
    2. Tables in Climate Change Impacts in the United States
    3. GCIS Data Model
    4. GCIS Ontology Table
    5. Data Publications Table
    6. Overview References
    7. White House State of the Climate Google Hangout
  2. Slides
    1. Slide 1 National Climate Assessment
    2. Slide 2 Data, Resources, & MUltimedia
    3. Slide 3 Global Change Information System
    4. Slide 4 About the Global Change Information System
    5. Slide 5 Global Change Information System datasets
    6. Slide 6 Climate Changeand President Obama's Action Plan
    7. Slide 7 Data Science for Climate Change MindTouch Knowledge Base
    8. Slide 8 Data Science for Climate Change Excel Datasets
    9. Slide 9 Data Science for Climate Change Spotfire Data Browser 1
    10. Slide 10 Data Science for Climate Change Spotfire Data Browser 2
  3. Spotfire Dashboard
  4. Research Notes
  5. Datasets
    1. Climate.Data.Gov
    2. U.S. Climate Divisional Dataset Version 2
    3. NCDC Global Surface Temperature Anomalies
    4. Global Historical Climatology Network - Daily
    5. GRACE Static Field Geopotential Coefficients JPL Release 5.0 GSM
    6. Bias-Corrected and Spatially Downscaled Surface Water Projections Hydrologic Data
    7. Daily 1/8-degree gridded meteorological data [1 Jan 1949 - 31 Dec 2010]
    8. Eighth degree-CONUS Daily Downscaled Climate Projections
    9. World Climate Research Programme's (WCRP's) Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 3 (CMIP3) multi-model dataset
    10. Global Historical Climatology Network - Monthly
    11. NCEP/NCAR Reanalysis
  6. Data, Resources, & Multimedia
    1. Global Change Information System
      1. About
        1. Global Change
        2. Identifiers
        3. Provenance and Semantics
        4. GCIS Development Effort
        5. GCIS Version
        6. Contacting us and contributing
      2. Examples
        1. RESTful interface
        2. SPARQL interface
        3. Applications
      3. Data model
        1. Resources
        2. Identifiers
        3. Relational Model
        4. Semantic Model
      4. API Reference
  7. Climate Change
    1. THE NATIONAL CLIMATE ASSESSMENT
    2. Impacts
      1. DUE TO CLIMATE CHANGE, THE WEATHER IS GETTING MORE EXTREME
        1. TEMPERATURES ARE RISING ACROSS THE U.S.
          1. GLOBALLY, THE 10 WARMEST YEARS ON RECORD ALL OCCURRED SINCE 1998.
          2. FOR THE CONTIGUOUS 48 STATES, 7 OF THE 10 WARMEST YEARS ON RECORD HAVE OCCURRED SINCE 1998.
      2. 2012 WAS THE SECOND MOST EXTREME YEAR ON RECORD FOR THE NATION
        1. RECORD HEAT ACROSS THE U.S.
        2. WARMEST YEAR ON RECORD FOR THE U.S.
        3. RECORD HIGH TEMPERATURES TIED OR BROKEN
        4. ONE-THIRD OF THE U.S. POPULATION EXPERIENCED 100˚ TEMPERATURES
        5. DROUGHTS, WILDFIRES, AND FLOODS ARE ALL MORE FREQUENT AND INTENSE
        6. PRECIPITATION WAS 2.57 INCHES BELOW THE 20TH CENTURY AVERAGE
        7. 15TH DRIEST YEAR ON RECORD
        8. WILDFIRES BURNED MORE THAN 9.3 MILLION U.S. ACRES
      3. EXTREME WEATHER COMES AT A COST
        1. CLIMATE AND WEATHER DISASTERS IN 2012 ALONE COST THE AMERICAN ECONOMY MORE THAN $100 BILLION
          1. U.S. DROUGHT/HEATWAVE
          2. SUPERSTORM SANDY
          3. COMBINED SEVERE WEATHER
          4. WESTERN WILDFIRES
          5. HURRICANE ISAAC
        2. THERE ARE ALSO PUBLIC HEALTH THREATS ASSOCIATED WITH EXTREME WEATHER
    3. Carbon Pollution
      1. CARBON POLLUTION IS THE BIGGEST DRIVER OF CLIMATE CHANGE
        1. GLOBAL TEMPERATURES AND CARBON DIOXIDE LEVELS ARE ON THE RISE
        2. U.S. GREENHOUSE GAS POLLUTION INCLUDES
          1. CARBON DIOXIDE (CO2), 82%
          2. FLUORINATED GASES, 3%
          3. NITROUS OXIDE (N2O), 6%
          4. METHANE (CH4), 9%
        3. WE'VE MADE PROGRESS THANKS TO
          1. STRONGER FUEL ECONOMY STANDARDS
          2. INCREASING CLEAN ENERGY
          3. DECREASED CARBON POLLUTION
          4. RENEWABLE ENERGY AND EFFICIENCY TARGETS
        4. BUT WE HAVE MORE WORK TO DO
    4. Cutting Carbon Pollution
      1. THE PRESIDENT'S PLAN TO CUT CARBON POLLUTION IN AMERICA
        1. REDUCING CARBON POLLUTION FROM POWER PLANTS
        2. ACCELERATING CLEAN ENERGY LEADERSHIP
        3. BUILDING A 21ST CENTURY CLEAN ENERGY INFRASTRUCTURE
        4. CUTTING ENERGY WASTE IN HOMES, BUSINESSES, AND FACTORIES
        5. REDUCING OTHER GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS
        6. FEDERAL LEADERSHIP
    5. Preparing for the Impacts
      1. PREPARE FOR THE IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE
        1. ASSESS THE IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE
        2. SUPPORT CLIMATE-RESILIENT INVESTMENTS
        3. REBUILD AND LEARN FROM SUPERSTORM SANDY
        4. LAUNCH AN EFFORT TO CREATE SUSTAINABLE AND RESILIENT HOSPITALS
        5. MAINTAIN AGRICULTURE PRODUCTIVITY
        6. PROVIDE TOOLS FOR CLIMATE RESILIENCE
        7. REDUCE RISK OF DROUGHTS AND WILDFIRES
    6. Lead International Efforts
      1. LEAD INTERNATIONAL EFFORTS TO ADDRESS GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE
        1. WORK WITH OTHER COUNTRIES TO TAKE ACTION TO ADDRESS CLIMATE CHANGE
          1. LEAD PUBLIC SECTOR FINANCING TOWARD CLEANER ENERGY
          2. BILAT COOPERATION WITH MAJOR ECONOMIES
          3. EXPAND CLEAN ENERGY USE AND CUT ENERGY WASTE
          4. COMBAT SHORT-LIVED CLIMATE POLLUTANTS
          5. REDUCE EMISSIONS FROM DEFORESTATION AND FOREST DEGRADATION
          6. NEGOTIATE GLOBAL FREE TRADE IN ENVIRONMENTAL GOODS AND SERVICES
          7. ENHANCE MULTILATERAL ENGAGEMENT WITH MAJOR ECONOMIES
          8. MOBILIZE CLIMATE FINANCE
        2. LEAD EFFORTS TO ADDRESS CLIMATE CHANGE THROUGH INTERNATIONAL NEGOTIATIONS
          1. MOVING FORWARD
    7. The Latest
      1. Make sure you get the latest news about climate change
  8. Climate Change Impacts in the United States
    1. Cover Page
    2. Inside Cover Page
    3. Recommended Citation
    4. Letter to Congress
    5. About the National Climate Assessment
    6. About the HIghlights
    7. Federal National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee (NCADAC)
      1. Chair
      2. Vice-Chairs
      3. Committee Members
      4. Ex Officio Committee Members
      5. Federal Executive Team
    8. National Climate Assessment Staff
      1. USGCRP National Climate Assessment Coordination Office
      2. Technical Support Unit, National Climatic Data Center, NOAA/NESDIS
      3. Review Editors
      4. United States Global Change Research Program
      5. Subcommittee on Global Change Research
        1. Chair
        2. Vice Chairs
        3. Principals
      6. Interagency National Climate Assessment Working Group
        1. Chair
        2. Vice-Chair
        3. National Aeronautics and Space Administration
        4. National Science Foundation
        5. Smithsonian Institution
        6. U.S. Department of Agriculture
        7. U.S. Department of Commerce
        8. U.S. Department of Defense
        9. U.S. Department of Energy
        10. U.S. Department of Homeland Security
        11. U.S. Department of the Interior
        12. U.S. Department of State
        13. U.S. Department of Transportation
        14. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
        15. White House Council on Environmental Quality
        16. White House Office of Management and Budget
        17. White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
    9. Climate Change and the American People
    10. About This Report
      1. REPORT REQUIREMENTS, PRODUCTION, AND APPROVAL
      2. REPORT SOURCES
      3. A guide to the report
      4. OVERARCHING PERSPECTIVES
        1. Global Change Context
        2. Societal Choices
        3. International Context
        4. Thresholds, Tipping Points, and Surprises
      5. RISK MANAGEMENT FRAMEWORK
      6. RESPONDING TO CLIMATE CHANGE
      7. TRACEABLE ACCOUNTS: PROCESS AND CONFIDENCE
    11. 1. OVERVIEW
      1. Climate Change: Present and Future
      2. Widespread Impacts
      3. Response Options
      4. Report Findings
      5. References
        1. 1
        2. 2
        3. 3
        4. 4
        5. 5
        6. 6
        7. 7
        8. 8
        9. 9
        10. 10
        11. 11
        12. 12
        13. 13
        14. 14
        15. 15
        16. 16
        17. 17
        18. 18
        19. 19
        20. 20
        21. 21
        22. 22
        23. 23
        24. 24
        25. 25
        26. 26
        27. 27
        28. 28
        29. 29
        30. 30
        31. 31
        32. 32
        33. a
        34. b
        35. c
        36. d
        37. e
    12. 2. OUR CHANGING CLIMATE
      1. Key Message 1: Observed Climate Change
        1. Figure 2.1
        2. Figure 2.2
        3. Figure 2.3
      2. Key Message 2: Future Climate Change
        1. Figure 2.4
        2. Figure 2.5
        3. Figure 2.6
      3. Key Message 3: Recent U.S. Temperature Trends
        1. Figure 2.7
        2. Figure 2.8
      4. Key Message 4: Lengthening Frost-free Season
        1. Figure 2.9
        2. Figure 2.10
        3. Figure 2.11
      5. Key Message 5: U.S. Precipitation Change
        1. Figure 2.12
        2. Figure 2.13
        3. Figure 2.14
        4. Figure 2.15
        5. Figure 2.16
      6. Key Message 6: Heavy Downpours Increasing
        1. Figure 2.17
        2. Figure 2.18
        3. Figure 2.19
      7. Key Message 7: Extreme Weather
        1. Figure 2.20
        2. Figure 2.21
        3. Figure 2.22
      8. Key Message 8: Changes in Hurricanes
        1. Figure 2.23
      9. Key Message 9: Changes in Storms
        1. Figure 2.24
      10. Key Message 10: Sea Level Rise
        1. Figure 2.25
        2. Figure 2.26
      11. Key Message 11: Melting Ice
        1. Figure 2.27
        2. Figure 2.28
        3. Figure 2.29
      12. Key Message 12: Ocean Acidification
        1. Figure 2.30
        2. Figure 2.31
    13. SECTORS
      1. Introduction
      2. 3. Water
        1. Key Message 1: Changing Rain, Snow, and Runoff
          1. Figure 3.1
          2. Figure 3.2
          3. Figure 3.3
          4. Figure 3.4
        2. Key Message 2: Droughts Intensify
        3. Key Message 3: Increased Risk of Flooding in Many Parts of the U.S.
          1. Figure 3.5
        4. Key Message 4: Groundwater Availability
          1. Figure 3.6
        5. Key Message 5: Risks to Coastal Aquifers and Wetlands
        6. Key Message 6: Water Quality Risks to Lakes and Rivers
          1. Figure 3.7
        7. Key Message 7: Changes to Water Demand and Use
          1. Figure 3.8
          2. Figure 3.9
          3. Figure 3.10
          4. Figure 3.11
        8. Key Message 8: Drought is Affecting Water Supplies
        9. Key Message 9: Flood Effects on People and Communities
        10. Key Message 10: Water Resources Management
          1. Figure 3.12
        11. Key Message 11: Adaptation Opportunities and Challenges
      3. 4. Energy
        1. Key Message 1: Disruptions from Extreme Weather
          1. Figure 4.1
        2. Key Message 2: Climate Change and Seasonal Energy Demands
          1. Figure 4.2
          2. Figure 4.3
          3. Table 4.1
        3. Key Message 3: Implications of Less Water for Energy Production
          1. Figure 4.4
        4. Key Message 4: Sea Level Rise and Infrastructure Damage
          1. Figure 4.5
        5. Key Message 5: Future Energy Systems
          1. Table 4.2
          2. Table 4.3
      4. 5. Transportation
        1. Key Message 1: Reliability and Capacity at Risk
          1. Figure 5.1
        2. Key Message 2: Coastal Impacts
          1. Figure 5.2
        3. Key Message 3: Weather Disruptions
          1. Figure 5.3
          2. Figure 5.4
          3. Table 5.1
        4. Key Message 4: Costs and Adaptation Options
          1. Figure 5.5
          2. Figure 5.6
      5. 6. Agriculture
        1. Key Message 1: Increasing Impacts on Agriculture
          1. Figure 6.1
          2. Figure 6.2
          3. Figure 6.3
          4. Figure 6.4
          5. Figure 6.5
          6. Figure 6.6
        2. Key Message 2: Weeds, Diseases, and Pests
        3. Key Message 3: Extreme Precipitation and Soil Erosion
          1. Figure 6.7
          2. Figure 6.8
          3. Figure 6.9
        4. Key Message 4: Heat and Drought Damage
        5. Key Message 5: Rate of Adaptation
        6. Key Message 6: Food Security
      6. 7. Forests
        1. Key Message 1: Increasing Forest Disturbances
          1. Figure 7.1
          2. Figure 7.2
          3. Figure 7.3
        2. Key Message 2: Changing Carbon Uptake
          1. Figure 7.4
          2. Figure 7.5
          3. Figure 7.6
        3. Key Message 3: Bioenergy Potential
          1. Figure 7.7
        4.  Key Message 4: Influences on Management Choices
          1. Figure 7.8
      7. 8. Ecosystems
        1. Key Message 1: Water
          1. Figure 8.1
          2. Figure 8.2
        2. Key Message 2: Extreme Events
        3. Key Message 3: Plants and Animals
        4. Key Message 4: Seasonal Patterns
        5. Key Message 5: Adaptation
          1. Figure 8.3
          2. Figure 8.4
      8. 9. Human Health
        1. Key Message 1: Wide-ranging Health Impacts
          1. Figure 9.1
          2. Figure 9.2
          3. Figure 9.3
          4. Figure 9.4
          5. Figure 9.5
          6. Figure 9.6
        2. Key Message 2: Most Vulnerable at Most Risk
          1. Figure 9.7
          2. Figure 9.8
          3. Figure 9.9
          4. Figure 9.10
        3. Key Message 3: Prevention Provides Protection
        4. Key Message 4: Responses Have Multiple Benefits
      9. 10. Energy, Water, and Land
        1. Figure 10.1
        2. Key Message 1: Cascading Events
          1. Figure 10.2
          2. Figure 10.3
          3. Figure 10.4
        3. Key Message 2: Options for Reducing Emissions and Climate Vulnerability
          1. Figure 10.5
          2. Figure 10.6
          3. Table 10.1
          4. Figure 10.7
          5. Figure 10.8
        4. Key Message 3: Challenges to Reducing Vulnerabilities
          1. Figure 10.9
          2. Figure 10.10
      10. 11. Urban
        1. Key Message 1: Urbanization and Infrastructure Systems
          1. Figure 11.1
        2. Key Message 2: Essential Services are Interdependent
          1. Figure 11.2
        3.  Key Message 3: Social Vulnerability and Human Well-Being
        4. Key Message 4: Trends in Urban Adaptation – Lessons from Current Adopters
          1. Figure 11.3
      11. 12. Indigenous Peoples
        1. Figure 12.1
        2. Figure 12.2
        3. Key Message 1: Forests, Fires, and Food
        4. Key Message 2: Water Quality and Quantity
          1. Figure 12.3
        5. Key Message 3: Declining Sea Ice
          1. Figure 12.4
          2. Figure 12.5
        6. Key Message 4: Permafrost Thaw
          1. Figure 12.6
        7. Key Message 5: Relocation
      12. 13. Land Use and Land Cover Change
        1. Figure 13.1
        2. Table 13.1
        3. Table 13.2
        4.  
        5. Figure 13.2
        6. Figure 13.3
        7. Key Message 1: Effects on Communities and Ecosystems
          1. Figure 13.4
        8. Key Message 2: Effects on Climate Processes
        9. Key Message 3: Adapting to Climate Change
        10. Key Message 4: Reducing Greenhouse Gas Levels
      13. 14. Rural Communities
        1. Figure 14.1
        2. Figure 14.2
        3. Key Message 1: Rural Economies
          1. Figure 14.3
          2. Figure 14.4
        4. Key Message 2: Responding to Risks
          1. Figure 14.5
        5. Key Message 3: Adaptation
      14. 15. Biogeochemical Cycles
        1. Key Message 1: Human-Induced Changes
          1. Figure 15.1
          2. Figure 15.2
        2. Key Message 2: Sinks and Cycles
          1. Figure 15.3
        3. Key Message 3: Impacts and Options
          1. Figure 15.4
          2. Table 15.1
          3. Figure 15.5
          4. Figure 15.6
    14. REGIONS
      1. Introductions
        1. Table 1: Composition of NCA Regions
        2. References
      2. 16. Northeast
        1. Figure 16.1
        2. Figure 16.2
        3. Figure 16.3
        4. Figure 16.4
        5. Key Message 1: Climate Risks to People
          1. Figure 16.5
        6. Key Message 2: Stressed Infrastructure
          1. Table 16.1
          2. Figure 16.6
        7. Key Message 3: Agricultural and Ecosystem Impacts
        8. Key Message 4: Planning and Adaptation
          1. Figure 16.7
          2. Figure 16.8
      3. 17. Southeast
        1. Figure 17.1
        2. Figure 17.2
        3. Figure 17.3
        4. Figure 17.4
        5. Figure 17.5
        6. Key Message 1: Sea Level Rise Threats
          1. Figure 17.6
          2. Figure 17.7
          3. Figure 17.8
        7. Key Message 2: Increasing Temperatures
          1. Figure 17.9
          2. Figure 17.10
        8. Key Message 3: Water Availability
          1. Figure 17.11
          2. Figure 17.12
      4. 18. Midwest
        1. Figure 18.1
        2. Key Message 1: Impacts to Agriculture
          1. Figure 18.2
          2. Figure 18.3
        3. Key Message 2: Forest Composition
          1. Figure 18.4
        4. Key Message 3: Public Health Risks
          1. Figure 18.5
        5. Key Message 4: Fossil-Fuel Dependent Electricity System
        6. Key Message 5: Increased Rainfall and Flooding
          1. Figure 18.6
        7. Key Message 6: Increased Risks to the Great Lakes
          1. Figure 18.7
      5. 19. Great Plains
        1. Figure 19.1
        2. Figure 19.2
        3. Figure 19.3
        4. Figure 19.4
        5. Figure 19.5
        6. Key Message 1: Energy, Water and Land Use
        7. Key Message 2: Sustaining Agriculture
          1. Figure 19.6
        8. Key Message 3: Conservation and Adaptation
          1. Figure 19.7
        9. Key Message 4: Vulnerable Communities
          1. Figure 19.8
          2. Figure 19.9
        10. Key Message 5: Opportunities to Build Resilience
          1. Figure 19.10
      6. 20. Southwest
        1. Figure 20.1
        2. Key Message 1: Reduced Snowpack and Streamflows
          1. Figure 20.2
          2. Figure 20.3
        3. Key Message 2: Threats to Agriculture
          1. Figure 20.4
        4. Key Message 3: Increased Wildfire
        5. Key Message 4: Sea Level Rise and Coastal Damage
          1. Figure 20.5
        6. Key Message 5: Heat Threats to Health
          1. Figure 20.6
      7. 21. Northwest
        1. Key Message 1: Water-related Challenges
          1. Figure 21.1
          2. Figure 21.2
        2. Key Message 2: Coastal Vulnerabilities
          1. Figure 21.3
          2. Figure 21.4
          3. Figure 21.5
        3. Key Message 3: Impacts on Forests
          1. Figure 21.6
          2. Figure 21.7
        4. Key Message 4: Adapting Agriculture
      8. 22. Alaska
        1. Figure 22.1
        2. Key Message 1: Disappearing Sea Ice
          1. Figure 22.2
          2. Figure 22.3
          3. Figure 22.4
        3. Key Message 2: Shrinking Glaciers
        4. Key Message 3: Thawing Permafrost
          1. Figure 22.5
          2. Figure 22.6
          3. Figure 22.7
        5. Key Message 4: Changing Ocean Temperatures and Chemistry
        6. Key Message 5: Native Communities
          1. Figure 22.8
      9. 23. Hawaii and Pacific Islands
        1. Figure 23.1
        2. Key Message 1: Changes to Marine Ecosystems
          1. Figure 23.2
          2. Figure 23.3
        3. Key Message 2: Decreasing Freshwater Availability
          1. Figure 23.4
        4. Key Message 3: Increased Stress on Native Plants and Animals
          1. Figure 23.5
        5. Key Message 4: Sea Level Rising
          1. Figure 23.6
          2. Figure 23.7
          3. Figure 23.8
        6. Key Message 4: Sea Level Rising
      10. 24. Oceans
        1. Key Message 1: Rising Ocean Temperatures
          1. Figure 24.1
          2. Figure 24.2
        2. Key Message 2: Ocean Acidification Alters Marine Ecosystems
          1. Figure 24.3
        3. Key Message 3: Habitat Loss Affects Marine Life
          1. Figure 24.4
        4. Key Message 4: Rising Temperatures Linked to Diseases
        5. Key Message 5: Economic Impacts of Marine-related Climate Change
        6. Key Message 6: Initiatives Serve as a Model
          1. Figure 24.5
      11. 25. Coasts
        1. Figure 25.1
        2. Figure 25.2
        3. Figure 25.3
        4. Figure 25.4
        5. Figure 25.5
        6. Key Message 1: Coastal Lifelines at Risk
          1. Figure 25.6
        7. Key Message 2: Economic Disruption
          1. Figure 25.7
        8. Key Message 3: Uneven Social Vulnerability
        9. Key Message 4: Vulnerable Ecosystems
          1. Figure 25.8
          2. Figure 25.9
        10. Key Message 5: The State of Coastal Adaptation
    15. RESPONSE STRATEGIES
      1. Introduction
      2. 26. Decision Support
        1. Key Messages
          1. Key Message 1: Decision Support
          2. Key Message 2: Decision Support
          3. Key Message 3: Decision Support
          4. Key Message 4: Decision Support
          5. Key Message 5: Decision Support
        2. Table 26.1
        3. Figure 26.1
        4. Figure 26.2
        5. Figure 26.3
        6. Figure 26.4
        7. Table 26.2
        8. Figure 26.5
        9. Figure 26.6
      3. 27. Mitigation
        1. Key Messages
          1. Key Message 1: Mitigation
          2. Key Message 2: Mitigation
          3. Key Message 3: Mitigation
          4. Key Message 4: Mitigation
          5. Key Message 5: Mitigation
        2. Figure 27.1
        3. Figure 27.2
        4. Figure 27.3
        5. Table 27.1
        6. Table 27.2
      4. 28. Adaptation
        1. Key Messages
          1. Key Message 1: Adaptation
          2. Key Message 2: Adaptation
          3. Key Message 3: Adaptation
          4. Key Message 4: Adaptation
          5. Key Message 5: Adaptation
          6. Key Message 6: Adaptation
        2. Table 28.1
        3. Figure 28.1
        4. Table 28.2
        5. Table 28.3
        6. Table 28.4
        7. Table 28.5
        8. Figure 28.2
        9. Figure 28.3
        10. Table 28.6
        11. Figure 28.4
        12. Figure 28.5
        13. Figure 28.6
      5. 29. Research Needs
      6. 30. Sustained Assessment
    16. APPENDICIES
      1. Appendix 1: Process
        1. Introduction
        2. NCA Goal and Vision
        3. Legislative Foundations
        4. U.S. Global Change Research Program
        5. National Climate Assessment (NCA) Components
          1. Figure 1
        6. Creating the Third NCA Report
          1. Process Development
          2. Figure 2
          3. Technical Input Reports
          4. Third NCA Report Draft Development and Review
          5. NCA Final Report
          6. Engagement Activities
          7. Process and Methodology Workshops
          8. Agency-Sponsored Technical Input Development Workshops
          9. Listening Sessions
          10. Regional Town Hall Meetings
          11. NCAnet Partners Activities
        7. References
      2. Appendix 2: Information Quality
        1. Summary of Information Quality Assurance Process for the Third National Climate Assessment Report
          1. References
      3. Appendix 3: Climate Science
        1. Cover Page
          1. Convening Lead Authors
          2. Lead Authors
          3. Contributing Authors
          4. Recommended Citation for Chapter
          5. On the Web
        2. Supplemental Messages
        3. Supplemental Message 1
          1. Figure 1
          2. Figure 2
          3. Figure 3
          4. Figure 4
          5. Figure 5
          6. Figure 6
        4. Supplemental Message 2
          1. Figure 7
          2. Figure 8
          3. Figure 9
          4. Figure 10
          5. Figure 11
          6. Figure 12
        5. Supplemental Message 3
          1. Figure 13
          2. Figure 14
          3. Figure 15
        6. Supplemental Message 4
          1. Figure 16
          2. Figure 17
          3. Figure 18
        7. Supplemental Message 5
          1. Figure 19
          2. Figure 20
          3. Figure 21
          4. Figure 22
          5. Figure 23
        8. Supplemental Message 6
          1. Figure 24
          2. Figure 25
          3. Figure 26
        9. Supplemental Message 7
          1. Figure 27
          2. Figure 28
        10. Supplemental Message 8
          1. Figure 29
          2. Figure 30
          3. Figure 31
        11. Supplemental Message 9
          1. Figure 32
        12. Supplemental Message 10
          1. Figure 33
          2. Figure 34
          3. Figure 35
          4. Figure 36
        13. Supplemental Message 11
          1. Figure 37
          2. Figure 38
          3. Figure 39
          4. Figure 40
        14. Supplemental Message 12
          1. Figure 41
          2. Figure 42
      4. Appendix 4: FAQs
        1. Cover Page
          1. Convening Lead Authors
          2. Lead Authors
          3. Contributing Authors
          4. Recommended Citation for Chapter
          5. On the Web
        2. A. How can we predict what climate will be like in 100 years if we can’t even predict the weather next week?
          1. Figure 1
        3. B. Is the climate changing? How do we know?
          1. Figure 2
          2. Figure 3
        4. C. Climate is always changing. How is recent change different than in the past?
          1. Figure 4
          2. Figure 5
        5. D. Is the globally averaged surface temperature still increasing? Isn’t there recent evidence that it is actually cooling?
          1. Figure 6
          2. Figure 7
        6. E. Is it getting warmer at the same rate everywhere? Will the warming continue?
          1. Figure 8
          2. Figure 9
        7. F. How long have scientists been investigating human influences on climate?
          1. Figure 10
        8. G. How can the small proportion of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have such a large effect on our climate?
          1. Figure 11
        9. H. Could the sun or other natural factors explain the observed warming of the past 50 years?
          1. Figure 12
        10. I. How do we know that human activities are the primary cause of recent climate change?
          1. Figure 13
          2. Figure 14
        11. J. What is and is not debated among climate scientists about climate change?
          1. Figure 15
        12. K. Is the global surface temperature record good enough to determine whether climate is changing?
          1. Figure 16
        13. L. Is Antarctica gaining or losing ice? What about Greenland?
          1. Figure 17
        14. M. Weren’t there predictions of global cooling in the 1970s?
          1. Figure 18
        15. N. How is climate projected to change in the future?
          1. Figure 19
        16. O. Does climate change affect severe weather?
        17. P. How are the oceans affected by climate change?
          1. Figure 20
        18. Q. What is ocean acidification?
          1. Figure 21
        19. R. How reliable are the computer models of the Earth’s climate?
          1. Figure 22
        20. S. What are the key uncertainties about climate change?
          1. Figure 23
        21. T. Are there tipping points in the climate system?
          1. Figure 24
        22. U. How is climate change affecting society?
          1. Figure 25
        23. V. Are there benefits to warming?
        24. W. Are some people more vulnerable than others?
        25. X. Are there ways to reduce climate change?
          1. Figure 26
        26. Y. Are there advantages to acting sooner rather than later?
          1. Figure 27
        27. Z. Can we reverse global warming?
          1. Figure 28
      5. Appendix 5: Scenarios and Models
        1. Scenarios
          1. Emissions Scenarios
          2. Climate Scenarios and Climate Models
          3. Figure 1
          4. Emissions scenarios
          5. Sea Level Rise Scenarios
          6. Figure 2
        2. Models and Sources of Uncertainty
        3. References
      6. Appendix 6: Future Assessment Topics
        1. Economic Analyses
        2. National Security
        3. Interactions between Adaptation and Mitigation Activities
        4. References
      7. Abbreviations and Acronyms
    17. Back Cover
  9. NEXT

Data Science for Climate Change

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Table of contents
  1. Story
    1. Summary of GCIS Linked Data Tables
    2. Tables in Climate Change Impacts in the United States
    3. GCIS Data Model
    4. GCIS Ontology Table
    5. Data Publications Table
    6. Overview References
    7. White House State of the Climate Google Hangout
  2. Slides
    1. Slide 1 National Climate Assessment
    2. Slide 2 Data, Resources, & MUltimedia
    3. Slide 3 Global Change Information System
    4. Slide 4 About the Global Change Information System
    5. Slide 5 Global Change Information System datasets
    6. Slide 6 Climate Changeand President Obama's Action Plan
    7. Slide 7 Data Science for Climate Change MindTouch Knowledge Base
    8. Slide 8 Data Science for Climate Change Excel Datasets
    9. Slide 9 Data Science for Climate Change Spotfire Data Browser 1
    10. Slide 10 Data Science for Climate Change Spotfire Data Browser 2
  3. Spotfire Dashboard
  4. Research Notes
  5. Datasets
    1. Climate.Data.Gov
    2. U.S. Climate Divisional Dataset Version 2
    3. NCDC Global Surface Temperature Anomalies
    4. Global Historical Climatology Network - Daily
    5. GRACE Static Field Geopotential Coefficients JPL Release 5.0 GSM
    6. Bias-Corrected and Spatially Downscaled Surface Water Projections Hydrologic Data
    7. Daily 1/8-degree gridded meteorological data [1 Jan 1949 - 31 Dec 2010]
    8. Eighth degree-CONUS Daily Downscaled Climate Projections
    9. World Climate Research Programme's (WCRP's) Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 3 (CMIP3) multi-model dataset
    10. Global Historical Climatology Network - Monthly
    11. NCEP/NCAR Reanalysis
  6. Data, Resources, & Multimedia
    1. Global Change Information System
      1. About
        1. Global Change
        2. Identifiers
        3. Provenance and Semantics
        4. GCIS Development Effort
        5. GCIS Version
        6. Contacting us and contributing
      2. Examples
        1. RESTful interface
        2. SPARQL interface
        3. Applications
      3. Data model
        1. Resources
        2. Identifiers
        3. Relational Model
        4. Semantic Model
      4. API Reference
  7. Climate Change
    1. THE NATIONAL CLIMATE ASSESSMENT
    2. Impacts
      1. DUE TO CLIMATE CHANGE, THE WEATHER IS GETTING MORE EXTREME
        1. TEMPERATURES ARE RISING ACROSS THE U.S.
          1. GLOBALLY, THE 10 WARMEST YEARS ON RECORD ALL OCCURRED SINCE 1998.
          2. FOR THE CONTIGUOUS 48 STATES, 7 OF THE 10 WARMEST YEARS ON RECORD HAVE OCCURRED SINCE 1998.
      2. 2012 WAS THE SECOND MOST EXTREME YEAR ON RECORD FOR THE NATION
        1. RECORD HEAT ACROSS THE U.S.
        2. WARMEST YEAR ON RECORD FOR THE U.S.
        3. RECORD HIGH TEMPERATURES TIED OR BROKEN
        4. ONE-THIRD OF THE U.S. POPULATION EXPERIENCED 100˚ TEMPERATURES
        5. DROUGHTS, WILDFIRES, AND FLOODS ARE ALL MORE FREQUENT AND INTENSE
        6. PRECIPITATION WAS 2.57 INCHES BELOW THE 20TH CENTURY AVERAGE
        7. 15TH DRIEST YEAR ON RECORD
        8. WILDFIRES BURNED MORE THAN 9.3 MILLION U.S. ACRES
      3. EXTREME WEATHER COMES AT A COST
        1. CLIMATE AND WEATHER DISASTERS IN 2012 ALONE COST THE AMERICAN ECONOMY MORE THAN $100 BILLION
          1. U.S. DROUGHT/HEATWAVE
          2. SUPERSTORM SANDY
          3. COMBINED SEVERE WEATHER
          4. WESTERN WILDFIRES
          5. HURRICANE ISAAC
        2. THERE ARE ALSO PUBLIC HEALTH THREATS ASSOCIATED WITH EXTREME WEATHER
    3. Carbon Pollution
      1. CARBON POLLUTION IS THE BIGGEST DRIVER OF CLIMATE CHANGE
        1. GLOBAL TEMPERATURES AND CARBON DIOXIDE LEVELS ARE ON THE RISE
        2. U.S. GREENHOUSE GAS POLLUTION INCLUDES
          1. CARBON DIOXIDE (CO2), 82%
          2. FLUORINATED GASES, 3%
          3. NITROUS OXIDE (N2O), 6%
          4. METHANE (CH4), 9%
        3. WE'VE MADE PROGRESS THANKS TO
          1. STRONGER FUEL ECONOMY STANDARDS
          2. INCREASING CLEAN ENERGY
          3. DECREASED CARBON POLLUTION
          4. RENEWABLE ENERGY AND EFFICIENCY TARGETS
        4. BUT WE HAVE MORE WORK TO DO
    4. Cutting Carbon Pollution
      1. THE PRESIDENT'S PLAN TO CUT CARBON POLLUTION IN AMERICA
        1. REDUCING CARBON POLLUTION FROM POWER PLANTS
        2. ACCELERATING CLEAN ENERGY LEADERSHIP
        3. BUILDING A 21ST CENTURY CLEAN ENERGY INFRASTRUCTURE
        4. CUTTING ENERGY WASTE IN HOMES, BUSINESSES, AND FACTORIES
        5. REDUCING OTHER GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS
        6. FEDERAL LEADERSHIP
    5. Preparing for the Impacts
      1. PREPARE FOR THE IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE
        1. ASSESS THE IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE
        2. SUPPORT CLIMATE-RESILIENT INVESTMENTS
        3. REBUILD AND LEARN FROM SUPERSTORM SANDY
        4. LAUNCH AN EFFORT TO CREATE SUSTAINABLE AND RESILIENT HOSPITALS
        5. MAINTAIN AGRICULTURE PRODUCTIVITY
        6. PROVIDE TOOLS FOR CLIMATE RESILIENCE
        7. REDUCE RISK OF DROUGHTS AND WILDFIRES
    6. Lead International Efforts
      1. LEAD INTERNATIONAL EFFORTS TO ADDRESS GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE
        1. WORK WITH OTHER COUNTRIES TO TAKE ACTION TO ADDRESS CLIMATE CHANGE
          1. LEAD PUBLIC SECTOR FINANCING TOWARD CLEANER ENERGY
          2. BILAT COOPERATION WITH MAJOR ECONOMIES
          3. EXPAND CLEAN ENERGY USE AND CUT ENERGY WASTE
          4. COMBAT SHORT-LIVED CLIMATE POLLUTANTS
          5. REDUCE EMISSIONS FROM DEFORESTATION AND FOREST DEGRADATION
          6. NEGOTIATE GLOBAL FREE TRADE IN ENVIRONMENTAL GOODS AND SERVICES
          7. ENHANCE MULTILATERAL ENGAGEMENT WITH MAJOR ECONOMIES
          8. MOBILIZE CLIMATE FINANCE
        2. LEAD EFFORTS TO ADDRESS CLIMATE CHANGE THROUGH INTERNATIONAL NEGOTIATIONS
          1. MOVING FORWARD
    7. The Latest
      1. Make sure you get the latest news about climate change
  8. Climate Change Impacts in the United States
    1. Cover Page
    2. Inside Cover Page
    3. Recommended Citation
    4. Letter to Congress
    5. About the National Climate Assessment
    6. About the HIghlights
    7. Federal National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee (NCADAC)
      1. Chair
      2. Vice-Chairs
      3. Committee Members
      4. Ex Officio Committee Members
      5. Federal Executive Team
    8. National Climate Assessment Staff
      1. USGCRP National Climate Assessment Coordination Office
      2. Technical Support Unit, National Climatic Data Center, NOAA/NESDIS
      3. Review Editors
      4. United States Global Change Research Program
      5. Subcommittee on Global Change Research
        1. Chair
        2. Vice Chairs
        3. Principals
      6. Interagency National Climate Assessment Working Group
        1. Chair
        2. Vice-Chair
        3. National Aeronautics and Space Administration
        4. National Science Foundation
        5. Smithsonian Institution
        6. U.S. Department of Agriculture
        7. U.S. Department of Commerce
        8. U.S. Department of Defense
        9. U.S. Department of Energy
        10. U.S. Department of Homeland Security
        11. U.S. Department of the Interior
        12. U.S. Department of State
        13. U.S. Department of Transportation
        14. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
        15. White House Council on Environmental Quality
        16. White House Office of Management and Budget
        17. White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
    9. Climate Change and the American People
    10. About This Report
      1. REPORT REQUIREMENTS, PRODUCTION, AND APPROVAL
      2. REPORT SOURCES
      3. A guide to the report
      4. OVERARCHING PERSPECTIVES
        1. Global Change Context
        2. Societal Choices
        3. International Context
        4. Thresholds, Tipping Points, and Surprises
      5. RISK MANAGEMENT FRAMEWORK
      6. RESPONDING TO CLIMATE CHANGE
      7. TRACEABLE ACCOUNTS: PROCESS AND CONFIDENCE
    11. 1. OVERVIEW
      1. Climate Change: Present and Future
      2. Widespread Impacts
      3. Response Options
      4. Report Findings
      5. References
        1. 1
        2. 2
        3. 3
        4. 4
        5. 5
        6. 6
        7. 7
        8. 8
        9. 9
        10. 10
        11. 11
        12. 12
        13. 13
        14. 14
        15. 15
        16. 16
        17. 17
        18. 18
        19. 19
        20. 20
        21. 21
        22. 22
        23. 23
        24. 24
        25. 25
        26. 26
        27. 27
        28. 28
        29. 29
        30. 30
        31. 31
        32. 32
        33. a
        34. b
        35. c
        36. d
        37. e
    12. 2. OUR CHANGING CLIMATE
      1. Key Message 1: Observed Climate Change
        1. Figure 2.1
        2. Figure 2.2
        3. Figure 2.3
      2. Key Message 2: Future Climate Change
        1. Figure 2.4
        2. Figure 2.5
        3. Figure 2.6
      3. Key Message 3: Recent U.S. Temperature Trends
        1. Figure 2.7
        2. Figure 2.8
      4. Key Message 4: Lengthening Frost-free Season
        1. Figure 2.9
        2. Figure 2.10
        3. Figure 2.11
      5. Key Message 5: U.S. Precipitation Change
        1. Figure 2.12
        2. Figure 2.13
        3. Figure 2.14
        4. Figure 2.15
        5. Figure 2.16
      6. Key Message 6: Heavy Downpours Increasing
        1. Figure 2.17
        2. Figure 2.18
        3. Figure 2.19
      7. Key Message 7: Extreme Weather
        1. Figure 2.20
        2. Figure 2.21
        3. Figure 2.22
      8. Key Message 8: Changes in Hurricanes
        1. Figure 2.23
      9. Key Message 9: Changes in Storms
        1. Figure 2.24
      10. Key Message 10: Sea Level Rise
        1. Figure 2.25
        2. Figure 2.26
      11. Key Message 11: Melting Ice
        1. Figure 2.27
        2. Figure 2.28
        3. Figure 2.29
      12. Key Message 12: Ocean Acidification
        1. Figure 2.30
        2. Figure 2.31
    13. SECTORS
      1. Introduction
      2. 3. Water
        1. Key Message 1: Changing Rain, Snow, and Runoff
          1. Figure 3.1
          2. Figure 3.2
          3. Figure 3.3
          4. Figure 3.4
        2. Key Message 2: Droughts Intensify
        3. Key Message 3: Increased Risk of Flooding in Many Parts of the U.S.
          1. Figure 3.5
        4. Key Message 4: Groundwater Availability
          1. Figure 3.6
        5. Key Message 5: Risks to Coastal Aquifers and Wetlands
        6. Key Message 6: Water Quality Risks to Lakes and Rivers
          1. Figure 3.7
        7. Key Message 7: Changes to Water Demand and Use
          1. Figure 3.8
          2. Figure 3.9
          3. Figure 3.10
          4. Figure 3.11
        8. Key Message 8: Drought is Affecting Water Supplies
        9. Key Message 9: Flood Effects on People and Communities
        10. Key Message 10: Water Resources Management
          1. Figure 3.12
        11. Key Message 11: Adaptation Opportunities and Challenges
      3. 4. Energy
        1. Key Message 1: Disruptions from Extreme Weather
          1. Figure 4.1
        2. Key Message 2: Climate Change and Seasonal Energy Demands
          1. Figure 4.2
          2. Figure 4.3
          3. Table 4.1
        3. Key Message 3: Implications of Less Water for Energy Production
          1. Figure 4.4
        4. Key Message 4: Sea Level Rise and Infrastructure Damage
          1. Figure 4.5
        5. Key Message 5: Future Energy Systems
          1. Table 4.2
          2. Table 4.3
      4. 5. Transportation
        1. Key Message 1: Reliability and Capacity at Risk
          1. Figure 5.1
        2. Key Message 2: Coastal Impacts
          1. Figure 5.2
        3. Key Message 3: Weather Disruptions
          1. Figure 5.3
          2. Figure 5.4
          3. Table 5.1
        4. Key Message 4: Costs and Adaptation Options
          1. Figure 5.5
          2. Figure 5.6
      5. 6. Agriculture
        1. Key Message 1: Increasing Impacts on Agriculture
          1. Figure 6.1
          2. Figure 6.2
          3. Figure 6.3
          4. Figure 6.4
          5. Figure 6.5
          6. Figure 6.6
        2. Key Message 2: Weeds, Diseases, and Pests
        3. Key Message 3: Extreme Precipitation and Soil Erosion
          1. Figure 6.7
          2. Figure 6.8
          3. Figure 6.9
        4. Key Message 4: Heat and Drought Damage
        5. Key Message 5: Rate of Adaptation
        6. Key Message 6: Food Security
      6. 7. Forests
        1. Key Message 1: Increasing Forest Disturbances
          1. Figure 7.1
          2. Figure 7.2
          3. Figure 7.3
        2. Key Message 2: Changing Carbon Uptake
          1. Figure 7.4
          2. Figure 7.5
          3. Figure 7.6
        3. Key Message 3: Bioenergy Potential
          1. Figure 7.7
        4.  Key Message 4: Influences on Management Choices
          1. Figure 7.8
      7. 8. Ecosystems
        1. Key Message 1: Water
          1. Figure 8.1
          2. Figure 8.2
        2. Key Message 2: Extreme Events
        3. Key Message 3: Plants and Animals
        4. Key Message 4: Seasonal Patterns
        5. Key Message 5: Adaptation
          1. Figure 8.3
          2. Figure 8.4
      8. 9. Human Health
        1. Key Message 1: Wide-ranging Health Impacts
          1. Figure 9.1
          2. Figure 9.2
          3. Figure 9.3
          4. Figure 9.4
          5. Figure 9.5
          6. Figure 9.6
        2. Key Message 2: Most Vulnerable at Most Risk
          1. Figure 9.7
          2. Figure 9.8
          3. Figure 9.9
          4. Figure 9.10
        3. Key Message 3: Prevention Provides Protection
        4. Key Message 4: Responses Have Multiple Benefits
      9. 10. Energy, Water, and Land
        1. Figure 10.1
        2. Key Message 1: Cascading Events
          1. Figure 10.2
          2. Figure 10.3
          3. Figure 10.4
        3. Key Message 2: Options for Reducing Emissions and Climate Vulnerability
          1. Figure 10.5
          2. Figure 10.6
          3. Table 10.1
          4. Figure 10.7
          5. Figure 10.8
        4. Key Message 3: Challenges to Reducing Vulnerabilities
          1. Figure 10.9
          2. Figure 10.10
      10. 11. Urban
        1. Key Message 1: Urbanization and Infrastructure Systems
          1. Figure 11.1
        2. Key Message 2: Essential Services are Interdependent
          1. Figure 11.2
        3.  Key Message 3: Social Vulnerability and Human Well-Being
        4. Key Message 4: Trends in Urban Adaptation – Lessons from Current Adopters
          1. Figure 11.3
      11. 12. Indigenous Peoples
        1. Figure 12.1
        2. Figure 12.2
        3. Key Message 1: Forests, Fires, and Food
        4. Key Message 2: Water Quality and Quantity
          1. Figure 12.3
        5. Key Message 3: Declining Sea Ice
          1. Figure 12.4
          2. Figure 12.5
        6. Key Message 4: Permafrost Thaw
          1. Figure 12.6
        7. Key Message 5: Relocation
      12. 13. Land Use and Land Cover Change
        1. Figure 13.1
        2. Table 13.1
        3. Table 13.2
        4.  
        5. Figure 13.2
        6. Figure 13.3
        7. Key Message 1: Effects on Communities and Ecosystems
          1. Figure 13.4
        8. Key Message 2: Effects on Climate Processes
        9. Key Message 3: Adapting to Climate Change
        10. Key Message 4: Reducing Greenhouse Gas Levels
      13. 14. Rural Communities
        1. Figure 14.1
        2. Figure 14.2
        3. Key Message 1: Rural Economies
          1. Figure 14.3
          2. Figure 14.4
        4. Key Message 2: Responding to Risks
          1. Figure 14.5
        5. Key Message 3: Adaptation
      14. 15. Biogeochemical Cycles
        1. Key Message 1: Human-Induced Changes
          1. Figure 15.1
          2. Figure 15.2
        2. Key Message 2: Sinks and Cycles
          1. Figure 15.3
        3. Key Message 3: Impacts and Options
          1. Figure 15.4
          2. Table 15.1
          3. Figure 15.5
          4. Figure 15.6
    14. REGIONS
      1. Introductions
        1. Table 1: Composition of NCA Regions
        2. References
      2. 16. Northeast
        1. Figure 16.1
        2. Figure 16.2
        3. Figure 16.3
        4. Figure 16.4
        5. Key Message 1: Climate Risks to People
          1. Figure 16.5
        6. Key Message 2: Stressed Infrastructure
          1. Table 16.1
          2. Figure 16.6
        7. Key Message 3: Agricultural and Ecosystem Impacts
        8. Key Message 4: Planning and Adaptation
          1. Figure 16.7
          2. Figure 16.8
      3. 17. Southeast
        1. Figure 17.1
        2. Figure 17.2
        3. Figure 17.3
        4. Figure 17.4
        5. Figure 17.5
        6. Key Message 1: Sea Level Rise Threats
          1. Figure 17.6
          2. Figure 17.7
          3. Figure 17.8
        7. Key Message 2: Increasing Temperatures
          1. Figure 17.9
          2. Figure 17.10
        8. Key Message 3: Water Availability
          1. Figure 17.11
          2. Figure 17.12
      4. 18. Midwest
        1. Figure 18.1
        2. Key Message 1: Impacts to Agriculture
          1. Figure 18.2
          2. Figure 18.3
        3. Key Message 2: Forest Composition
          1. Figure 18.4
        4. Key Message 3: Public Health Risks
          1. Figure 18.5
        5. Key Message 4: Fossil-Fuel Dependent Electricity System
        6. Key Message 5: Increased Rainfall and Flooding
          1. Figure 18.6
        7. Key Message 6: Increased Risks to the Great Lakes
          1. Figure 18.7
      5. 19. Great Plains
        1. Figure 19.1
        2. Figure 19.2
        3. Figure 19.3
        4. Figure 19.4
        5. Figure 19.5
        6. Key Message 1: Energy, Water and Land Use
        7. Key Message 2: Sustaining Agriculture
          1. Figure 19.6
        8. Key Message 3: Conservation and Adaptation
          1. Figure 19.7
        9. Key Message 4: Vulnerable Communities
          1. Figure 19.8
          2. Figure 19.9
        10. Key Message 5: Opportunities to Build Resilience
          1. Figure 19.10
      6. 20. Southwest
        1. Figure 20.1
        2. Key Message 1: Reduced Snowpack and Streamflows
          1. Figure 20.2
          2. Figure 20.3
        3. Key Message 2: Threats to Agriculture
          1. Figure 20.4
        4. Key Message 3: Increased Wildfire
        5. Key Message 4: Sea Level Rise and Coastal Damage
          1. Figure 20.5
        6. Key Message 5: Heat Threats to Health
          1. Figure 20.6
      7. 21. Northwest
        1. Key Message 1: Water-related Challenges
          1. Figure 21.1
          2. Figure 21.2
        2. Key Message 2: Coastal Vulnerabilities
          1. Figure 21.3
          2. Figure 21.4
          3. Figure 21.5
        3. Key Message 3: Impacts on Forests
          1. Figure 21.6
          2. Figure 21.7
        4. Key Message 4: Adapting Agriculture
      8. 22. Alaska
        1. Figure 22.1
        2. Key Message 1: Disappearing Sea Ice
          1. Figure 22.2
          2. Figure 22.3
          3. Figure 22.4
        3. Key Message 2: Shrinking Glaciers
        4. Key Message 3: Thawing Permafrost
          1. Figure 22.5
          2. Figure 22.6
          3. Figure 22.7
        5. Key Message 4: Changing Ocean Temperatures and Chemistry
        6. Key Message 5: Native Communities
          1. Figure 22.8
      9. 23. Hawaii and Pacific Islands
        1. Figure 23.1
        2. Key Message 1: Changes to Marine Ecosystems
          1. Figure 23.2
          2. Figure 23.3
        3. Key Message 2: Decreasing Freshwater Availability
          1. Figure 23.4
        4. Key Message 3: Increased Stress on Native Plants and Animals
          1. Figure 23.5
        5. Key Message 4: Sea Level Rising
          1. Figure 23.6
          2. Figure 23.7
          3. Figure 23.8
        6. Key Message 4: Sea Level Rising
      10. 24. Oceans
        1. Key Message 1: Rising Ocean Temperatures
          1. Figure 24.1
          2. Figure 24.2
        2. Key Message 2: Ocean Acidification Alters Marine Ecosystems
          1. Figure 24.3
        3. Key Message 3: Habitat Loss Affects Marine Life
          1. Figure 24.4
        4. Key Message 4: Rising Temperatures Linked to Diseases
        5. Key Message 5: Economic Impacts of Marine-related Climate Change
        6. Key Message 6: Initiatives Serve as a Model
          1. Figure 24.5
      11. 25. Coasts
        1. Figure 25.1
        2. Figure 25.2
        3. Figure 25.3
        4. Figure 25.4
        5. Figure 25.5
        6. Key Message 1: Coastal Lifelines at Risk
          1. Figure 25.6
        7. Key Message 2: Economic Disruption
          1. Figure 25.7
        8. Key Message 3: Uneven Social Vulnerability
        9. Key Message 4: Vulnerable Ecosystems
          1. Figure 25.8
          2. Figure 25.9
        10. Key Message 5: The State of Coastal Adaptation
    15. RESPONSE STRATEGIES
      1. Introduction
      2. 26. Decision Support
        1. Key Messages
          1. Key Message 1: Decision Support
          2. Key Message 2: Decision Support
          3. Key Message 3: Decision Support
          4. Key Message 4: Decision Support
          5. Key Message 5: Decision Support
        2. Table 26.1
        3. Figure 26.1
        4. Figure 26.2
        5. Figure 26.3
        6. Figure 26.4
        7. Table 26.2
        8. Figure 26.5
        9. Figure 26.6
      3. 27. Mitigation
        1. Key Messages
          1. Key Message 1: Mitigation
          2. Key Message 2: Mitigation
          3. Key Message 3: Mitigation
          4. Key Message 4: Mitigation
          5. Key Message 5: Mitigation
        2. Figure 27.1
        3. Figure 27.2
        4. Figure 27.3
        5. Table 27.1
        6. Table 27.2
      4. 28. Adaptation
        1. Key Messages
          1. Key Message 1: Adaptation
          2. Key Message 2: Adaptation
          3. Key Message 3: Adaptation
          4. Key Message 4: Adaptation
          5. Key Message 5: Adaptation
          6. Key Message 6: Adaptation
        2. Table 28.1
        3. Figure 28.1
        4. Table 28.2
        5. Table 28.3
        6. Table 28.4
        7. Table 28.5
        8. Figure 28.2
        9. Figure 28.3
        10. Table 28.6
        11. Figure 28.4
        12. Figure 28.5
        13. Figure 28.6
      5. 29. Research Needs
      6. 30. Sustained Assessment
    16. APPENDICIES
      1. Appendix 1: Process
        1. Introduction
        2. NCA Goal and Vision
        3. Legislative Foundations
        4. U.S. Global Change Research Program
        5. National Climate Assessment (NCA) Components
          1. Figure 1
        6. Creating the Third NCA Report
          1. Process Development
          2. Figure 2
          3. Technical Input Reports
          4. Third NCA Report Draft Development and Review
          5. NCA Final Report
          6. Engagement Activities
          7. Process and Methodology Workshops
          8. Agency-Sponsored Technical Input Development Workshops
          9. Listening Sessions
          10. Regional Town Hall Meetings
          11. NCAnet Partners Activities
        7. References
      2. Appendix 2: Information Quality
        1. Summary of Information Quality Assurance Process for the Third National Climate Assessment Report
          1. References
      3. Appendix 3: Climate Science
        1. Cover Page
          1. Convening Lead Authors
          2. Lead Authors
          3. Contributing Authors
          4. Recommended Citation for Chapter
          5. On the Web
        2. Supplemental Messages
        3. Supplemental Message 1
          1. Figure 1
          2. Figure 2
          3. Figure 3
          4. Figure 4
          5. Figure 5
          6. Figure 6
        4. Supplemental Message 2
          1. Figure 7
          2. Figure 8
          3. Figure 9
          4. Figure 10
          5. Figure 11
          6. Figure 12
        5. Supplemental Message 3
          1. Figure 13
          2. Figure 14
          3. Figure 15
        6. Supplemental Message 4
          1. Figure 16
          2. Figure 17
          3. Figure 18
        7. Supplemental Message 5
          1. Figure 19
          2. Figure 20
          3. Figure 21
          4. Figure 22
          5. Figure 23
        8. Supplemental Message 6
          1. Figure 24
          2. Figure 25
          3. Figure 26
        9. Supplemental Message 7
          1. Figure 27
          2. Figure 28
        10. Supplemental Message 8
          1. Figure 29
          2. Figure 30
          3. Figure 31
        11. Supplemental Message 9
          1. Figure 32
        12. Supplemental Message 10
          1. Figure 33
          2. Figure 34
          3. Figure 35
          4. Figure 36
        13. Supplemental Message 11
          1. Figure 37
          2. Figure 38
          3. Figure 39
          4. Figure 40
        14. Supplemental Message 12
          1. Figure 41
          2. Figure 42
      4. Appendix 4: FAQs
        1. Cover Page
          1. Convening Lead Authors
          2. Lead Authors
          3. Contributing Authors
          4. Recommended Citation for Chapter
          5. On the Web
        2. A. How can we predict what climate will be like in 100 years if we can’t even predict the weather next week?
          1. Figure 1
        3. B. Is the climate changing? How do we know?
          1. Figure 2
          2. Figure 3
        4. C. Climate is always changing. How is recent change different than in the past?
          1. Figure 4
          2. Figure 5
        5. D. Is the globally averaged surface temperature still increasing? Isn’t there recent evidence that it is actually cooling?
          1. Figure 6
          2. Figure 7
        6. E. Is it getting warmer at the same rate everywhere? Will the warming continue?
          1. Figure 8
          2. Figure 9
        7. F. How long have scientists been investigating human influences on climate?
          1. Figure 10
        8. G. How can the small proportion of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have such a large effect on our climate?
          1. Figure 11
        9. H. Could the sun or other natural factors explain the observed warming of the past 50 years?
          1. Figure 12
        10. I. How do we know that human activities are the primary cause of recent climate change?
          1. Figure 13
          2. Figure 14
        11. J. What is and is not debated among climate scientists about climate change?
          1. Figure 15
        12. K. Is the global surface temperature record good enough to determine whether climate is changing?
          1. Figure 16
        13. L. Is Antarctica gaining or losing ice? What about Greenland?
          1. Figure 17
        14. M. Weren’t there predictions of global cooling in the 1970s?
          1. Figure 18
        15. N. How is climate projected to change in the future?
          1. Figure 19
        16. O. Does climate change affect severe weather?
        17. P. How are the oceans affected by climate change?
          1. Figure 20
        18. Q. What is ocean acidification?
          1. Figure 21
        19. R. How reliable are the computer models of the Earth’s climate?
          1. Figure 22
        20. S. What are the key uncertainties about climate change?
          1. Figure 23
        21. T. Are there tipping points in the climate system?
          1. Figure 24
        22. U. How is climate change affecting society?
          1. Figure 25
        23. V. Are there benefits to warming?
        24. W. Are some people more vulnerable than others?
        25. X. Are there ways to reduce climate change?
          1. Figure 26
        26. Y. Are there advantages to acting sooner rather than later?
          1. Figure 27
        27. Z. Can we reverse global warming?
          1. Figure 28
      5. Appendix 5: Scenarios and Models
        1. Scenarios
          1. Emissions Scenarios
          2. Climate Scenarios and Climate Models
          3. Figure 1
          4. Emissions scenarios
          5. Sea Level Rise Scenarios
          6. Figure 2
        2. Models and Sources of Uncertainty
        3. References
      6. Appendix 6: Future Assessment Topics
        1. Economic Analyses
        2. National Security
        3. Interactions between Adaptation and Mitigation Activities
        4. References
      7. Abbreviations and Acronyms
    17. Back Cover
  9. NEXT

  1. Story
    1. Summary of GCIS Linked Data Tables
    2. Tables in Climate Change Impacts in the United States
    3. GCIS Data Model
    4. GCIS Ontology Table
    5. Data Publications Table
    6. Overview References
    7. White House State of the Climate Google Hangout
  2. Slides
    1. Slide 1 National Climate Assessment
    2. Slide 2 Data, Resources, & MUltimedia
    3. Slide 3 Global Change Information System
    4. Slide 4 About the Global Change Information System
    5. Slide 5 Global Change Information System datasets
    6. Slide 6 Climate Changeand President Obama's Action Plan
    7. Slide 7 Data Science for Climate Change MindTouch Knowledge Base
    8. Slide 8 Data Science for Climate Change Excel Datasets
    9. Slide 9 Data Science for Climate Change Spotfire Data Browser 1
    10. Slide 10 Data Science for Climate Change Spotfire Data Browser 2
  3. Spotfire Dashboard
  4. Research Notes
  5. Datasets
    1. Climate.Data.Gov
    2. U.S. Climate Divisional Dataset Version 2
    3. NCDC Global Surface Temperature Anomalies
    4. Global Historical Climatology Network - Daily
    5. GRACE Static Field Geopotential Coefficients JPL Release 5.0 GSM
    6. Bias-Corrected and Spatially Downscaled Surface Water Projections Hydrologic Data
    7. Daily 1/8-degree gridded meteorological data [1 Jan 1949 - 31 Dec 2010]
    8. Eighth degree-CONUS Daily Downscaled Climate Projections
    9. World Climate Research Programme's (WCRP's) Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 3 (CMIP3) multi-model dataset
    10. Global Historical Climatology Network - Monthly
    11. NCEP/NCAR Reanalysis
  6. Data, Resources, & Multimedia
    1. Global Change Information System
      1. About
        1. Global Change
        2. Identifiers
        3. Provenance and Semantics
        4. GCIS Development Effort
        5. GCIS Version
        6. Contacting us and contributing
      2. Examples
        1. RESTful interface
        2. SPARQL interface
        3. Applications
      3. Data model
        1. Resources
        2. Identifiers
        3. Relational Model
        4. Semantic Model
      4. API Reference
  7. Climate Change
    1. THE NATIONAL CLIMATE ASSESSMENT
    2. Impacts
      1. DUE TO CLIMATE CHANGE, THE WEATHER IS GETTING MORE EXTREME
        1. TEMPERATURES ARE RISING ACROSS THE U.S.
          1. GLOBALLY, THE 10 WARMEST YEARS ON RECORD ALL OCCURRED SINCE 1998.
          2. FOR THE CONTIGUOUS 48 STATES, 7 OF THE 10 WARMEST YEARS ON RECORD HAVE OCCURRED SINCE 1998.
      2. 2012 WAS THE SECOND MOST EXTREME YEAR ON RECORD FOR THE NATION
        1. RECORD HEAT ACROSS THE U.S.
        2. WARMEST YEAR ON RECORD FOR THE U.S.
        3. RECORD HIGH TEMPERATURES TIED OR BROKEN
        4. ONE-THIRD OF THE U.S. POPULATION EXPERIENCED 100˚ TEMPERATURES
        5. DROUGHTS, WILDFIRES, AND FLOODS ARE ALL MORE FREQUENT AND INTENSE
        6. PRECIPITATION WAS 2.57 INCHES BELOW THE 20TH CENTURY AVERAGE
        7. 15TH DRIEST YEAR ON RECORD
        8. WILDFIRES BURNED MORE THAN 9.3 MILLION U.S. ACRES
      3. EXTREME WEATHER COMES AT A COST
        1. CLIMATE AND WEATHER DISASTERS IN 2012 ALONE COST THE AMERICAN ECONOMY MORE THAN $100 BILLION
          1. U.S. DROUGHT/HEATWAVE
          2. SUPERSTORM SANDY
          3. COMBINED SEVERE WEATHER
          4. WESTERN WILDFIRES
          5. HURRICANE ISAAC
        2. THERE ARE ALSO PUBLIC HEALTH THREATS ASSOCIATED WITH EXTREME WEATHER
    3. Carbon Pollution
      1. CARBON POLLUTION IS THE BIGGEST DRIVER OF CLIMATE CHANGE
        1. GLOBAL TEMPERATURES AND CARBON DIOXIDE LEVELS ARE ON THE RISE
        2. U.S. GREENHOUSE GAS POLLUTION INCLUDES
          1. CARBON DIOXIDE (CO2), 82%
          2. FLUORINATED GASES, 3%
          3. NITROUS OXIDE (N2O), 6%
          4. METHANE (CH4), 9%
        3. WE'VE MADE PROGRESS THANKS TO
          1. STRONGER FUEL ECONOMY STANDARDS
          2. INCREASING CLEAN ENERGY
          3. DECREASED CARBON POLLUTION
          4. RENEWABLE ENERGY AND EFFICIENCY TARGETS
        4. BUT WE HAVE MORE WORK TO DO
    4. Cutting Carbon Pollution
      1. THE PRESIDENT'S PLAN TO CUT CARBON POLLUTION IN AMERICA
        1. REDUCING CARBON POLLUTION FROM POWER PLANTS
        2. ACCELERATING CLEAN ENERGY LEADERSHIP
        3. BUILDING A 21ST CENTURY CLEAN ENERGY INFRASTRUCTURE
        4. CUTTING ENERGY WASTE IN HOMES, BUSINESSES, AND FACTORIES
        5. REDUCING OTHER GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS
        6. FEDERAL LEADERSHIP
    5. Preparing for the Impacts
      1. PREPARE FOR THE IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE
        1. ASSESS THE IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE
        2. SUPPORT CLIMATE-RESILIENT INVESTMENTS
        3. REBUILD AND LEARN FROM SUPERSTORM SANDY
        4. LAUNCH AN EFFORT TO CREATE SUSTAINABLE AND RESILIENT HOSPITALS
        5. MAINTAIN AGRICULTURE PRODUCTIVITY
        6. PROVIDE TOOLS FOR CLIMATE RESILIENCE
        7. REDUCE RISK OF DROUGHTS AND WILDFIRES
    6. Lead International Efforts
      1. LEAD INTERNATIONAL EFFORTS TO ADDRESS GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE
        1. WORK WITH OTHER COUNTRIES TO TAKE ACTION TO ADDRESS CLIMATE CHANGE
          1. LEAD PUBLIC SECTOR FINANCING TOWARD CLEANER ENERGY
          2. BILAT COOPERATION WITH MAJOR ECONOMIES
          3. EXPAND CLEAN ENERGY USE AND CUT ENERGY WASTE
          4. COMBAT SHORT-LIVED CLIMATE POLLUTANTS
          5. REDUCE EMISSIONS FROM DEFORESTATION AND FOREST DEGRADATION
          6. NEGOTIATE GLOBAL FREE TRADE IN ENVIRONMENTAL GOODS AND SERVICES
          7. ENHANCE MULTILATERAL ENGAGEMENT WITH MAJOR ECONOMIES
          8. MOBILIZE CLIMATE FINANCE
        2. LEAD EFFORTS TO ADDRESS CLIMATE CHANGE THROUGH INTERNATIONAL NEGOTIATIONS
          1. MOVING FORWARD
    7. The Latest
      1. Make sure you get the latest news about climate change
  8. Climate Change Impacts in the United States
    1. Cover Page
    2. Inside Cover Page
    3. Recommended Citation
    4. Letter to Congress
    5. About the National Climate Assessment
    6. About the HIghlights
    7. Federal National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee (NCADAC)
      1. Chair
      2. Vice-Chairs
      3. Committee Members
      4. Ex Officio Committee Members
      5. Federal Executive Team
    8. National Climate Assessment Staff
      1. USGCRP National Climate Assessment Coordination Office
      2. Technical Support Unit, National Climatic Data Center, NOAA/NESDIS
      3. Review Editors
      4. United States Global Change Research Program
      5. Subcommittee on Global Change Research
        1. Chair
        2. Vice Chairs
        3. Principals
      6. Interagency National Climate Assessment Working Group
        1. Chair
        2. Vice-Chair
        3. National Aeronautics and Space Administration
        4. National Science Foundation
        5. Smithsonian Institution
        6. U.S. Department of Agriculture
        7. U.S. Department of Commerce
        8. U.S. Department of Defense
        9. U.S. Department of Energy
        10. U.S. Department of Homeland Security
        11. U.S. Department of the Interior
        12. U.S. Department of State
        13. U.S. Department of Transportation
        14. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
        15. White House Council on Environmental Quality
        16. White House Office of Management and Budget
        17. White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
    9. Climate Change and the American People
    10. About This Report
      1. REPORT REQUIREMENTS, PRODUCTION, AND APPROVAL
      2. REPORT SOURCES
      3. A guide to the report
      4. OVERARCHING PERSPECTIVES
        1. Global Change Context
        2. Societal Choices
        3. International Context
        4. Thresholds, Tipping Points, and Surprises
      5. RISK MANAGEMENT FRAMEWORK
      6. RESPONDING TO CLIMATE CHANGE
      7. TRACEABLE ACCOUNTS: PROCESS AND CONFIDENCE
    11. 1. OVERVIEW
      1. Climate Change: Present and Future
      2. Widespread Impacts
      3. Response Options
      4. Report Findings
      5. References
        1. 1
        2. 2
        3. 3
        4. 4
        5. 5
        6. 6
        7. 7
        8. 8
        9. 9
        10. 10
        11. 11
        12. 12
        13. 13
        14. 14
        15. 15
        16. 16
        17. 17
        18. 18
        19. 19
        20. 20
        21. 21
        22. 22
        23. 23
        24. 24
        25. 25
        26. 26
        27. 27
        28. 28
        29. 29
        30. 30
        31. 31
        32. 32
        33. a
        34. b
        35. c
        36. d
        37. e
    12. 2. OUR CHANGING CLIMATE
      1. Key Message 1: Observed Climate Change
        1. Figure 2.1
        2. Figure 2.2
        3. Figure 2.3
      2. Key Message 2: Future Climate Change
        1. Figure 2.4
        2. Figure 2.5
        3. Figure 2.6
      3. Key Message 3: Recent U.S. Temperature Trends
        1. Figure 2.7
        2. Figure 2.8
      4. Key Message 4: Lengthening Frost-free Season
        1. Figure 2.9
        2. Figure 2.10
        3. Figure 2.11
      5. Key Message 5: U.S. Precipitation Change
        1. Figure 2.12
        2. Figure 2.13
        3. Figure 2.14
        4. Figure 2.15
        5. Figure 2.16
      6. Key Message 6: Heavy Downpours Increasing
        1. Figure 2.17
        2. Figure 2.18
        3. Figure 2.19
      7. Key Message 7: Extreme Weather
        1. Figure 2.20
        2. Figure 2.21
        3. Figure 2.22
      8. Key Message 8: Changes in Hurricanes
        1. Figure 2.23
      9. Key Message 9: Changes in Storms
        1. Figure 2.24
      10. Key Message 10: Sea Level Rise
        1. Figure 2.25
        2. Figure 2.26
      11. Key Message 11: Melting Ice
        1. Figure 2.27
        2. Figure 2.28
        3. Figure 2.29
      12. Key Message 12: Ocean Acidification
        1. Figure 2.30
        2. Figure 2.31
    13. SECTORS
      1. Introduction
      2. 3. Water
        1. Key Message 1: Changing Rain, Snow, and Runoff
          1. Figure 3.1
          2. Figure 3.2
          3. Figure 3.3
          4. Figure 3.4
        2. Key Message 2: Droughts Intensify
        3. Key Message 3: Increased Risk of Flooding in Many Parts of the U.S.
          1. Figure 3.5
        4. Key Message 4: Groundwater Availability
          1. Figure 3.6
        5. Key Message 5: Risks to Coastal Aquifers and Wetlands
        6. Key Message 6: Water Quality Risks to Lakes and Rivers
          1. Figure 3.7
        7. Key Message 7: Changes to Water Demand and Use
          1. Figure 3.8
          2. Figure 3.9
          3. Figure 3.10
          4. Figure 3.11
        8. Key Message 8: Drought is Affecting Water Supplies
        9. Key Message 9: Flood Effects on People and Communities
        10. Key Message 10: Water Resources Management
          1. Figure 3.12
        11. Key Message 11: Adaptation Opportunities and Challenges
      3. 4. Energy
        1. Key Message 1: Disruptions from Extreme Weather
          1. Figure 4.1
        2. Key Message 2: Climate Change and Seasonal Energy Demands
          1. Figure 4.2
          2. Figure 4.3
          3. Table 4.1
        3. Key Message 3: Implications of Less Water for Energy Production
          1. Figure 4.4
        4. Key Message 4: Sea Level Rise and Infrastructure Damage
          1. Figure 4.5
        5. Key Message 5: Future Energy Systems
          1. Table 4.2
          2. Table 4.3
      4. 5. Transportation
        1. Key Message 1: Reliability and Capacity at Risk
          1. Figure 5.1
        2. Key Message 2: Coastal Impacts
          1. Figure 5.2
        3. Key Message 3: Weather Disruptions
          1. Figure 5.3
          2. Figure 5.4
          3. Table 5.1
        4. Key Message 4: Costs and Adaptation Options
          1. Figure 5.5
          2. Figure 5.6
      5. 6. Agriculture
        1. Key Message 1: Increasing Impacts on Agriculture
          1. Figure 6.1
          2. Figure 6.2
          3. Figure 6.3
          4. Figure 6.4
          5. Figure 6.5
          6. Figure 6.6
        2. Key Message 2: Weeds, Diseases, and Pests
        3. Key Message 3: Extreme Precipitation and Soil Erosion
          1. Figure 6.7
          2. Figure 6.8
          3. Figure 6.9
        4. Key Message 4: Heat and Drought Damage
        5. Key Message 5: Rate of Adaptation
        6. Key Message 6: Food Security
      6. 7. Forests
        1. Key Message 1: Increasing Forest Disturbances
          1. Figure 7.1
          2. Figure 7.2
          3. Figure 7.3
        2. Key Message 2: Changing Carbon Uptake
          1. Figure 7.4
          2. Figure 7.5
          3. Figure 7.6
        3. Key Message 3: Bioenergy Potential
          1. Figure 7.7
        4.  Key Message 4: Influences on Management Choices
          1. Figure 7.8
      7. 8. Ecosystems
        1. Key Message 1: Water
          1. Figure 8.1
          2. Figure 8.2
        2. Key Message 2: Extreme Events
        3. Key Message 3: Plants and Animals
        4. Key Message 4: Seasonal Patterns
        5. Key Message 5: Adaptation
          1. Figure 8.3
          2. Figure 8.4
      8. 9. Human Health
        1. Key Message 1: Wide-ranging Health Impacts
          1. Figure 9.1
          2. Figure 9.2
          3. Figure 9.3
          4. Figure 9.4
          5. Figure 9.5
          6. Figure 9.6
        2. Key Message 2: Most Vulnerable at Most Risk
          1. Figure 9.7
          2. Figure 9.8
          3. Figure 9.9
          4. Figure 9.10
        3. Key Message 3: Prevention Provides Protection
        4. Key Message 4: Responses Have Multiple Benefits
      9. 10. Energy, Water, and Land
        1. Figure 10.1
        2. Key Message 1: Cascading Events
          1. Figure 10.2
          2. Figure 10.3
          3. Figure 10.4
        3. Key Message 2: Options for Reducing Emissions and Climate Vulnerability
          1. Figure 10.5
          2. Figure 10.6
          3. Table 10.1
          4. Figure 10.7
          5. Figure 10.8
        4. Key Message 3: Challenges to Reducing Vulnerabilities
          1. Figure 10.9
          2. Figure 10.10
      10. 11. Urban
        1. Key Message 1: Urbanization and Infrastructure Systems
          1. Figure 11.1
        2. Key Message 2: Essential Services are Interdependent
          1. Figure 11.2
        3.  Key Message 3: Social Vulnerability and Human Well-Being
        4. Key Message 4: Trends in Urban Adaptation – Lessons from Current Adopters
          1. Figure 11.3
      11. 12. Indigenous Peoples
        1. Figure 12.1
        2. Figure 12.2
        3. Key Message 1: Forests, Fires, and Food
        4. Key Message 2: Water Quality and Quantity
          1. Figure 12.3
        5. Key Message 3: Declining Sea Ice
          1. Figure 12.4
          2. Figure 12.5
        6. Key Message 4: Permafrost Thaw
          1. Figure 12.6
        7. Key Message 5: Relocation
      12. 13. Land Use and Land Cover Change
        1. Figure 13.1
        2. Table 13.1
        3. Table 13.2
        4.  
        5. Figure 13.2
        6. Figure 13.3
        7. Key Message 1: Effects on Communities and Ecosystems
          1. Figure 13.4
        8. Key Message 2: Effects on Climate Processes
        9. Key Message 3: Adapting to Climate Change
        10. Key Message 4: Reducing Greenhouse Gas Levels
      13. 14. Rural Communities
        1. Figure 14.1
        2. Figure 14.2
        3. Key Message 1: Rural Economies
          1. Figure 14.3
          2. Figure 14.4
        4. Key Message 2: Responding to Risks
          1. Figure 14.5
        5. Key Message 3: Adaptation
      14. 15. Biogeochemical Cycles
        1. Key Message 1: Human-Induced Changes
          1. Figure 15.1
          2. Figure 15.2
        2. Key Message 2: Sinks and Cycles
          1. Figure 15.3
        3. Key Message 3: Impacts and Options
          1. Figure 15.4
          2. Table 15.1
          3. Figure 15.5
          4. Figure 15.6
    14. REGIONS
      1. Introductions
        1. Table 1: Composition of NCA Regions
        2. References
      2. 16. Northeast
        1. Figure 16.1
        2. Figure 16.2
        3. Figure 16.3
        4. Figure 16.4
        5. Key Message 1: Climate Risks to People
          1. Figure 16.5
        6. Key Message 2: Stressed Infrastructure
          1. Table 16.1
          2. Figure 16.6
        7. Key Message 3: Agricultural and Ecosystem Impacts
        8. Key Message 4: Planning and Adaptation
          1. Figure 16.7
          2. Figure 16.8
      3. 17. Southeast
        1. Figure 17.1
        2. Figure 17.2
        3. Figure 17.3
        4. Figure 17.4
        5. Figure 17.5
        6. Key Message 1: Sea Level Rise Threats
          1. Figure 17.6
          2. Figure 17.7
          3. Figure 17.8
        7. Key Message 2: Increasing Temperatures
          1. Figure 17.9
          2. Figure 17.10
        8. Key Message 3: Water Availability
          1. Figure 17.11
          2. Figure 17.12
      4. 18. Midwest
        1. Figure 18.1
        2. Key Message 1: Impacts to Agriculture
          1. Figure 18.2
          2. Figure 18.3
        3. Key Message 2: Forest Composition
          1. Figure 18.4
        4. Key Message 3: Public Health Risks
          1. Figure 18.5
        5. Key Message 4: Fossil-Fuel Dependent Electricity System
        6. Key Message 5: Increased Rainfall and Flooding
          1. Figure 18.6
        7. Key Message 6: Increased Risks to the Great Lakes
          1. Figure 18.7
      5. 19. Great Plains
        1. Figure 19.1
        2. Figure 19.2
        3. Figure 19.3
        4. Figure 19.4
        5. Figure 19.5
        6. Key Message 1: Energy, Water and Land Use
        7. Key Message 2: Sustaining Agriculture
          1. Figure 19.6
        8. Key Message 3: Conservation and Adaptation
          1. Figure 19.7
        9. Key Message 4: Vulnerable Communities
          1. Figure 19.8
          2. Figure 19.9
        10. Key Message 5: Opportunities to Build Resilience
          1. Figure 19.10
      6. 20. Southwest
        1. Figure 20.1
        2. Key Message 1: Reduced Snowpack and Streamflows
          1. Figure 20.2
          2. Figure 20.3
        3. Key Message 2: Threats to Agriculture
          1. Figure 20.4
        4. Key Message 3: Increased Wildfire
        5. Key Message 4: Sea Level Rise and Coastal Damage
          1. Figure 20.5
        6. Key Message 5: Heat Threats to Health
          1. Figure 20.6
      7. 21. Northwest
        1. Key Message 1: Water-related Challenges
          1. Figure 21.1
          2. Figure 21.2
        2. Key Message 2: Coastal Vulnerabilities
          1. Figure 21.3
          2. Figure 21.4
          3. Figure 21.5
        3. Key Message 3: Impacts on Forests
          1. Figure 21.6
          2. Figure 21.7
        4. Key Message 4: Adapting Agriculture
      8. 22. Alaska
        1. Figure 22.1
        2. Key Message 1: Disappearing Sea Ice
          1. Figure 22.2
          2. Figure 22.3
          3. Figure 22.4
        3. Key Message 2: Shrinking Glaciers
        4. Key Message 3: Thawing Permafrost
          1. Figure 22.5
          2. Figure 22.6
          3. Figure 22.7
        5. Key Message 4: Changing Ocean Temperatures and Chemistry
        6. Key Message 5: Native Communities
          1. Figure 22.8
      9. 23. Hawaii and Pacific Islands
        1. Figure 23.1
        2. Key Message 1: Changes to Marine Ecosystems
          1. Figure 23.2
          2. Figure 23.3
        3. Key Message 2: Decreasing Freshwater Availability
          1. Figure 23.4
        4. Key Message 3: Increased Stress on Native Plants and Animals
          1. Figure 23.5
        5. Key Message 4: Sea Level Rising
          1. Figure 23.6
          2. Figure 23.7
          3. Figure 23.8
        6. Key Message 4: Sea Level Rising
      10. 24. Oceans
        1. Key Message 1: Rising Ocean Temperatures
          1. Figure 24.1
          2. Figure 24.2
        2. Key Message 2: Ocean Acidification Alters Marine Ecosystems
          1. Figure 24.3
        3. Key Message 3: Habitat Loss Affects Marine Life
          1. Figure 24.4
        4. Key Message 4: Rising Temperatures Linked to Diseases
        5. Key Message 5: Economic Impacts of Marine-related Climate Change
        6. Key Message 6: Initiatives Serve as a Model
          1. Figure 24.5
      11. 25. Coasts
        1. Figure 25.1
        2. Figure 25.2
        3. Figure 25.3
        4. Figure 25.4
        5. Figure 25.5
        6. Key Message 1: Coastal Lifelines at Risk
          1. Figure 25.6
        7. Key Message 2: Economic Disruption
          1. Figure 25.7
        8. Key Message 3: Uneven Social Vulnerability
        9. Key Message 4: Vulnerable Ecosystems
          1. Figure 25.8
          2. Figure 25.9
        10. Key Message 5: The State of Coastal Adaptation
    15. RESPONSE STRATEGIES
      1. Introduction
      2. 26. Decision Support
        1. Key Messages
          1. Key Message 1: Decision Support
          2. Key Message 2: Decision Support
          3. Key Message 3: Decision Support
          4. Key Message 4: Decision Support
          5. Key Message 5: Decision Support
        2. Table 26.1
        3. Figure 26.1
        4. Figure 26.2
        5. Figure 26.3
        6. Figure 26.4
        7. Table 26.2
        8. Figure 26.5
        9. Figure 26.6
      3. 27. Mitigation
        1. Key Messages
          1. Key Message 1: Mitigation
          2. Key Message 2: Mitigation
          3. Key Message 3: Mitigation
          4. Key Message 4: Mitigation
          5. Key Message 5: Mitigation
        2. Figure 27.1
        3. Figure 27.2
        4. Figure 27.3
        5. Table 27.1
        6. Table 27.2
      4. 28. Adaptation
        1. Key Messages
          1. Key Message 1: Adaptation
          2. Key Message 2: Adaptation
          3. Key Message 3: Adaptation
          4. Key Message 4: Adaptation
          5. Key Message 5: Adaptation
          6. Key Message 6: Adaptation
        2. Table 28.1
        3. Figure 28.1
        4. Table 28.2
        5. Table 28.3
        6. Table 28.4
        7. Table 28.5
        8. Figure 28.2
        9. Figure 28.3
        10. Table 28.6
        11. Figure 28.4
        12. Figure 28.5
        13. Figure 28.6
      5. 29. Research Needs
      6. 30. Sustained Assessment
    16. APPENDICIES
      1. Appendix 1: Process
        1. Introduction
        2. NCA Goal and Vision
        3. Legislative Foundations
        4. U.S. Global Change Research Program
        5. National Climate Assessment (NCA) Components
          1. Figure 1
        6. Creating the Third NCA Report
          1. Process Development
          2. Figure 2
          3. Technical Input Reports
          4. Third NCA Report Draft Development and Review
          5. NCA Final Report
          6. Engagement Activities
          7. Process and Methodology Workshops
          8. Agency-Sponsored Technical Input Development Workshops
          9. Listening Sessions
          10. Regional Town Hall Meetings
          11. NCAnet Partners Activities
        7. References
      2. Appendix 2: Information Quality
        1. Summary of Information Quality Assurance Process for the Third National Climate Assessment Report
          1. References
      3. Appendix 3: Climate Science
        1. Cover Page
          1. Convening Lead Authors
          2. Lead Authors
          3. Contributing Authors
          4. Recommended Citation for Chapter
          5. On the Web
        2. Supplemental Messages
        3. Supplemental Message 1
          1. Figure 1
          2. Figure 2
          3. Figure 3
          4. Figure 4
          5. Figure 5
          6. Figure 6
        4. Supplemental Message 2
          1. Figure 7
          2. Figure 8
          3. Figure 9
          4. Figure 10
          5. Figure 11
          6. Figure 12
        5. Supplemental Message 3
          1. Figure 13
          2. Figure 14
          3. Figure 15
        6. Supplemental Message 4
          1. Figure 16
          2. Figure 17
          3. Figure 18
        7. Supplemental Message 5
          1. Figure 19
          2. Figure 20
          3. Figure 21
          4. Figure 22
          5. Figure 23
        8. Supplemental Message 6
          1. Figure 24
          2. Figure 25
          3. Figure 26
        9. Supplemental Message 7
          1. Figure 27
          2. Figure 28
        10. Supplemental Message 8
          1. Figure 29
          2. Figure 30
          3. Figure 31
        11. Supplemental Message 9
          1. Figure 32
        12. Supplemental Message 10
          1. Figure 33
          2. Figure 34
          3. Figure 35
          4. Figure 36
        13. Supplemental Message 11
          1. Figure 37
          2. Figure 38
          3. Figure 39
          4. Figure 40
        14. Supplemental Message 12
          1. Figure 41
          2. Figure 42
      4. Appendix 4: FAQs
        1. Cover Page
          1. Convening Lead Authors
          2. Lead Authors
          3. Contributing Authors
          4. Recommended Citation for Chapter
          5. On the Web
        2. A. How can we predict what climate will be like in 100 years if we can’t even predict the weather next week?
          1. Figure 1
        3. B. Is the climate changing? How do we know?
          1. Figure 2
          2. Figure 3
        4. C. Climate is always changing. How is recent change different than in the past?
          1. Figure 4
          2. Figure 5
        5. D. Is the globally averaged surface temperature still increasing? Isn’t there recent evidence that it is actually cooling?
          1. Figure 6
          2. Figure 7
        6. E. Is it getting warmer at the same rate everywhere? Will the warming continue?
          1. Figure 8
          2. Figure 9
        7. F. How long have scientists been investigating human influences on climate?
          1. Figure 10
        8. G. How can the small proportion of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have such a large effect on our climate?
          1. Figure 11
        9. H. Could the sun or other natural factors explain the observed warming of the past 50 years?
          1. Figure 12
        10. I. How do we know that human activities are the primary cause of recent climate change?
          1. Figure 13
          2. Figure 14
        11. J. What is and is not debated among climate scientists about climate change?
          1. Figure 15
        12. K. Is the global surface temperature record good enough to determine whether climate is changing?
          1. Figure 16
        13. L. Is Antarctica gaining or losing ice? What about Greenland?
          1. Figure 17
        14. M. Weren’t there predictions of global cooling in the 1970s?
          1. Figure 18
        15. N. How is climate projected to change in the future?
          1. Figure 19
        16. O. Does climate change affect severe weather?
        17. P. How are the oceans affected by climate change?
          1. Figure 20
        18. Q. What is ocean acidification?
          1. Figure 21
        19. R. How reliable are the computer models of the Earth’s climate?
          1. Figure 22
        20. S. What are the key uncertainties about climate change?
          1. Figure 23
        21. T. Are there tipping points in the climate system?
          1. Figure 24
        22. U. How is climate change affecting society?
          1. Figure 25
        23. V. Are there benefits to warming?
        24. W. Are some people more vulnerable than others?
        25. X. Are there ways to reduce climate change?
          1. Figure 26
        26. Y. Are there advantages to acting sooner rather than later?
          1. Figure 27
        27. Z. Can we reverse global warming?
          1. Figure 28
      5. Appendix 5: Scenarios and Models
        1. Scenarios
          1. Emissions Scenarios
          2. Climate Scenarios and Climate Models
          3. Figure 1
          4. Emissions scenarios
          5. Sea Level Rise Scenarios
          6. Figure 2
        2. Models and Sources of Uncertainty
        3. References
      6. Appendix 6: Future Assessment Topics
        1. Economic Analyses
        2. National Security
        3. Interactions between Adaptation and Mitigation Activities
        4. References
      7. Abbreviations and Acronyms
    17. Back Cover
  9. NEXT

Story

Climate Change: Where's the Data?

The Here's what's trending on Twitter this week: 5 technologies that will help big data cross the chasm, included:

BRDI @paulfuhlir

Making progress on President's #ActOnClimate plan, but there's still more to do: go.wh.gov/SC7YFb". What about the supporting data?

 

Climate Change

Learn about the dangerous effects of climate change, and President Obama's plan to combat it. #ActOnClimate

I had already asked that about the White House Infographic: Climate Change and the President Obama's Action Plan Infographic: Where is the data for this?

So the web site says here are the data sets, but are they reusable so one can make the scientific report a data publication?

My audit trail to answer that question starting at GlobalChange.gov is as follows:

  • Data, Resources, & Multimedia​: The reports, assessments, and datasets featured here are primarily drawn from USGCRP's Global Change Information System, a web-based portal for Federal global change data and products.
  • Datasets: Access Federal climate data resources and browse select datasets associated with the Third National Climate Assessment.

The Global Change Information System, subtitled: Providing structured global change information, in a more structured form below, is:

The following is a series of data tables extracted from the GCIS and the report.

Summary of GCIS Linked Data Tables

There are 14 linked data tables in the Global Change Information System (GCDIS) with many alternative formats summarized in the linked data table below and copied to a spreadsheet.

 

Category Sub-category Items Number
Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment chapters 43
nca3 report  Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment figures 284
nca3 report  Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment findings 161
nca3 report  Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment tables 19
nca3 report  Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment references 3395
Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment Same As Above Same As Above
publications Reports Reports 700
publications Images Images 281
publications Books Books 186
publications Journals Journals 536
publications Articles Articles 2086
publications Web Pages Web Pages 101
publications Data Sets Data Sets 23
People People 1022
contributors Organizations Organizations 828

 

See one of the 14 tables below.

Tables in Climate Change Impacts in the United States

Source: http://data.globalchange.gov/report/nca3/table

 

identifier numeric report chapter arrays files
energy-regional-impacts 4.1 Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment nca3 chapter 4 : Energy Supply and Use    
energy-adaptation 4.2 Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment nca3 chapter 4 : Energy Supply and Use    
energy-supply-national-regional 4.3 Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment nca3 chapter 4 : Energy Supply and Use    
national-expectations 5.1 Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment nca3 chapter 5 : Transportation    
wel-stress 10.1 Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment nca3 chapter 10 : Energy, Water, and Land Use    
land-cover-characteristics-nca-regions-yr2001 13.1 Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment nca3 chapter 13 : Land Use and Land Cover Change    
percent-change-in-land-cover 13.2 Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment nca3 chapter 13 : Land Use and Land Cover Change    
slr-impacts-infrastructure 16.1 Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment nca3 chapter 16 : Northeast    
decisions-scales 26.1 Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment nca3 chapter 26 : Decision Support: Connecting Science, Risk Perception, and Decisions    
decisions-examples 26.2 Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment nca3 chapter 26 : Decision Support: Connecting Science, Risk Perception, and Decisions    
federal-initiatives 27.1 Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment nca3 chapter 27 : Mitigation    
state-initatives 27.2 Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment nca3 chapter 27 : Mitigation    
fed-adaptation-actions 28.1 Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment nca3 chapter 28 : Adaptation    
state-adaptation-actions 28.2 Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment nca3 chapter 28 : Adaptation    
local-regional-adaptation-actions 28.3 Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment nca3 chapter 28 : Adaptation    
ngo-adaptation-actions 28.4 Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment nca3 chapter 28 : Adaptation    
private-adaptation-actions 28.5 Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment nca3 chapter 28 : Adaptation    
adaptation-barriers 28.6 Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment nca3 chapter 28 : Adaptation    
composition-nca-regions .1 Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment nca3 Introduction to the Regions    

The GCIS also has a Data Model and Ontology shown below.

GCIS Data Model

Source: http://data.globalchange.gov/resources

 

Resources Description Data Publication
Report report, such as the nca3, or the nca2, may have chaptersfigurestablesfindings, and references associated with it. Well-defined URLs and Excel Index
Chapter chapter of a report, such as our-changing-climate, has a unique mnemonic identifiers, and possibly, a number. Some chapters, for instance, an appendix, do not have a number. Chapters may also have figurestables,findings, and references associated with them. Well-defined URLs
Figure figure in a report, such as observed-us-temperature-change, may be composed of one or more images. Well-defined URLs and MindTouch Cations
Finding finding in a report, such as global-climate-is-changing, has a statement as well as phrases and bibliographic references describing the confidence level, uncertainties, and evidence for that finding. Well-defined URLs
Table table, like a figure, is embedded in a report, and possibly in a chapter in a report. MIndTouch and Excel
Reference reference is a bibliographic entry or citation. They are uniquely identified with UUIDs, like e679d754-46b3-4d62-a7dd-4a7f0c727ebe. A reference in areport may appear in a chapterfigurefinding or table of that report. Moreover, a reference refers to a publication such as an articleweb page, or book. Well-defined URLs and Excel
Publication publication in the GCIS may be a report, a report-specific resource -- a chapterfigurefindingtable -- or a non-report-specific resource : a journalarticle,imageweb pagebook, or dataset. Well-defined URLs and Excel
Image An image may be associated with one or more figures. For instance, this image is a part of the figure described above. Well-defined URLs and Excel
Book book has an ISBN number, but is uniquely identified within GCIS using a UUID. Well-defined URLs and Excel
Journals journal may have a print and online ISSN number, and is uniquely identified within GCIS using a mnemonic identifier, like climatic-change  Well-defined URLs and Excel
Article An article in a journal has a DOI, like 10.1002/grl.50527, which is used to identify it uniquely in the GCIS. Well-defined URLs and Excel
Web Page A web page is assigned a UUID, like 26625ddf-dd19-4dd1-a35d-33c68c5b2d6e, to identify its state at a particular point in time. Well-defined URLs and Excel
Contributor contributor to a publication is an organization, a role, and optionally a person. Well-defined URLs and Excel
Organization An organization may be related to other organizations, and is identified uniquely by a mnemonic identifier. Well-defined URLs and Excel
Person A person is given a numeric id. If a person has an orcid, it is used to uniquely identify the person within the GCIS. The only associations between people and organizations is via their affiliations when contributing to GCIS publications. Well-defined URLs and Excel
Dataset dataset is given a unique mnemonic identifier, such as nca3-ncep-ncar-r1Datasets are considered a type of publication, as mentioned above. As such, they may be generated by an activity. MIndTouch and Excel
Activity An activity, such as 063fd83f-maurer-process, is used to describe the process of going from one publication to another. See below. Story

 

GCIS Ontology Table

The GCIS vocabulary is defined in the GCIS ontology consisting of 47 terms (classes) summarized in the data table below.

 

Term (Classes) Definition IRI
Level A parameter used to indicate the reliability of traceable accounts. http://data.globalchange.gov/gcis.owl#ConfidenceLevel
Agent Someone or something that bears some form of responsibility for an activity taking place, for the existence of an entity, or for another agent's activity. http://data.globalchange.gov/gcis.owl#Agent
Algorithm A process or a set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations. http://data.globalchange.gov/gcis.owl#Algorithm
Array A group of numbers, signs or values arranged in rows and columns. http://data.globalchange.gov/gcis.owl#Array
Calibration A comparison between measurements: comparing a measurement to an observed measurement or to a measurement that is deemed accurate. http://data.globalchange.gov/gcis.owl#Calibration
Chapter One of the main divisions of a relatively lengthy piece of writing, such as a book, that is usually numbered and/or titled. http://data.globalchange.gov/gcis.owl#Chapter
Chapter Writing An activity that writes chapters. http://data.globalchange.gov/gcis.owl#ChapterWriting
Committee A group of people officially delegated to perform a function, such as investigating, considering, reporting, or acting on a matter. http://data.globalchange.gov/gcis.owl#Committee
Confidence Assertion The confidence assertion of a traceable account. http://data.globalchange.gov/gcis.ow...denceAssertion
Dataset Any organized collection of data or information that has a common theme. Examples include lists, tables, and databases, etc. http://data.globalchange.gov/gcis.owl#Dataset
Dataset Capture An activity that captures datasets. http://data.globalchange.gov/gcis.owl#DatasetCapture
Expedition An organized journey with a particular purpose. http://data.globalchange.gov/gcis.owl#Expedition
Experiment A scientific test which is conducted to ascertain the response to an external event/stimulus. http://data.globalchange.gov/gcis.owl#Experiment
Figure A graphical/visual item in a publication that normally is referred to by a number and that has a caption. http://data.globalchange.gov/gcis.owl#Figure
Figure Compiling An activity that compiles figures. http://data.globalchange.gov/gcis.owl#FigureCompiling
Finding A significant point or central theme of a investigation. http://data.globalchange.gov/gcis.owl#Finding
Group A number of individual agents that are connected. http://data.globalchange.gov/gcis.owl#Group
Image A copy of something in the form of a visual representation. Examples include images and photographs of physical objects, paintings, prints, drawings, other images and graphics, animations and moving pictures, film, diagrams, maps, musical notation, etc. http://data.globalchange.gov/gcis.owl#Image
Image Creation An activity that creates images. http://data.globalchange.gov/gcis.owl#ImageCreation
Instrument A tool or device used for a particular task, especially for scientific work. http://data.globalchange.gov/gcis.owl#Instrument
Location A geographic place such as a city or non-geographic place such as a directory, row, or column. http://data.globalchange.gov/gcis.owl#Location
Measuring The act or the process of finding the size, quantity or degree of something. http://data.globalchange.gov/gcis.owl#Measuring
Mission An official job that a person or group of people with which is tasked. http://data.globalchange.gov/gcis.owl#Mission
Model A simplified description or particular design, especially a mathematical one, of a system or process, to assist calculations and predictions. http://data.globalchange.gov/gcis.owl#Model
Model Run An entity generated by a model. http://data.globalchange.gov/gcis.owl#ModelRun
Organization An instititution such as an agency, a company, a society, a university, etc. http://data.globalchange.gov/gcis.owl#Organization
Person A human as an individual. http://data.globalchange.gov/gcis.owl#Person
Platform A scientific data collection entity to which other entities can be attached - particuarly instruments, sensors and other platforms. http://data.globalchange.gov/gcis.owl#Platform
Program A plan of things that will be done or included in the development of something. http://data.globalchange.gov/gcis.owl#Program
Project A piece of planned work that is designed to achieve a particular aim. http://data.globalchange.gov/gcis.owl#Project
Publication A bounded physical representation of a body of information designed with the capacity (and usually intent) to communicate, and which has been made available to the public http://data.globalchange.gov/gcis.owl#Publication
Publication Preparation A activity that prepares publications. http://data.globalchange.gov/gcis.ow...ionPreparation
Report An account given of a particular matter, especially in the form of an official document, after thorough investigation or consideration by an appointed person or body. http://data.globalchange.gov/gcis.owl#Report
Report Generation An activity that generates reports. http://data.globalchange.gov/gcis.ow...portGeneration
Scenario A coherent description of a potential future situation that serves as input to more detailed analyses or modeling. Scenarios are tools that explore, 'if, then.' statements, and are not predictions of or prescriptions for the future. http://data.globalchange.gov/gcis.owl#Scenario
Sensor Sensing is a process that results in the estimation, or calculation, of the value of a phenomenon. An entity that can follow a sensing method and thus observe some property of a feature of interest. Sensors may be physical devices, computational methods, a laboratory setup with a person following a method, or any other thing that can follow a sensing method to observe a property. http://data.globalchange.gov/gcis.owl#Sensor
Software The programs, etc. used to operate a computer. http://data.globalchange.gov/gcis.owl#Software
Software Agent A software agent is a running software system. http://data.globalchange.gov/gcis.owl#SoftwareAgent
Spatial Extents A bounding box describing the northern, southern, western, and eastern limits of the data or results. http://data.globalchange.gov/gcis.owl#SpatialExtents
Spatial Resolution The detail with which a map or image depicts the location and shape of geographic features. The finer the map scale, the higher the possible resolution. As scale decreases from fine to coarse, resolution diminishes and feature boundaries must be smoothed, simplified, or not shown at all; for example, small areas may have to be represented as points. http://data.globalchange.gov/gcis.ow...tialResolution
Table A list of facts or numbers arranged in a special order, usually in rows and columns. http://data.globalchange.gov/gcis.owl#Table
Table Compiling An activity that compiles tables. http://data.globalchange.gov/gcis.owl#TableCompiling
Temporal Extents The time information, including the earliest and last observations, of a dataset. http://data.globalchange.gov/gcis.owl#TemporalExtents
Temporal Resolution The precision or frequency of a measurement with respect to time. Often there is a tradeoff between temporal resolution of a measurement and its spatial resolution. http://data.globalchange.gov/gcis.ow...oralResolution
Temporal Unit A collection of temporal units used for measuring time. http://data.globalchange.gov/gcis.owl#TemporalUnit
Traceable Account A description of the evaluation of the type, amount, quality, and consistency of evidence and the degree of agreement, which together form the basis for a given finding. http://data.globalchange.gov/gcis.ow...aceableAccount
Unit Type A type that allows only one value. http://data.globalchange.gov/gcis.owl#UnitType

Note: This HTML document was obtained by processing the OWL ontology source code through LODELive OWL Documentation Environment, developed by Silvio Peroni.

There are also tables for the following:

  1. Object Properties (62)
  2. Data Properties (24)
  3. Named Individuals (41)
  4. Annotation Properties (2)
  5. Namespace Declarations (13)

Main Conclusion: The Knowledge Model that uses all the data sources above, including the ontology,  is the MindTouch wiki Table of Contents containing all the things in the Data Publications Table below with well-defined URLs that can be searched, filtered, and reused in the full context of the entire report. The Key Messages (Findings) are supported by the data tables and figures which in turn contain references to the data, metadata, and scientific results.

In this way the data and metadata stay together within the context of the subject matter expertise expressed essentially as a book with individual chapters based on scientific papers which in most cases have been peer reviewed for scientific journal publication.

In this regard the 14 GCIS Tables are not very useful.

Data Publications Table

Essentially the entire report and all of its research (digital) objects can be repurposed into this MindTouch wiki and used to create a semantic index in Excel and visualizations in Spotfire like Semantic Community has done previously to create "Data Publications in Data Browsers". Use the Google Chrome Browser Find to search the entire report! Use Spotfire Find to search all of the Data Tables!

 

Section Key Messages Figures Tables References Comments
Report Says Chapters Total: 43 Total: 161 Total: 284 Total: 19 Total: 3395 Data Sets Total: 23
Grand Totals Total: 134 Total: 245 Total: 19 Total: 2816  
About 0 0 0 0 Complete
1. Overview 0 23 0 32 Complete
2. Our Changing Climate 9 31 0 172 Supplemental Material
Sectors Total: 61 Total: 84 Total: 7 Total: 1195 Total:
3. Water 11 12 0 177 Supplemental Material
4. Energy 5 5 3 39 Supplemental Material
5. Transportation 4 6 1 75 Supplemental Material
6. Agriculture 6 9 0 85 Supplemental Material
7. Forests 4 8 0 70 Supplemental Material
8. Ecosystems 5 4 0 142 Supplemental Material
9. Human Health 4 10 0 212 Supplemental Material
10. Energy, Water, and Land 3 6 0 59 Supplemental Material
11. Urban 4 3 0 53 Supplemental Material
12. Indigenous Peoples 5 6 0 99 Supplemental Material
13. Land Use and Land Cover Change 4 4 2 53 Supplemental Material
14. Rural Communities 3 5 0 58 Supplemental Material
15. Biogeochemical Cycles 3 6 1 73 Supplemental Material
Regions Total: 48 Total: 1+80=81 Total:1+1=2 Total: 2+979=981 10 Sections
16. Northeast 4 8 1 103 Supplemental Material
17. Southeast 3 12 0 87 Supplemental Material
18. Midwest 6 7 0 102 Supplemental Material
19. Great Plains 5 10 0 69 Supplemental Material
20. Southwest 5 6 0 110 Supplemental Material
21. Northwest 4 7 0 126 Supplemental Material
22. Alaska 5 8 0 136 Supplemental Material
23. Hawaii and Pacific Islands 5 8 0 78 Supplemental Material
24. Oceans 6 5 0 105 Supplemental Material
25. Coasts 5 9 0 63 Supplemental Material
Response Strategies Total: 16 Total: 15 Total: 10 Total: 409 5 Sections
26. Decision Support 5 6 2 137 Supplemental Material
27. Mitigation 5 3 2 79 Supplemental Material
28. Adaptation 6 6 6 168 Supplemental Material
29. Research Needs 0 0 0 10 Supplemental Material
30. Sustained Assessment 0 0 0 15 Complete and Supplemental Material
Appendicies Total: 0 Total: 11 Total: 0 Total: 27 6 Appendices
Appendix 1: Process 0 2 0 12 Complete
Appendix 2: Information Quality 0 0 0 4 Complete
Appendix 3: Climate Science 0 6 0 0 Only 1 of 12 Supplemental Messages
Appendix 4: FAQs 0 1 0 0 Only 1 of 26 FAQs
Appendix 5: Scenarios and Models 0 2 0 7 Complete
Appendix 6: Future Assessment Topics 0 0 0 4 Complete
Abbreviations and Acronyms 0 0 0 0 73

Overview References

Numbered references for the Overview indicate the chapters that provide supporting evidence for the reported conclusions.

 

Numbered References for the Overview Chapters that provide supporting evidence for the reported conclusions Number
1 Ch. 2. 1
2 Ch. 236920 5
3 Ch. 234569101216202425. 12
4 Ch. 21216181920212223. 9
5 Ch. 241216171819202225 10
6 Ch. 24510121617202225 10
7 Ch. 212232425. 5
8 Ch. 21213141819 6
9 Ch. 231216171819202123 10
10 Ch. 291112131618192025 10
11 Ch. 3681214232425. 8
12 Ch. 37825. 4
13 Ch. 22627 3
14 Ch. 262728 3
15 Ch. 2427 3
16 Ch. 235911121325262728. 11
17 Ch. 37910121820212628 10
18 Ch. 28 1
19 Ch. 29, Appendix 6. 2
20 Ch. 30 1
21 Ch. 2, Appendices 3 and 4 3
22 Ch. 2161718192023, Appendices 3 and 4. 9
23 Ch. 227, Appendices 3 and 4 4
24

Ch. 3456789101112131416171819202122232425

22
25 Ch. 26911121619202223 10
26

Ch. 23561112161718192021,​222325

15
27 Ch. 231216171819202123 10
28 Ch. 261213141819 7
29 Ch. 12172021222325 7
30 Ch. 23678101114151925 11
31 Ch. 212232425 5
32 Ch. 678910131525262728 11

 

Reference 24 has the most (22) and References 1, 18, and 20 have the least (1).

White House State of the Climate Google Hangout

May 19, 2014: Happening now: Join EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, and Grist for a #WHClimateChat on the steps we're taking to reduce carbon pollution, prepare for the impacts of climate change, and build a clean energy economy:http://go.wh.gov/4HHmUE

My Post (one of 39) was:  I am a data scientist / data journalist doing research for a story: Climate Change: Where's the Data? at:  http://semanticommunity.info/Data_Sc...e_Change#Story. So far it has taken considerable effort to find the data sets for the graphics in the report. Dr. Holdren just announced the Open Research Data Policy and Drs. Bourne, Jahanian, Strawn, etc. has been saying we need Scientific Data Publications in Data Browsers for reproducible results so why not do that here?

 Next, I am working with the Climate Change Impacts Datasets in Spotfire to answer the question: Climate Change: Where's the Data and Are the Results Reproducible?

Slides

Slide 1 National Climate Assessment

http://www.globalchange.gov/

ClimateChangeImpacts2014Slide1.png

Slide 2 Data, Resources, & MUltimedia

http://www.globalchange.gov/browse

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Slide 3 Global Change Information System

http://data.globalchange.gov/

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Slide 4 About the Global Change Information System

http://data.globalchange.gov/about

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Slide 5 Global Change Information System datasets

http://data.globalchange.gov/dataset

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Slide 6 Climate Changeand President Obama's Action Plan

http://www.whitehouse.gov/climate-change

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Slide 7 Data Science for Climate Change MindTouch Knowledge Base

http://semanticommunity.info/Data_Sc...Climate_Change

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Slide 8 Data Science for Climate Change Excel Datasets

http://semanticommunity.info/@api/de...?origin=mt-web

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Slide 9 Data Science for Climate Change Spotfire Data Browser 1

Web Player

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Slide 10 Data Science for Climate Change Spotfire Data Browser 2

Web Player

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Spotfire Dashboard

For Internet Explorer Users and Those Wanting Full Screen Display Use: Web Player Get Spotfire for iPad App

Error: Embedded data could not be displayed. Use Google Chrome

Research Notes

http://www.whitehouse.gov/climate-change

http://www.globalchange.gov/climate-change/glossary

http://www.globalchange.gov/climate-change/faqs (PDF)

http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/high...xtreme-weather

http://data.globalchange.gov/

Data Model: http://data.globalchange.gov/resources

GCIS Ontology: http://data.globalchange.gov/gcis.owl

The GCIS ontology formally defines the concepts used in the gcis namespace.

http://data.globalchange.gov/about

Xiagoang (Marshall) Ma, Peter Fox and the team at the Tetherless World Constellation : Ontology Engineering. (Stored in Virtuoso)

Research Areas: Knowledge ProvenanceSemantic eScience
 

Principal Investigator: Peter Fox
Co Investigator:

Concepts: Linked DataVocabulary ServiceXinformaticsControlled VocabularyProvenanceeScienceInformation ModelData ScienceGeophysical ScienceFaceted SearchVocabulary

Description:
The Tetherless World Constellation (TWC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) proposes to facilitate the vocabulary and ontology development within the context of the overall development of semantic prototypes for the National Climate Assessment (NCA) portals using a combination of environmental inter-agency collaborations in a use-case focused workshop setting, information modeling, and software developments and deployments. The prototypes are intended to provide search and browse options that inspire confidence that all relevant information has been found; data providers will be citable with detailed provenance generation. Expected deliverables are: information models, vocabulary and ontology services for vetted climate assessment settings, and search/ browse prototypes.</description>

http://tw.rpi.edu/web/project/gcis-imsap

http://tw.rpi.edu/web/project/gcis-imsap

http://tw.rpi.edu/web/project/gcis-imsap

Contributor Tables: http://data.globalchange.gov/organization

Report Tables: http://data.globalchange.gov/report/nca3/table

Data Sets: http://data.globalchange.gov/dataset

Press: http://www.nbcnews.com/science/envir...trophes-n98011

Use?: http://cleanet.org/clean/community/c..._schedule.html

Datasets

Source: http://www.globalchange.gov/browse/datasets

Weather station collecting data

Access Federal climate data resources and browse select datasets associated with the Third National Climate Assessment. 

This page features Federal climate data resources as well as select datasets associated with the Third National Climate Assessment. 

Climate.Data.Gov

As part of the Administration's Climate Data Initiative, climate.data.gov provides access to Federal resources to help America’s communities, businesses, and citizens plan and prepare for climate change.

climate.data.gov

Here you can find data related to climate change that can help inform and prepare America’s communities, businesses, and citizens. Initially, in this pilot phase, you can find data and resources related to coastal flooding, sea level rise, and their impacts. Over time, you will be able to find additional data and tools relevant to other important climate-related impacts, including risks to human health, the food supply, and energy infrastructure.

My Note: I need to go through this to find the actual links to the actual data and the complete metadata.

U.S. Climate Divisional Dataset Version 2

 

For many years, the Climate Divisional Dataset was the only long-term temporally and spatially complete dataset from which to generate historical climate analyses (1895-2013) for the contiguous United States (CONUS). It was originally developed for climate-division, statewide, regional, national, and population-weighted monitoring of drought, temperature, precipitation, and heating/cooling degree day values. Since the dataset was at the divisional spatial scale, it naturally lent itself to agricultural and hydrological applications. There are 344 climate divisions in the CONUS. For each climate division, monthly station temperature and precipitation values are computed from the daily observations. The divisional values are weighted by area to compute statewide values and the statewide values are weighted by area to compute regional values. (Karl and Koss, 1984).

Publication Year:  2014
Topics:  Observing Systems, Water Resources, Agriculture & Food, Extreme Events

NCDC Global Surface Temperature Anomalies

 

The global time series is produced from the Smith and Reynolds blended land and ocean data set (Smith et al., 2008). Global-average anomalies are calculated on an annual time scale. The global anomalies are provided with respect to the period 1901-2000, the 20th century average. Land surface temperatures are from the Global Historical Climate Network-Monthly (GHCN-M). Sea surface temperatures are determined using the extended reconstructed sea surface temperature (ERSST) analysis. ERSST uses the most recently available International Comprehensive Ocean-Atmosphere Data Set (ICOADS) and statistical methods that allow stable reconstruction using sparse data. Due to very sparse data, no global averages are computed before 1880. With more observations after 1880, the signal is stronger and more consistent over time. https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/monitoring.../anomalies.php

About this resource

Publication Year:  2013
Topics:  Oceans, Observing Systems

Global Historical Climatology Network - Daily

View: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/....php?name=data

GHCN (Global Historical Climatology Network)-Daily is an integrated database of daily climate summaries from land surface stations across the globe. Like its monthly counterpart (GHCN-Monthly), GHCN-Daily is comprised of daily climate records from numerous sources that have been integrated and subjected to a common suite of quality assurance reviews.

GHCN-Daily contains records from over 75000 stations in 180 countries and territories. Numerous daily variables are provided, including maximum and minimum temperature, total daily precipitation, snowfall, and snow depth; however, about two thirds of the stations report precipitation only. Both the record length and period of record vary by station and cover intervals ranging from less than year to more than 175 years.

About this resource

Publication Year:  2012
Topics:  Observing Systems, International

GRACE Static Field Geopotential Coefficients JPL Release 5.0 GSM

This dataset contains estimates of Earth's static field geototential derived from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission measurements, produced by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The data are in spherical harmonics averaged over approximately a month. The primary objective of the GRACE mission is to obtain accurate estimates of the mean and time-variable components of the Earth's gravity field variations. This objective is achieved by making continuous measurements of the change in distance between twin spacecraft, co-orbiting in about 500 km altitude, near circular, polar orbit, spaced approximately 200 km apart, using a microwave ranging system. In addition to these range change, the non-gravitional forces are measured on each satellite using a high accuracy electrostatic, room-temperature accelerometer. The satellite orientation and position (and timing) are precisely measured using twin star cameras and a GPS receiver, respectively. Spatial and temporal variations in the Earth's gravity field affect the orbits (or trajectories) of the twin spacecraft differently. These differences are manifested as changes in the distance between the spacecraft, as they orbit the Earth. This change in distance is reflected in the time-of-flight of microwave signals transmitted and received nearly simultaneously between the two spacecraft. The change in this time of fight is continuously measured by tracking the phase of the microwave carrier signals. The so called dual-one-way range change measurements can be reconstructed from these phase measurements. This range change (or its numerically derived derivatives), along with other mission and ancillary data, is subsequently analyzed to extract the parameters of an Earth gravity field model.

About this resource

Bias-Corrected and Spatially Downscaled Surface Water Projections Hydrologic Data

View: http://gdo-dcp.ucllnl.org/downscaled...ete%20Archives

 The archive contains fine spatial resolution translations of climate projections over the contiguous United States (U.S.) developed using two downscaling techniques (monthly BCSD Figure 1, and daily BCCA Figure 2), and hydrologic projections over the western U.S. (roughly the western U.S. Figure 3) corresponding to the monthly BCSD climate projections.

About this resource

Publication Year:  2011
Topics:  Modeling, Water Resources

Daily 1/8-degree gridded meteorological data [1 Jan 1949 - 31 Dec 2010]

A model-derived dataset of land surface states and fluxes is presented for the conterminous United States and portions of Canada and Mexico. The dataset spans the period 1950–2000, and is at a 3-h time step with a spatial resolution of ⅛ degree. The data are distinct from reanalysis products in that precipitation is a gridded product derived directly from observations, and both the land surface water and energy budgets balance at every time step. The surface forcings include precipitation and air temperature (both gridded from observations), and derived downward solar and longwave radiation, vapor pressure deficit, and wind. Simulated runoff is shown to match observations quite well over large river basins.

About this resource

Publication Year:  2011
Topics:  Observing Systems, Water Resources, Energy

Eighth degree-CONUS Daily Downscaled Climate Projections

View: http://cida.usgs.gov/thredds/catalog.html

 

In this project, we used an advanced statistical downscaling method that combines high-resolution observations with outputs from 16 different global climate models based on 4 future emission scenarios to generate the most comprehensive dataset of daily temperature and precipitation projections available for climate change impacts in the U.S. The gridded dataset covers the continental United States, southern Canada and northern Mexico at one-eighth degree resolution and Alaska at one-half degree resolution. The high-resolution projections produced by this work have been rigorously quality-controlled for both errors and biases in the global climate and statistical downscaling models. We also calculated projected future changes in a broad range of impact-relevant indicators, from seasonal temperature to extreme precipitation days. The results of the error and bias tests and the indicator calculations are made available as part of this database.

World Climate Research Programme's (WCRP's) Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 3 (CMIP3) multi-model dataset

View: http://www-pcmdi.llnl.gov/ipcc/about_ipcc.php

Under the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), the Working Group on Cloupled Modelling (WGCM) established the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP) as a standard experimental protocol for studying the output of coupled atmosphere-ocean general circulation models (AOGCMs). CMIP provides a community-based infrastructure in support of climate model diagnosis, validation, intercomparison, documentation and data access. This framework enables a diverse community of scientists to analyze GCMs in a systematic fashion, a process which serves to facilitate model improvement. The Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison (PCMDI) archives much of the CMIP data. Part of the CMIP archive constitutes phase 3 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP3), a collection of climate model output from simulations of the past, present and future climate. This unprecedented collection of recent model output is officially known as the "WCRP CMIP3 multi-model dataset". It is meant to serve the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)'s Working Group 1, which focuses on the physical climate system -- atmosphere, land surface, ocean and sea ice -- and the choice of variables archived reflects this focus. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environmental Program to assess scientific information on climate change. The IPCC publishes reports that summarize the state of the science. The research based on this dataset provided much of the new material underlying the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4).

About this resource

Organization: IPCC

Publication Year: 2010

Topics: Oceans, Modeling, International

 
</article>
<article class="l-slat node node-promoted node-teaser node--dataset node--teaser view-mode-teaser" role="article">

Global Historical Climatology Network - Monthly

View: https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/ghcnm/

The GHCN-monthly data set provides monthly mean in situ surface air temperature and precipitation data. Data is available for some locations dating back to the 1700s. There is global coverage from 1880 to the present. The data is updated each month with the most recent month's data. Quality controlled and homogeneity adjusted data sets are available. There are 7,280 mean temperature stations and more than 20,000 precipitation stations.

</article>
<article class="l-slat node node-promoted node-teaser node--dataset node--teaser view-mode-teaser" role="article">

The NCEP/NCAR Reanalysis 1 project is using a state-of-the-art analysis/forecast system to perform data assimilation using past data from 1948 to the present. A large subset of this data is available from PSD in its original 4 times daily format and as daily averages. However, the data from 1948-1957 is a little different, in the regular (non-Gaussian) gridded data. That data was done at 8 times daily in the model, because the inputs available in that era were available at 3Z, 9Z, 15Z, and 21Z, whereas the 4x daily data has been available at 0Z, 6Z, 12Z, and 18Z. These latter times were forecasted and the combined result for this early era is 8x daily. The local ingestion process took only the 0Z, 6Z, 12Z, and 18Z forecasted values, and thus only those were used to make the daily time series and monthly means here.

</article>

Data, Resources, & Multimedia

Source: http://www.globalchange.gov/browse

Sea level rise mapping tool

The reports, assessments, and datasets featured here are primarily drawn from USGCRP's Global Change Information System, a web-based portal for Federal global change data and products. This page provides access to select relevant resources generated or sponsored by the U.S. Government and other authoritative scientific bodies, thereby fulfilling the requirement for a Global Change Research Information Office as mandated by the Global Change Research Act of 1990.

Global Change Information System

Source: http://data.globalchange.gov/

Providing structured global change information.

My Note: This says structured information, but it could be more structured!

The Global Change Information System (GCIS) is a web-based resource for traceable, sound global change data, information, and products. Designed for use by scientists, decision makers, and the public, the GCIS provides coordinated links to a select group of information products produced, maintained, and disseminated by government agencies and organizations. As well as guiding users to global change research products selected by the 13 member agencies, the GCIS serves as a key access point to assessments, reports, and tools produced by the U.S. Global Change Research Program. The GCIS is managed, integrated, and curated by USGCRP.

About

Source: http://data.globalchange.gov/about

My Note: There are many linked data tables at these links with many alternative formats: Alternatives : JSON YAML text Turtle N-Triples JSON Triples RDF+XML RDF+JSON Graphviz SVG so what can be done with all of this for scientific data publication?

How we use identifiers and semantic information to provide points of reference and traceability.

The US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) has established the Global Change Information System (GCIS) to better coordinate and integrate the use of Federal information products on changes in the global environment and the implications of those changes for society.

Global Change

For the purposes of the GCIS, “global change” refers to changes in the global environment that may alter the capacity of the Earth to sustain life. Global change encompasses climate change, but it also includes other critical drivers of environmental change that may interact with climate change, such as land use change, the alteration of the water cycle, changes in biogeochemical cycles, and biodiversity loss.

Global change information is structured using the GCIS data model; this data model represents relationships and entities such as reports, report chapters, figures, images, tables, bibliographic entries, organizations and people.

Identifiers

Each item referenced in the GCIS has a unique, persistent identifier. This identifer takes the form of a Uniform Resource Identifier (URI), but may include or be related to other identifiers as well, such as Universally Unique Identifiers (UUIDs), Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs), ORCIds, and ISBN numbers. Native identifiers for resources are incorporated in to the URI as much as possible to help with interoperability between the GCIS and other systems.

Provenance and Semantics

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) definition of provenance, "... information about entities, activities, and people involved in producing a piece of data or thing, which can be used to form assessments about its quality, reliability or trustworthiness ..." (W3C 2013), is the basis for the representation of provenance within the GCIS. Relationships between URIs within the GCIS are represented in a triple store. A SPARQL endpoint allows this triple store to be queried, as described in these examples.

My Note: This goes to a Triple Store: Copyright © 2014 OpenLink Software Virtuoso version 06.01.3127 on Linux (x86_64-unknown-linux-gnu), Single Server Edition

GCIS Development Effort

GCIS is written in Perl using the mojolicious web framework and uses many fine modules from the CPAN. It relies on PostgreSQL for data storage, and populates a Virtuoso triple store.

GCIS Visionary : Curt Tilmes System Engineer : Brian Duggan Also thanks to : Andrew Buddenberg : Client development Steve Aulenbach : Data Curator Justin Goldstein : Researcher Robert Wolfe : Project Manager Amanda McQueen : GCIS Intern Tania Sizer : Web Designer Xiagoang (Marshall) Ma, Peter Fox and the team at the Tetherless World Constellation : Ontology Engineering.

GCIS Version

1.00

Contacting us and contributing

If you're interested in contributing to the development and evolution of the Global Change Information System, please subscribe to our mailing list.

Examples

Examples and tutorials for using this system as a researcher, citizen scientist, application developer or information theorist.

Source: http://data.globalchange.gov/examples

The GCIS provides a RESTful interface and a SPARQL interface for getting data. Each has various capabilities for viewing individual resources and querying for lists of resources. The RESTful interface is more practical for building applications and examining individual resources. The SPARQL interfaces is more advanced, and better suited for complex queries, possibly related to other external semantic information

RESTful interface

The GCIS provides JSON and YAML representations of resources, which can be accessed using command line tools such as curl.

SPARQL interface

The GCIS API exposes a SPARQL endpoint at http://data.globalchange.gov/sparql. Try your own queries in the SPARQL Query Editor or run some of the ones below.

The GCIS ontology formally defines the concepts used in the gcis namespace.

Applications

The website for the Third National Climate Assessment, http://nca2014.globalchange.gov, uses JQuery to call the GCIS API for the figure and image metadata.

The web page for the USGCRP, http://www.globalchange.gov, uses GCIS data on the server side.

Data model

A description of how the information is structured, including the overlaps between relational and semantic representations of the information.

Source: http://data.globalchange.gov/resources

My Note: Mine these for data tables

The GCIS maintains two concurrent models of the data : a relational model, and a semantic model. Entities represented by the GCIS are refered to as resources, as defined in RFC 2396. They are assigned Uniform Resource Identifiers, or URIs.

Resources

The terminology below describes the resources represented in the GCIS :

Report
report, such as the nca3, or the nca2, may have chaptersfigurestablesfindings, and references associated with it.
chapter
chapter of a report, such as our-changing-climate, has a unique mnemonic identifiers, and possibly, a number. Some chapters, for instance, an appendix, do not have a number. Chapters may also have figurestables,findings, and references associated with them.
Figure
figure in a report, such as observed-us-temperature-change, may be composed of one or more images.
Finding
finding in a report, such as global-climate-is-changing, has a statement as well as phrases and bibliographic references describing the confidence level, uncertainties, and evidence for that finding.
Table
table, like a figure, is embedded in a report, and possibly in a chapter in a report.
Reference
reference is a bibliographic entry or citation. They are uniquely identified with UUIDs, like e679d754-46b3-4d62-a7dd-4a7f0c727ebe. A reference in areport may appear in a chapterfigurefinding or table of that report. Moreover, a reference refers to a publication such as an articleweb page, or book.
Publication
publication in the GCIS may be a report, a report-specific resource -- a chapterfigurefindingtable -- or a non-report-specific resource : a journalarticle,imageweb pagebook, or dataset.
Image
An image may be associated with one or more figures. For instance, this image is a part of the figure described above.
Book
book has an ISBN number, but is uniquely identified within GCIS using a UUID.
Journals
journal may have a print and online ISSN number, and is uniquely identified within GCIS using a mnemonic identifier, like climatic-change .
Article
An article in a journal has a DOI, like 10.1002/grl.50527, which is used to identify it uniquely in the GCIS.
Web Page
A web page is assigned a UUID, like 26625ddf-dd19-4dd1-a35d-33c68c5b2d6e, to identify its state at a particular point in time.
Contributor
contributor to a publication is an organization, a role, and optionally a person.
Organization
An organization may be related to other organizations, and is identified uniquely by a mnemonic identifier.
Person
A person is given a numeric id. If a person has an orcid, it is used to uniquely identify the person within the GCIS. The only associations between people and organizations is via their affiliations when contributing to GCIS publications.
Dataset
dataset is given a unique mnemonic identifier, such as nca3-ncep-ncar-r1Datasets are considered a type of publication, as mentioned above. As such, they may be generated by an activity.
Activity
An activity, such as 063fd83f-maurer-process, is used to describe the process of going from one publication to another. See below.
Identifiers

Resources in GCIS are identified by URIs. These URIs have been designed to be Cool URIs for the Semantic Web. The URIs may contain mnemonic identifiers, which are ASCII strings composed of lower case letters, numbers, underscores and dashes. UUIDs are sometimes used, as are Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs), when they exist. DOIs are standardized as ISO 26324.

Relational Model

The relational model used by GCIS captures one-to-many, many-to-many, and many-to-one relationships between the resources above. Journals have many articles, reports have many figures, findings, tables, and chapters. The relationship between images and figures is many to many, as is the relationship between publications (of any type) and contributors. Publications may also be related to each other, and in this case, the relationship between two publications can be annoted with a term from a semantic vocabulary. Furthermore, the relationship may have an activity associated with it.

Semantic Model

All GCIS resources have representations in turtle. The GCIS vocabulary is defined in the GCIS ontology. Many other ontologies are used including, most notably PROV. The entity-activity-agent model of prov has been applied to the GCIS through the use of resources, activities, and contributors. 

API Reference

Complete documentation for the API, including methods for browsing and finding resources.

 

Below is a list of methods and URLs supported by the GCIS. The current version of this API is 1.00.

For definitions of the terms below, please read about the data model.

Click the method name on the left to see more information about a particular route.

GET My Note: This just gets the entire page!

Methods Path Description
GET /uuid Generate a UUID.
GET /report Get a list of reports.
GET /report /:report_identifier Get a representation of a report.
GET /report /:report_identifier /chapter List chapters in a report
GET /report /:report_identifier /chapter /:chapter_identifier Get a representation of a chapter.
GET /report /:report_identifier /chapter /:chapter_identifier /finding List findings in a chapter
GET /report /:report_identifier /chapter /:chapter_identifier /finding /:finding_identifier Get a representation of a finding in a chapter.
GET /report /:report_identifier /chapter /:chapter_identifier /figure List figures in a chapter
GET /report /:report_identifier /chapter /:chapter_identifier /figure /:figure_identifier Get a representation of a figure in a chapter.
GET /report /:report_identifier /chapter /:chapter_identifier /table List tables in a chapter
GET /report /:report_identifier /chapter /:chapter_identifier /table /:table_identifier Get a representation of a table in a chapter.
GET /report /:report_identifier /chapter /:chapter_identifier /reference List references in a chapter
GET /report /:report_identifier /finding List findings in a report.
GET /report /:report_identifier /figure List figures in a report.
GET /report /:report_identifier /table List tables in a report.
GET /report /:report_identifier /reference List references in a report.
GET /report /:report_identifier /finding /:finding_identifier Get a representation of a finding.
GET /report /:report_identifier /figure /:figure_identifier Get a representation of a figure.
GET /report /:report_identifier /table /:table_identifier Get a representation of a table.
GET /report /:report_identifier /image List images associated with a report.
GET /report /:report_identifier /array List arrays associated with a report.
GET /report /:report_identifier /webpage List webpages associated with a report.
GET /report /:report_identifier /book List books associated with a report.
GET /report /:report_identifier /reference List references of a report.
GET /publication/:publication_identifier Redirect to a particular publication.
GET /contributor/:contributor_identifier Redirect to a particular contributor.
GET /article List articles.
GET /article /:article_identifier Get a representation of an article.
GET /journal List journals.
GET /journal /:journal_identifier Get a representation of a journal.
GET /image List images.
GET /image /:image_identifier Get a representation of an image.
GET /array List arrays.
GET /array /:array_identifier Get a representation of an array.
GET /webpage List web pages.
GET /webpage /:webpage_identifier Get a representation of a web page.
GET /book List books.
GET /book /:book_identifier Get a representation of a book.
GET /activity List activities.
GET /activity /:activity_identifier Get a representation of an activity.
GET /person List people.
GET /person /:person_identifier Get a representation of a person.
GET /person/:orcid Redirect to a person based on an ORCID.
GET /person/:name Redirect to a person based on a name
GET /organization List organizations.
GET /organization /:organization_identifier Get a representation of an organization.
GET /gcmd_keyword List GCMD keywords in the GCIS.
GET /gcmd_keyword /:gcmd_keyword_identifier Get a representation of a GCMD keyword.
GET /region List regions.
GET /region /:region_identifier Get a representation of a region.
GET /dataset List datasets.
GET /dataset /:dataset_identifier Get a representation of a dataset.
GET /file /:file_identifier Get a representation of a file.
GET /reference List references.
GET /reference /:reference_identifier Get a representation of a reference.
GET /generic List generic publications.
GET /generic /:generic_identifier Get a representation of a generic publication.

Climate Change

and President Obama's Action Plan
 
My Note: This page provides "interactive graphics" in the form of popup temperature change by time and drwaing a "best fit line to the global temperature versus CO2 concentration time history.
 

PRESIDENT OBAMA HAS ANNOUNCED A SERIES OF EXECUTIVE ACTIONS TO REDUCE CARBON POLLUTION, PREPARE THE U.S. FOR THE IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE, AND LEAD INTERNATIONAL EFFORTS TO ADDRESS GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE.

THE NATIONAL CLIMATE ASSESSMENT

Watch Dr. John Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science & Technology, discuss the Report
On May 6, the Administration released the Third U.S. National Climate Assessment, the most authoritative and comprehensive source of scientific information to date about climate-change impacts across all U.S. regions and on critical sectors of the economy.
The report, a key deliverable of President Obama's Climate Action Plan, confirms that climate change is not a distant threat — it's affecting us now.
 

Impacts

DUE TO CLIMATE CHANGE, THE WEATHER IS GETTING MORE EXTREME


TEMPERATURES ARE RISING ACROSS THE U.S.

Temperatures from 2001 to 2012 were warmer than any previous decade in every region of the United States. Explore this interactive map from the National Climate Assessment to learn more.

GLOBALLY, THE 10 WARMEST YEARS ON RECORD ALL OCCURRED SINCE 1998.

SOURCE: NOAA

FOR THE CONTIGUOUS 48 STATES, 7 OF THE 10 WARMEST YEARS ON RECORD HAVE OCCURRED SINCE 1998.

SOURCE: NOAA


2012 WAS THE SECOND MOST EXTREME YEAR ON RECORD FOR THE NATION

SOURCE: NOAA, U.S. CLIMATE EXTREMES INDEX

RECORD HEAT ACROSS THE U.S.

STATE-BY-STATE TEMPERATURES IN 2012

ALSO IN 2012:

WARMEST YEAR ON RECORD FOR THE U.S.

DOESN'T INCLUDE ALASKA, HAWAII, OR U.S. TERRITORIES.

SOURCE: NOAA

RECORD HIGH TEMPERATURES TIED OR BROKEN

IN THE UNITED STATES.

SOURCE: NOAA, STATE OF THE CLIMATE REPORT

ABOVE AVERAGE

ONE-THIRD OF THE U.S. POPULATION EXPERIENCED 100˚ TEMPERATURES

FOR TEN OR MORE DAYS.

SOURCE: NOAA

ABOVE AVERAGE

6TH-10TH WARMEST YEAR ON RECORD

2ND-5TH WARMEST YEAR ON RECORD

WARMEST YEAR ON RECORD

SOURCE: NATIONAL CLIMATE DATA CENTER/NESDIS/NOAA

DOESN'T INCLUDE ALASKA, HAWAII, OR U.S. TERRITORIES.


DROUGHTS, WILDFIRES, AND FLOODS ARE ALL MORE FREQUENT AND INTENSE
 
PRECIPITATION WAS 2.57 INCHES BELOW THE 20TH CENTURY AVERAGE

SOURCE: NOAA

15TH DRIEST YEAR ON RECORD

SOURCE: NOAA

WILDFIRES BURNED MORE THAN 9.3 MILLION U.S. ACRES

SOURCE: NATIONAL INTERAGENCY COORDINATION CENTER

EXTREME WEATHER COMES AT A COST

CLIMATE AND WEATHER DISASTERS IN 2012 ALONE COST THE AMERICAN ECONOMY MORE THAN $100 BILLION


$30 BILLION

U.S. DROUGHT/HEATWAVE

ESTIMATED ACROSS THE U.S.

$65 BILLION

SUPERSTORM SANDY

ESTIMATED

$11.1 BILLION

COMBINED SEVERE WEATHER

ESTIMATED FOR INCIDENTS ACROSS THE U.S.

 

$1 BILLION

WESTERN WILDFIRES

ESTIMATED

$2.3 BILLION

HURRICANE ISAAC

ESTIMATED

THERE ARE ALSO PUBLIC HEALTH THREATS ASSOCIATED WITH EXTREME WEATHER

Children, the elderly, and the poor are most vulnerable to a range of climate-related health effects, including those related to heat stress, air pollution, extreme weather events, and diseases carried by food, water, and insects.


WE CAN CHOOSE TO BELIEVE THAT SUPERSTORM SANDY, AND THE MOST SEVERE DROUGHT IN DECADES, AND THE WORST WILDFIRES SOME STATES HAVE EVER SEEN WERE ALL JUST A FREAK COINCIDENCE. OR WE CAN CHOOSE TO BELIEVE IN THE OVERWHELMING JUDGMENT OF SCIENCE — AND ACT BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE." 
- PRESIDENT OBAMA


WE'RE STILL CONTRIBUTING TO THE PROBLEM

Carbon Pollution

CARBON POLLUTION IS THE BIGGEST DRIVER OF CLIMATE CHANGE


GLOBAL TEMPERATURES AND CARBON DIOXIDE LEVELS ARE ON THE RISE

The global annual average temperature has increased by more than 1.5 degrees F between 1880 and 2012. This interactive graph from the National Climate Assessment shows the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide over the same time period. Climate scientists say we need to avert an additional 2-degree temperature increase to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change.


U.S. GREENHOUSE GAS POLLUTION INCLUDES
CARBON DIOXIDE (CO2), 82%

Enters the atmosphere through burning fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and oil), solid waste, trees and wood products, and also as a result of certain chemical reactions (e.g., manufacture of cement).

 
FLUORINATED GASES, 3%

Hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride are synthetic, powerful greenhouse gases that are emitted from a variety of industrial processes.

 
NITROUS OXIDE (N2O), 6%

Emitted during agricultural and industrial activities, as well as during combustion of fossil fuels and solid waste.

METHANE (CH4), 9%

Emitted during the production and transport of coal, natural gas, and oil as well as from landfills.

SOURCE: EPA

WE'VE MADE PROGRESS THANKS TO
STRONGER FUEL ECONOMY STANDARDS

We set the highest fuel economy standards in American history that will double the efficiency of our cars and trucks by 2025.

INCREASING CLEAN ENERGY

Since President Obama took office, the U.S. increased solar generation by more than ten-fold and tripled electricity production from wind power.

DECREASED CARBON POLLUTION

In 2012, U.S. greenhouse gas pollution fell to the lowest level in nearly 20 years.

RENEWABLE ENERGY AND EFFICIENCY TARGETS

35 states have renewable energy targets in place, and more than 25 have set energy efficiency targets.

BUT WE HAVE MORE WORK TO DO

THE PRESIDENT'S PLAN TO CUT CARBON POLLUTION IN AMERICA

REDUCING CARBON POLLUTION FROM POWER PLANTS

Power plants are the largest major source of emissions in the U.S., together accounting for roughly one-third of all domestic greenhouse gas pollution.

PROGRESS:

In September 2013, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced proposed carbon pollution standards for new power plants.

PROGRESS:

EPA has met with more than 300 stakeholder groups from across the country to gather information on standards for existing power plants.

CONTINUING THE MOMENTUM FOR THE FUTURE:

ACCELERATING CLEAN ENERGY LEADERSHIP
 

During the President's first term, the United States more than doubled generation of electricity from wind and solar energy.

PROGRESS:

The Department of the Interior (DOI) announced permitting the 50th utility-scale renewable energy project on public lands. The projects could support more than 20,000 jobs and generate enough electricity to power 4.8 million homes.

PROGRESS:

Since President Obama took office, the U.S. increased solar generation by more than ten-fold and tripled electricity production from wind power.

CONTINUING THE MOMENTUM FOR THE FUTURE:

BUILDING A 21ST CENTURY CLEAN ENERGY INFRASTRUCTURE

Heavy-duty vehicles (commercial trucks, vans, and buses) are currently the second largest source of greenhouse gas pollution within the transportation sector.

PROGRESS:

In January 2014, President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum establishing the federal government’s first Quadrennial Energy Review (QER) process, with an initial focus on our nation's energy infrastructure.

PROGRESS:

In February 2014, President Obama directed EPA and DOT to develop and issue the next phase of heavy-duty vehicle fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas standards by March 2016.

PROGRESS:

In 2011, the Administration finalized fuel economy standards for Model Year 2014-2018 for heavy-duty trucks, buses, and vans. This will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 270 million metric tons and save 530 million barrels of oil.

PROGRESS:

The Administration has already established the toughest fuel economy standards for passenger vehicles in U.S. history. These standards require an average performance equivalent of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.

CONTINUING THE MOMENTUM FOR THE FUTURE:

CUTTING ENERGY WASTE IN HOMES, BUSINESSES, AND FACTORIES

Energy efficiency is one of the clearest and most cost-effective opportunities to save families money, make our businesses more competitive, and reduce greenhouse gas pollution.

PROGRESS:

Since June more than 50 multifamily housing partners – representing roughly 200,000 units and over 190 million square feet – have joined the President’s Better Buildings Challenge.

PROGRESS:

In President Obama's first term, DOE and HUD completed efficiency upgrades in nearly two million homes, saving many families more than $400 on their heating and cooling bills in the first year alone.

PROGRESS:

In December 2013, the Department of Agriculture announced it will provide up to $250 million to help business and residential customers in rural areas cut their energy bills through energy efficiency and renewable energy use.

PROGRESS:

Since June, DOE has issued nine proposed and five final energy conservation standards for appliances and equipment. If finalized and combined with rules already issued, the energy savings will help cut consumers' electricity bills by hundreds of billions of dollars.

CONTINUING THE MOMENTUM FOR THE FUTURE:

REDUCING OTHER GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS

Emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) — which are potent greehouse gases — are expected to double by 2020 and nearly triple by 2030 in the U.S.

PROGRESS:

Since 1990, methane emissions have decreased by 11% in part through partnerships with industry.

PROGRESS:

In March 2014, the Administration released a Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions from landfills, coal mining, agriculture, and oil and gas systems through voluntary actions and common-sense standards.

CONTINUING THE MOMENTUM FOR THE FUTURE:

FEDERAL LEADERSHIP
 

Since 2008, federal agencies have reduced greenhouse gas pollution by more than 17 percent — the equivalent of permanently taking 1.8 million cars off the road.

PROGRESS:

In December 2011, President Obama signed a memorandum challenging federal agencies to enter into $2 billion worth of performance contracts for building energy efficiency within two years.

PROGRESS:

On December 5, President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum directing the federal government to buy at least 20% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

CONTINUING THE MOMENTUM FOR THE FUTURE:


EVEN AS WE TAKE NEW STEPS TO REDUCE U.S. GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS, WE MUST ALSO PREPARE FOR THE IMPACTS OF A CHANGING CLIMATE THAT ARE ALREADY BEING FELT ACROSS THE COUNTRY.


THE PRESIDENT'S PLAN WILL

PREPARE FOR THE IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE

Moving forward, the Obama Administration will help states, cities, and towns build stronger communities and infrastructure, protect critical sectors of our economy as well as our natural resources, and use sound science to better understand and manage climate impacts.

ASSESS THE IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE

GOALS

Provide an assessment of climate change impacts on the United States that translates scientific insights into practical knowledge that can help decision-makers prepare for specific impacts.

PROGRESS:

On May 6, the Administration released the Third U.S. National Climate Assessment (NCA), the most authoritative and comprehensive source of scientific information to date about climate change impacts across all U.S. regions and on critical sectors of the economy. The NCA serves as a critical resource for informing climate preparedness and response decisions across the nation.


SUPPORT CLIMATE-RESILIENT INVESTMENTS

GOALS

Remove policy barriers, modernize programs, and establish a short-term task force of state, local, and tribal officials to advise on key actions the federal government can take to support local and state efforts to prepare for climate change.

PROGRESS:

Federal agencies are working to ensure grants, technical assistance, and other programs support smarter, more resilient investments.

PROGRESS:

Established the President's State, Local and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, which is made up of 26 Governors, county executives, mayors and tribal leaders.


REBUILD AND LEARN FROM SUPERSTORM SANDY

GOALS

Pilot innovative strategies in the Superstorm Sandy-affected region to strengthen communities against future extreme weather and other climate impacts and update flood risk reduction standards for all federally funded projects.

PROGRESS:

From HUD grants and DOT funding for resilient transit systems to a DOI competition for support for coastal resilience projects, over $10B in Sandy recovery funds is being used to increase resilience.

PROGRESS:

On August 19 the Hurricane Sandy Task Force delivered a rebuilding strategy that is serving as a model for communities across the nation.

LAUNCH AN EFFORT TO CREATE SUSTAINABLE AND RESILIENT HOSPITALS

GOALS

Establish a public-private partnership on increasing resilience of the health care industry.

PROGRESS:

HHS is on track to release a resource packet in fall 2014 providing best practices for increasing the resilience of healthcare facilities.

MAINTAIN AGRICULTURE PRODUCTIVITY

GOALS

Deliver tailored, science-based knowledge to farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners to help them understand and prepare for the impacts of climate change.

PROGRESS:

USDA established seven new “regional climate hubs” to help farmers and ranchers adapt their operations to a changing climate.


PROVIDE TOOLS FOR CLIMATE RESILIENCE

GOALS

Include existing and newly developed climate preparedness tools and information that state, local and private-sector leaders need to make smart decisions.

PROGRESS:

In March 2014, the Administration launched the Climate Data Initiative, bringing together extensive open government data and innovation competitions to develop data-driven resilience tools for communities.


REDUCE RISK OF DROUGHTS AND WILDFIRES

GOALS

Make it easier for communities to get the assistance they need to adapt to drier conditions.

PROGRESS:

Launched the National Drought Resilience Partnership and released the National Wildfire Cohesive Strategy.

Lead International Efforts

BECAUSE CLIMATE CHANGE SPANS INTERNATIONAL BORDERS, THE PRESIDENT'S PLAN WILL ALSO

LEAD INTERNATIONAL EFFORTS TO ADDRESS GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE

America will continue to take on a leadership role in engaging the world's major economies to advance key climate priorities and in galvanizing global action through international climate negotiations. The plan will:

WORK WITH OTHER COUNTRIES TO TAKE ACTION TO ADDRESS CLIMATE CHANGE
LEAD PUBLIC SECTOR FINANCING TOWARD CLEANER ENERGY

PROGRESS:

The President put forth an initiative to end public financing for new coal-fired power plants overseas, except in rare circumstances. Following the lead of the U.S., other nations—including the U.K., the Netherlands, and the Nordic countries—have joined the initiative.

BILAT COOPERATION WITH MAJOR ECONOMIES

PROGRESS:

President Obama has made climate change a key issue in some of our most important bilateral relations, including China and India. Together, we are making progress around issue areas such as vehicle emissions standards, energy efficiency, and clean energy initiatives.

EXPAND CLEAN ENERGY USE AND CUT ENERGY WASTE

PROGRESS:

Facilitating the transition to a global clean energy economy, the U.S. Department of Energy is leading the Clean Energy Ministerial, a high-level global forum that promotes policies and programs aimed at scaling up energy efficiency and clean energy.

COMBAT SHORT-LIVED CLIMATE POLLUTANTS

PROGRESS:

Building on the breakthrough June 2013 agreement on hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by President Obama and China’s President Xi, G-20 leaders in September 2013 expressed support for using the expertise and institutions of the Montreal Protocol to phase down HFCs.

PROGRESS:

The U.S. continues to spearhead the Climate and Clean Air Coalition which has expanded to 88 partners, including 39 countries. The Coalition is implementing ten initiatives to reduce emissions of methane, HFCs, and black carbon.

REDUCE EMISSIONS FROM DEFORESTATION AND FOREST DEGRADATION

PROGRESS:

In November 2013, the U.S., Norway, and the U.K. launched a public-private partnership to support forests in developing countries, with the goal of reducing emissions from deforestation and promoting sustainable agriculture.

NEGOTIATE GLOBAL FREE TRADE IN ENVIRONMENTAL GOODS AND SERVICES

PROGRESS:

In January 2014, a U.S.-led coalition of countries—representing 86% of global trade in environmental goods—announced plans to launch talks aimed at eliminating tariffs on a wide range of environmental goods under the World Trade Organization.

ENHANCE MULTILATERAL ENGAGEMENT WITH MAJOR ECONOMIES

PROGRESS:

The United States continues to play an active role in shaping the design of a new global climate agreement due in 2015, including through our chairmanship of the major economies forum on energy and climate.

MOBILIZE CLIMATE FINANCE

PROGRESS:

In April 2014, the U.S., U.K., and Germany announced the Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance, a public-private platform designed to spur private-sector investment in low-carbon, climate-resilient infrastructure in developing countries.

LEAD EFFORTS TO ADDRESS CLIMATE CHANGE THROUGH INTERNATIONAL NEGOTIATIONS

The United States has made historic progress in the international climate negotiations during the past four years.

MOVING FORWARD

The U.S. has committed to expand major new and existing international initiatives, including bilateral initiatives with China, India, and other major emitting countries.

We will lead global public sector financing toward cleaner energy by ending U.S. government financial support for new coal-fired power plants overseas, with limited exceptions.


The Latest

My Note: I did this.

Make sure you get the latest news about climate change

Climate Change Impacts in the United States

Sources: http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/downloads

http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/syst...pdf?download=1 (PDF Print)

http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/syst...pdf?download=1 (PDF Screen)

The PDF is the official version of the 2014 National Climate Assessment

Media Broadcast Graphics Kit: http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/syst...zip?download=1

Cover Page

ClimateChangeImpacts2014FrontCover.png

 

Inside Cover Page

ClimateChangeImpacts2014InsideFrontCover.png

Recommended Citation

Online at: http://nca2014.globalchange.gov

This report was produced by an advisory committee chartered under the Federal Advisory Committee Act, for the Subcommittee on Global Change Research, and at the request of the U.S. Government. Therefore, the report is in the public domain. Some materials used in the report are copyrighted and permission was granted to the U.S. government for their publication in this report. For subsequent uses that include such copyrighted materials, permission for reproduction must be sought from the copyright holder. In all cases, credit must be given for copyrighted materials. First published 2014 Printed in the United States of America ISBN 9780160924026

Recommended Citation
Melillo, Jerry M., Terese (T.C.) Richmond, and Gary W. Yohe, Eds., 2014: Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment. U.S. Global Change Research Program, 841 pp. doi:10.7930/J0Z31WJ2.

Published by the U.S. Government Printing Office Internet: bookstore.gpo.gov; Phone: toll free (866) 512-1800; DC area (202) 512-1800 Fax: (202) 512-2104 Mail: Stop IDCC, Washington, DC 20402-0001

Letter to Congress

May 2014
Members of Congress:
On behalf of the National Science and Technology Council and the U.S. Global Change Research Program, we are pleased to transmit the report of the Third National Climate Assessment: Climate Change Impacts in the United States. As required by the Global Change Research Act of 1990, this report has collected, evaluated, and integrated observations and research on climate change in the United States. It focuses both on changes that are happening now and further changes that we can expect to see throughout this century.

This report is the result of a three-year analytical effort by a team of over 300 experts, overseen by a broadly constituted Federal Advisory Committee of 60 members. It was developed from information and analyses gathered in over 70 workshops and listening sessions held across the country. It was subjected to extensive review by the public and by scientific experts in and out of government, including a special panel of the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences. This process of unprecedented rigor and transparency was undertaken so that the findings of the National Climate Assessment would rest on the firmest possible base of expert judgment.

We gratefully acknowledge the authors, reviewers, and staff who have helped prepare this Third National Climate Assessment. Their work in assessing the rapid advances in our knowledge of climate science over the past several years has been outstanding. Their findings and key messages not only describe the current state of that science but also the current and future impacts of climate change on major U.S. regions and key sectors of the U.S. economy. This information establishes a strong base that government at all levels of U.S. society can use in responding to the twin challenges of changing our policies to mitigate further climate change and preparing for the consequences of the climate changes that can no longer be avoided. It is also an important scientific resource to empower communities, businesses, citizens, and decision makers with information they need to prepare for and build resilience to the impacts of climate change.

When President Obama launched his Climate Action Plan last year, he made clear that the essential information contained in this report would be used by the Executive Branch to underpin future policies and decisions to better understand and manage the risks of climate change. We strongly and respectfully urge others to do the same. Sincerely,

 

Dr. John P. Holdren
Assistant to the President for Science and Technology
Director, Office of Science and Technology Policy
Executive Office of the President
Dr. Kathryn D. Sullivan
Under Secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere
NOAA Administrator
U.S. Department of Commerce

About the National Climate Assessment

Online at:http://nca2014.globalchange.gov

The National Climate Assessment assesses the science of climate change and its impacts across the United States, now and throughout this century. It documents climate change related impacts and responses for various sectors and regions, with the goal of better informing public and private decision-making at all levels.

A team of more than 300 experts (see page 98), guided by a 60-member National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee (listed on page vi) produced the full report – the largest and most diverse team to produce a U.S. climate assessment. Stakeholders involved in the development of the assessment included decision-makers from the public and private sectors, resource and environmental managers, researchers, representatives from businesses and non-governmental organizations, and the general public. More than 70 workshops and listening sessions were held, and thousands of public and expert comments on the draft report provided additional input to the process.

The assessment draws from a large body of scientific peer-reviewed research, technical input reports, and other publicly available sources; all sources meet the standards of the Information Quality Act. The report was extensively reviewed by the public and experts, including a panel of the National Academy of Sciences, the 13 Federal agencies of the U.S. Global Change Research Program, and the Federal Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Sustainability.

About the HIghlights

Online at:http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/highlights

The Highlights presents the major findings and selected highlights from Climate Change Impacts in the United States, the third National Climate Assessment.

The Highlights report is organized around the National Climate Assessment’s 12 Report Findings, which take an overarching view of the entire report and its 30 chapters. All material in the Highlights report is drawn from the full report. The Key Messages from each of the 30 report chapters appear in boxes throughout this document.

A 20-page Overview booklet is available online.

Federal National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee (NCADAC)

Chair

Jerry Melillo, Marine Biological Laboratory

Vice-Chairs

Terese (T.C.) Richmond, Van Ness Feldman, LLP
Gary Yohe, Wesleyan University

Committee Members

Daniel Abbasi, GameChange Capital, LLC
E. Virginia Armbrust, University of Washington
Timothy (Bull) Bennett, Kiksapa Consulting, LLC
Rosina Bierbaum, University of Michigan and PCAST
Maria Blair, Independent
James Buizer, University of Arizona
Lynne M. Carter, Louisiana State University
F. Stuart Chapin III, University of Alaska
Camille Coley, Florida Atlantic University
Jan Dell, ConocoPhillips
Placido dos Santos, WestLand Resources, Inc.
Paul Fleming, Seattle Public Utilities
Guido Franco, California Energy Commission
Mary Gade, Gade Environmental Group
Aris Georgakakos, Georgia Institute of Technology
David Gustafson, Monsanto Company
David Hales, Second Nature
Sharon Hays, Computer Sciences Corporation
Mark Howden, CSIRO
Anthony Janetos, Boston University
Peter Kareiva, The Nature Conservancy
Rattan Lal, Ohio State University
Arthur Lee, Chevron Corporation
Jo-Ann Leong, Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology
Diana Liverman, University of Arizona and Oxford University
Rezaul Mahmood, Western Kentucky University
Edward Maibach, George Mason University
Michael McGeehin, RTI International
Susanne C. Moser, Susanne Moser Research & Consulting and Stanford University
Richard Moss, University of Maryland and PNNL
Philip Mote, Oregon State University
Jayantha Obeysekera, South Florida Water Management District
Marie O’Neill, University of Michigan
Lindene Patton, Zurich Financial Services
John Posey, East-West Gateway Council of Governments
Sara Pryor, Indiana University
Andrew Rosenberg, University of New Hampshire and Union of Concerned Scientists
Richard Schmalensee, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Henry Schwartz, HGS Consultants, LLC
Joel Smith, Stratus Consulting
Donald Wuebbles, University of Illinois

Ex Officio Committee Members

Ko Barrett, U.S. Department of Commerce
Katharine Batten, U.S. Agency for International Development
Virginia Burkett, U.S. Department of the Interior
Patricia Cogswell, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Gerald Geernaert, U.S. Department of Energy
John Hall, U.S. Department of Defense
Leonard Hirsch, Smithsonian Institution
William Hohenstein, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Patricia Jacobberger-Jellison, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Thomas R. Karl, Subcommittee on Global Change Research, U.S. Department of Commerce
George Luber, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
C. Andrew Miller, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Robert O’Connor, National Science Foundation
Susan Ruffo, White House Council on Environmental Quality
Arthur Rypinski, U.S. Department of Transportation
Trigg Talley, U.S. Department of State

Federal Executive Team

John Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
Katharine Jacobs, Director, National Climate Assessment, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (through December 2013)
Thomas Armstrong, Director, U.S. Global Change Research Program National Coordination Office, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
Thomas R. Karl, Chair, Subcommittee on Global Change Research, U.S. Department of Commerce
Tamara Dickinson, Principal Assistant Director for Environment and Energy, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
Fabien Laurier, Director, Third National Climate Assessment, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
Glynis C. Lough, NCA Chief of Staff, U.S. Global Change Research Program
David Easterling, NCA Technical Support Unit Director, NOAA NCDC

National Climate Assessment Staff

USGCRP National Climate Assessment Coordination Office

Katharine Jacobs, Director, National Climate Assessment, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) (through December 2013) / University of Arizona
Fabien Laurier, Director, Third National Climate Assessment, White House
OSTP (previously Deputy Director, USGCRP) (from December 2013)
Glynis Lough, NCA Chief of Staff, USGCRP / UCAR (from June 2012)
Sheila O’Brien, NCA Chief of Staff, USGCRP / UCAR (through May 2012)
Susan Aragon-Long, NCA Senior Scientist and Sector Coordinator, U.S. Geological Survey
Ralph Cantral, NCA Senior Scientist and Sector Coordinator, NOAA (through November 2012)
Tess Carter, Student Assistant, Brown University
Emily Therese Cloyd, NCA Public Participation and Engagement Coordinator, USGCRP / UCAR
Chelsea Combest-Friedman, NCA International Coordinator, Knauss Marine Policy Fellow, NOAA (February 2011-February 2012)
Alison Delgado, NCA Scientist and Sector Coordinator, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Joint Global Change Research Institute, University of Maryland (from October 2012)
William Emanuel, NCA Senior Scientist and Sector Coordinator, Pacific
Northwest National Laboratory, Joint Global Change Research Institute, University of Maryland (June 2011-September 2012)
Matt Erickson, Student Assistant, Washington State University (July-October 2012)
Ilya Fischhoff, NCA Program Coordinator, USGCRP / UCAR
Elizabeth Fly, NCA Coastal Coordinator, Knauss Marine Policy Fellow, NOAA (February 2013-January 2014)
Chelcy Ford, NCA Sector Coordinator, USFS (August-November 2011)
Wyatt Freeman, Student Assistant, George Mason University / UCAR (May-September 2012)
Bryce Golden-Chen, NCA Program Coordinator, USGCRP / UCAR
Nancy Grimm, NCA Senior Scientist and Sector Coordinator, NSF / Arizona State University (July 2011-September 2012)
Tess Hart, NCA Communications Assistant, USGCRP / UCAR (June-July 2011)
Melissa Kenney, NCA Indicators Coordinator, NOAA / University of Maryland
Fredric Lipschultz, NCA Senior Scientist and Regional Coordinator, NASA / Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences
Stuart Luther, Student Assistant, Arizona State University / UCAR (June-August 2011)
Julie Maldonado, NCA Engagement Assistant and Tribal Coordinator, USGCRP / UCAR
Krista Mantsch, Student Assistant, Indiana University / UCAR (May-September 2013)
Rebecca Martin, Student Assistant, Washington State University (June-August 2012)
Paul Schramm, NCA Sector Coordinator, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (June-November 2010)

Technical Support Unit, National Climatic Data Center, NOAA/NESDIS

David Easterling, NCA Technical Support Unit Director, NOAA National Climatic Data Center (from March 2013)
Anne Waple, NCA Technical Support Unit Director, NOAA NCDC / UCAR (through February 2013)
Susan Joy Hassol, Senior Science Writer, Climate Communication, LLC / Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites, North Carolina State University (CICS-NC)
Paula Ann Hennon, NCA Technical Support Unit Deputy Director, CICS-NC
Kenneth Kunkel, Chief Scientist, CICS-NC
Sara W. Veasey, Creative Director, NOAA NCDC
Andrew Buddenberg, Software Engineer/Scientific Programmer, CICS-NC
Fred Burnett, Administrative Assistant, Jamison Professional Services, Inc.
Sarah Champion, Scientific Data Curator and Process Analyst, CICS-NC
Doreen DiCarlo, Program Coordinator, CICS-NC (August 2011-April 2012)
Daniel Glick, Editor, CICS-NC
Jessicca Griffin, Lead Graphic Designer, CICS-NC
John Keck, Web Consultant, LMI, Inc. (August 2010 - September 2011)
Angel Li, Web Developer, CICS-NC
Clark Lind, Administrative Assistant, The Baldwin Group, Inc. (January-September 2012)
Liz Love-Brotak, Graphic Designer, NOAA NCDC
Tom Maycock, Technical Editor, CICS-NC
Janice Mills, Business Manager, CICS-NC
Deb Misch, Graphic Designer, Jamison Professional Services, Inc.
Julie Moore, Administrative Assistant, The Baldwin Group, Inc. (June 2010-January 2012)
Ana Pinheiro-Privette, Data Coordinator, CICS-NC (January 2012-July 2013)
Deborah B. Riddle, Graphic Designer, NOAA NCDC
April Sides, Web Developer, ERT, Inc.
Laura E. Stevens, Research Scientist, CICS-NC
Scott Stevens, Support Scientist, CICS-NC
Brooke Stewart, Science Editor/Production Coordinator, CICS-NC
Liqiang Sun, Research Scientist/Modeling Support, CICS-NC
Robert Taylor, Student Assistant, UNC Asheville, CICS-NC
Devin Thomas, Metadata Specialist, ERT, Inc.
Teresa Young, Print Specialist, Team ERT/STG, Inc.

Review Editors

Joseph Arvai, University of Calgary
Peter Backlund, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research
Lawrence Band, University of North Carolina
Jill S. Baron, U.S. Geological Survey / Colorado State University
Michelle L. Bell, Yale University
Donald Boesch, University of Maryland
Joel R. Brown, New Mexico State University
Ingrid C. (Indy) Burke, University of Wyoming
Gina Campoli, Vermont Agency of Transportation

Mary Anne Carroll, University of Michigan
Scott L. Collins, University of New Mexico
John Daigle, University of Maine
Ruth DeFries, Columbia University
Lisa Dilling, University of Colorado
Otto C. Doering III, Purdue University
Hadi Dowlatabadi, University of British Columbia
Charles T. Driscoll, Syracuse University
Hallie C. Eakin, Arizona State University
John Farrington, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Chris E. Forest, Pennsylvania State University
Efi Foufoula-Georgiou, University of Minnesota
Adam Freed, The Nature Conservancy
Robert Fri, Resources for the Future
Stephen T. Gray, U.S. Geological Survey
Jay Gulledge, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Terrie Klinger, University of Washington
Ian Kraucunas, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Larissa Larsen, University of Michigan
William J. Massman, U.S. Forest Service
Michael D. Mastrandrea, Stanford University
Pamela Matson, Stanford University
Ronald G. Prinn, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
J.C. Randolph, Indiana University
G. Philip Robertson, Michigan State University
David Robinson, Rutgers University
Dork Sahagian, Lehigh University
Christopher A. Scott, University of Arizona
Peter Vitousek, Stanford University
Andrew C. Wood, NOAA

United States Global Change Research Program

Thomas Armstrong (OSTP), Executive Director, USGCRP
Chris Weaver (OSTP / EPA), Deputy Executive Director, USGCRP

Subcommittee on Global Change Research

Chair

Thomas Karl, U.S. Department of Commerce

Vice Chairs

Ann Bartuska, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Vice Chair, Adaptation Science
Gerald Geernaert, U.S. Department of Energy, Vice Chair, Integrated Modeling
Mike Freilich, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Vice Chair, Integrated Observations
Roger Wakimoto, National Science Foundation, Vice-Chair

Principals

John Balbus, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Katharine Batten, U.S. Agency for International Development
Joel Clement, U.S. Department of the Interior
Robert Detrick, U.S. Department of Commerce
Scott L. Harper, U.S. Department of Defense
Leonard Hirsch, Smithsonian Institution
William Hohenstein, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Jack Kaye, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Michael Kuperberg, U.S. Department of Energy
C. Andrew Miller, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Arthur Rypinski, U.S. Department of Transportation
Joann Roskoski, National Science Foundation
Trigg Talley, U.S. Department of State

Interagency National Climate Assessment Working Group

Chair

Katharine Jacobs, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (through December 2013)
Fabien Laurier, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (from December 2013)

Vice-Chair

Virginia Burkett, U.S. Department of the Interior – U.S. Geological Survey (from March 2013)
Anne Waple, NOAA NCDC / UCAR (through February 2013)

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Allison Leidner, Earth Science Division / Universities Space Research Association

National Science Foundation

Anjuli Bamzai, Directorate for Geosciences (through May 2011)
Eve Gruntfest, Directorate for Geosciences (January-November 2013)
Rita Teutonico, Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (through January 2011)

Smithsonian Institution

Leonard Hirsch, Office of the Undersecretary for Science

U.S. Department of Agriculture

Linda Langner, U.S. Forest Service (through January 2011)
Carolyn Olson, Office of the Chief Economist
Toral Patel-Weynand, U.S. Forest Service
Louie Tupas, National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Margaret Walsh, Office of the Chief Economist

U.S. Department of Commerce

Ko Barrett, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (from February 2013)
David Easterling, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – National Climatic Data Center (from March 2013)
Nancy McNabb, National Institute of Standards and Technology (from February 2013)
Adam Parris, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Anne Waple, NOAA NCDC / UCAR (through February 2013)

U.S. Department of Defense

William Goran, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
John Hall, Office of the Secretary of Defense
Katherine Nixon, Navy Task Force Climate Change (from May 2013)
Courtney St. John, Navy Task Force Climate Change (through August 2012)

U.S. Department of Energy

Robert Vallario, Office of Science
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
John Balbus, National Institutes of Health
Paul Schramm, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (through July 2011)

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Mike Kangior, Office of Policy (from November 2011)
John Laws, National Protection and Programs Directorate (from May 2013)

U.S. Department of the Interior

Susan Aragon-Long, U.S. Geological Survey
Virginia Burkett, U.S. Geological Survey
Leigh Welling, National Park Service (through May 2011)

U.S. Department of State

David Reidmiller, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental & Scientific Affairs
Kenli Kim, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental & Scientific Affairs (from February 2013)

U.S. Department of Transportation

Arthur Rypinski, Office of the Secretary
Mike Savonis, Federal Highway Administration (through March 2011)
AJ Singletary, Office of the Secretary (through August 2010)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Rona Birnbaum, Office of Air and Radiation
Anne Grambsch, Office of Research and Development
Lesley Jantarasami, Office of Air and Radiation

White House Council on Environmental Quality

Jeff Peterson (through July 2013)
Jamie Pool (from February 2013)

White House Office of Management and Budget

Stuart Levenbach (through May 2012)

White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

Katharine Jacobs, Environment and Energy Division (through December 2013)
Fabien Laurier, Environment and Energy Division (from December 2013)

With special thanks to former NOAA Administrator, Jane Lubchenco and former Associate Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, Shere Abbott

Climate Change and the American People

Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present. Corn producers in Iowa, oyster growers in Washington State, and maple syrup producers in Vermont are all observing climate-related changes that are outside of recent experience. So, too, are coastal planners in Florida, water managers in the arid Southwest, city dwellers from Phoenix to New York, and Native Peoples on tribal lands from Louisiana to Alaska. This National Climate Assessment concludes that the evidence of human-induced climate change continues to strengthen and that impacts are increasing across the country.

Americans are noticing changes all around them. Summers are longer and hotter, and extended periods of unusual heat last longer than any living American has ever experienced. Winters are generally shorter and warmer. Rain comes in heavier downpours. People are seeing changes in the length and severity of seasonal allergies, the plant varieties that thrive in their gardens, and the kinds of birds they see in any particular month in their neighborhoods.

Other changes are even more dramatic. Residents of some coastal cities see their streets flood more regularly during storms and high tides. Inland cities near large rivers also experience more flooding, especially in the Midwest and Northeast. Insurance rates are rising in some vulnerable locations, and insurance is no longer available in others. Hotter and drier weather and earlier snowmelt mean that wildfires in the West start earlier in the spring, last later into the fall, and burn more acreage. In Arctic Alaska, the summer sea ice that once protected the coasts has receded, and autumn storms now cause more erosion, threatening many communities with relocation.

Scientists who study climate change confirm that these observations are consistent with significant changes in Earth’s climatic trends. Long-term, independent records from weather stations, satellites, ocean buoys, tide gauges, and many other data sources all confirm that our nation, like the rest of the world, is warming. Precipitation patterns are changing, sea level is rising, the oceans are becoming more acidic, and the frequency and intensity of some extreme weather events are increasing. Many lines of independent evidence demonstrate that the rapid warming of the past half-century is due primarily to human activities.

The observed warming and other climatic changes are triggering wide-ranging impacts in every region of our country and throughout our economy. Some of these changes can be beneficial over the short run, such as a longer growing season in some regions and a longer shipping season on the Great Lakes. But many more are detrimental, largely because our society and its infrastructure were designed for the climate that we have had, not the rapidly changing climate we now have and can expect in the future. In addition, climate change does not occur in isolation. Rather, it is superimposed on other stresses, which combine to create new challenges.

This National Climate Assessment collects, integrates, and assesses observations and research from around the country, helping us to see what is actually happening and understand what it means for our lives, our livelihoods, and our future. This report includes analyses of impacts on seven sectors – human health, water, energy, transportation, agriculture, forests, and ecosystems – and the interactions among sectors at the national level. This report also assesses key impacts on all U.S. regions: Northeast, Southeast and Caribbean, Midwest, Great Plains, Southwest, Northwest, Alaska, Hawai‘i and the Pacific Islands, as well as the country’s coastal areas, oceans, and marine resources.

Over recent decades, climate science has advanced significantly. Increased scrutiny has led to increased certainty that we are now seeing impacts associated with human-induced climate change. With each passing year, the accumulating evidence further expands our understanding and extends the record of observed trends in temperature, precipitation, sea level, ice mass, and many other variables recorded by a variety of measuring systems and analyzed by independent research groups from around the world. It is notable that as these data records have grown longer and climate models have become more comprehensive, earlier predictions have largely been confirmed. The only real surprises have been that some changes, such as sea level rise and Arctic sea ice decline, have outpaced earlier projections.

What is new over the last decade is that we know with increasing certainty that climate change is happening now. While scientists continue to refine projections of the future, observations unequivocally show that climate is changing and that the warming of the past 50 years is primarily due to humaninduced emissions of heat-trapping gases. These emissions come mainly from burning coal, oil, and gas, with additional contributions from forest clearing and some agricultural practices. Global climate is projected to continue to change over this century and beyond, but there is still time to act to limit the amount of change and the extent of damaging impacts.

This report documents the changes already observed and those projected for the future. It is important that these findings and response options be shared broadly to inform citizens and communities across our nation. Climate change presents a major challenge for society. This report advances our understanding of that challenge and the need for the American people to prepare for and respond to its far-reaching implications.

About This Report

This report assesses the science of climate change and its impacts across the United States, now and throughout this century. It integrates findings of the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP)a with the results of research and observations from across the U.S. and around the world, including reports from the U.S. National Research Council. This report documents climate change related impacts and responses for various sectors and regions, with the goal of better informing public and private decision- making at all levels.

REPORT REQUIREMENTS, PRODUCTION, AND APPROVAL

The Global Change Research Act1 requires that, every four years, the USGCRP prepare and submit to the President and Congress an assessment of the effects of global change in the United States. As part of this assessment, more than 70 workshops were held involving a wide range of stakeholders who identified issues and information for inclusion (see Appendix 1: Process). A team of more than 300 experts was involved in writing this report. Authors were appointed by the National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee (NCADAC),b the federal advisory committee assembled for the purpose of conducting this assessment. The report was extensively reviewed and revised based on comments from the public and experts, including a panel of the National Academy of Sciences. The report was reviewed and approved by the USGCRP agencies and the federal Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Sustainability (CENRS). This report meets all federal requirements associated with the Information Quality Act (see Appendix 2: IQA), including those pertaining to public comment and transparency.

REPORT SOURCES

The report draws from a large body of scientific, peer-reviewed research, as well as a number of other publicly available sources. Author teams carefully reviewed these sources to ensure a reliable assessment of the state of scientific understanding. Each source of information was determined to meet the four parts of the IQA Guidance provided to authors: 1) utility, 2) transparency and traceability, 3) objectivity, and 4) integrity and security (see Appendix 2: IQA). Report authors made use of technical input reports produced by federal agencies and other interested parties in response to a request for information by the NCADAC;2 other peer-reviewed scientific assessments (including those of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change); the U.S. National Climate Assessment’s 2009 report titled Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States;3 the National Academy of Science’s America’s Climate Choices reports;4 a variety of regional climate impact assessments, conference proceedings, and government statistics (such as population census and energy usage); and observational data. Case studies were also provided as illustrations of climate impacts and adaptation programs.

a The USGCRP is made up of 13 Federal departments and agencies that carry out research and support the nation’s response to global change The USGCRP is overseen by the Subcommittee on Global Change Research (SGCR) of the National Science and Technology Council’s Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Sustainability (CENRS), which in turn is overseen by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). The agencies within USGCRP are: the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Commerce (NOAA), the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of the Interior, the Department of State, the Department of Transportation, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Smithsonian Institution, and the U.S. Agency for International Development. b The NCADAC is a federal advisory committee sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration under the requirements of the Federal Advisory Committee Act.

 

A guide to the report

The report has eight major sections, outlined below:

  • Overview and Report Findings: gives a high-level perspective on the full National Climate Assessment and sets out the report’s 12 key findings. The Overview synthesizes and summarizes the ideas that the authors consider to be of greatest importance to the American people.
  • Our Changing Climate: presents recent advances in climate change science, which includes discussions of extreme weather events, observed and projected changes in temperature and precipitation, and the uncertainties associated with these projections. Substantial additional material related to this chapter can be found in the Appendices.
  • Sectors: focuses on climate change impacts for seven societal and environmental sectors: human health, water, energy, transportation, agriculture, forests, and ecosystems and biodiversity; six additional chapters consider the interactions among sectors (such as energy, water, and land use) in the context of a changing climate.
  • Regions: assesses key impacts on U.S. regions – Northeast, Southeast and Caribbean, Midwest, Great Plains, Southwest, Northwest, Alaska, and Hawai‘i and the U.S. affiliated Pacific Islands – as well as coastal areas, oceans, and marine resources.
  • Responses: assesses the current state of responses to climate change, including adaptation, mitigation, and decision support activities.
  • Research Needs: highlights major gaps in science and research to improve future assessments. New research is called for in climate science in support of assessments, climate impacts in regions and sectors, and adaptation, mitigation, and decision support.
  • Sustained Assessment Process: describes an initial vision for and components of an ongoing, long-term assessment process.
  • Appendices: Appendix 1 describes key aspects of the report process, with a focus on engagement; Appendix 2 describes the guidelines used in meeting the terms of the Federal Information Quality Act; Appendix 3 supplements the chapter on Our Changing Climate with an extended treatment of selected science issues; Appendix 4 provides answers to Frequently Asked Questions about climate change; Appendix 5 describes scenarios and models used in this assessment; and Appendix 6 describes possible topics for consideration in future assessments.

 

OVERARCHING PERSPECTIVES

Four overarching perspectives, derived from decades of observations, analysis, and experience, have helped to shape this report: 1) climate change is happening in the context of other ongoing changes across the U.S. and the globe; 2) climate change impacts can either be amplified or reduced by societal decisions; 3) climate change related impacts, vulnerabilities, and opportunities in the U.S. are linked to impacts and changes outside the United States, and vice versa; and 4) climate change can lead to dramatic tipping points in natural and social systems. These overarching perspectives are briefly discussed below.

Global Change Context

Climate change is one of a number of global changes affecting society, the environment, and the economy; others include population growth, land-use change, air and water pollution, and rising consumption of resources by a growing and wealthier global population. This perspective has implications for assessments of climate change impacts and the design of research questions at the national, regional, and local scales. This assessment explores some of the consequences of interacting factors by focusing on sets of crosscutting issues in a series of six chapters: Energy, Water, and Land Use; Biogeochemical Cycles; Indigenous Peoples, Lands, and Resources; Urban Systems, Infrastructure, and Vulnerability; Land Use and Land Cover Change; and Rural Communities. The assessment also includes discussions of how climate change impacts cascade through different sectors such as water and energy, and affect and are affected by land-use decisions. These and other interconnections greatly stress society’s capacity to respond to climate-related crises that occur simultaneously or in rapid sequence.

Societal Choices

Because environmental, cultural, and socioeconomic systems are tightly coupled, climate change impacts can either be amplified or reduced by cultural and socioeconomic decisions. In many arenas, it is clear that societal decisions have substantial influence on the vulnerability of valued resources to climate change. For example, rapid population growth and development in coastal areas tends to amplify climate change related impacts. Recognition of these couplings, together with recognition of multiple sources of vulnerability, helps identify what information decision-makers need as they manage risks.

International Context

Climate change is a global phenomenon; the causes and the impacts involve energy-use, economic, and risk-management decisions across the globe. Impacts, vulnerabilities, and opportunities in the U.S. are related in complex and interactive ways with changes outside the United States, and vice versa. In order for U.S. concerns related to climate change to be addressed comprehensively, the international context must be considered. Foreign assistance, health, environmental quality objectives, and economic interests are all affected by climate changes experienced in other parts of the world. Although there is significantly more work to be done in this area, this report identifies some initial implications of global and international trends that can be more fully investigated in future assessments.

Thresholds, Tipping Points, and Surprises

While some climate changes will occur slowly and relatively gradually, others could be rapid and dramatic, leading to unexpected breaking points in natural and social systems. Although they have potentially large impacts, these breaking points or tipping points are difficult to predict, as there are many uncertainties about future conditions. These uncertainties and potential surprises come from a number of sources, including insufficient data associated with low probability/high consequence events, models that are not yet able to represent all the interactions of multiple stresses, incomplete understanding of physical climate mechanisms related to tipping points, and a multitude of issues associated with human behavior, risk management, and decision-making. Improving our ability to anticipate thresholds and tipping points can be helpful in developing effective climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies (Ch. 2: Our Changing Climate; Ch. 29: Research Needs; and Appendices 3 and 4).

RISK MANAGEMENT FRAMEWORK

Authors were asked to consider the science and information needs of decision-makers facing climate change risks to infrastructure, natural ecosystems, resources, communities, and other things of societal value. They were also asked to consider opportunities that climate change might present. For each region and sector, they were asked to assess a small number of key climate-related vulnerabilities of concern based on the risk (considering likelihood and consequence) of impacts. They were also asked to address the most important information needs of stakeholders, and to consider the decisions stakeholders are facing. The criteria provided for identifying key vulnerabilities in each sector or region included magnitude, timing, persistence/reversibility, scale, and distribution of impacts, likelihood whenever possible, importance of impacts (based on the perceptions of relevant parties), and the potential for adaptation. Authors were encouraged to think about these topics from both a quantitative and qualitative perspective and to consider the influence of multiple stresses whenever possible.

RESPONDING TO CLIMATE CHANGE

While the primary focus of this report is on the impacts of climate change in the United States, it also documents some of the actions society is taking or can take to respond. Responses to climate change fall into two broad categories. The first involves “mitigation” measures to reduce future climate change by reducing emissions of heat-trapping gases and particles, or increasing removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The second involves “adaptation” measures to improve society’s ability to cope with or avoid harmful impacts and take advantage of beneficial ones, now and in the future. At this point, both of these response activities are necessary to limit the magnitude and impacts of global climate change on the United States.

More effective mitigation measures can reduce the amount of climate change, and therefore reduce the need for future adaptation. This report underscores the effects of mitigation measures by comparing impacts resulting from higher versus lower emissions scenarios. This shows that choices made about emissions in the next few decades will have far-reaching consequences for climate change impacts throughout this century. Lower emissions will reduce the rate and lessen the magnitude of climate change and its impacts. Higher emissions will do the opposite.

While the report demonstrates the importance of mitigation as an essential part of the nation’s climate change strategy, it does not evaluate mitigation technologies or policies or undertake an analysis of the effectiveness of various approaches. The range of mitigation responses being studied includes, but is not limited to, policies and technologies that lead to more efficient production and use of energy, increased use of non-carbon-emitting energy sources such as wind and solar power, and carbon capture and storage.

Adaptation actions are complementary to mitigation actions. They are focused on moderating harmful impacts of current and future climate variability and change and taking advantage of possible opportunities. While this report assesses the current state of adaptation actions and planning across the country in a general way, the implementation of adaptive actions is still nascent. A comprehensive assessment of actions taken, and of their effectiveness, is not yet possible. This report documents some of the actions currently being pursued to address impacts such as increased urban heat extremes and air pollution, and describes the challenges decision-makers face in planning for and implementing adaptation responses.

TRACEABLE ACCOUNTS: PROCESS AND CONFIDENCE

The “traceable accounts” that accompany each chapter: 1) document the process the authors used to reach the conclusions in their key messages; 2) provide additional information to reviewers and other readers about the quality of the information used; 3) allow traceability to resources; and 4) provide the level of confidence the authors have in the main findings of the chapters. The authors have assessed a wide range of information in the scientific literature and various technical reports. In assessing confidence, they have considered the strength and consistency of the observed evidence, the skill, range, and consistency of model projections, and insights from peer-reviewed sources.

When it is considered scientifically justified to report the likelihood of particular impacts within the range of possible outcomes, this report takes a plain-language approach to expressing the expert judgment of the author team based on the best available evidence. For example, an outcome termed “likely” has at least a two-thirds chance of occurring; an outcome termed “very likely” has more than a 90% chance. Key sources of information used to develop these characterizations are referenced.

1. OVERVIEW

Climate change is already affecting the American people in far-reaching ways. Certain types of extreme weather events with links to climate change have become more frequent and/or intense, including prolonged periods of heat, heavy downpours, and, in some regions, floods and droughts. In addition, warming is causing sea level to rise and glaciers and Arctic sea ice to melt, and oceans are becoming more acidic as they absorb carbon dioxide. These and other aspects of climate change are disrupting people’s lives and damaging some sectors of our economy. ClimateChangeImpacts2014OverviewFigure1.png

 

Climate Change: Present and Future

Evidence for climate change abounds, from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans. Scientists and engineers from around the world have meticulously collected this evidence, using satellites and networks of weather balloons, thermometers, buoys, and other observing systems. Evidence of climate change is also visible in the observed and measured changes in location and behavior of species and functioning of ecosystems. Taken together, this evidence tells an unambiguous story: the planet is warming, and over the last half century, this warming has been driven primarily by human activity.

Multiple lines of independent evidence confirm that human activities are the primary cause of the global warming of the past 50 years. The burning of coal, oil, and gas, and clearing of forests have increased the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by more than 40% since the Industrial Revolution, and it has been known for almost two centuries that this carbon dioxide traps heat. Methane and nitrous oxide emissions from agriculture and other human activities add to the atmospheric burden of heat-trapping gases. Data show that natural factors like the sun and volcanoes cannot have caused the warming observed over the past 50 years. Sensors on satellites have measured the sun’s output with great accuracy and found no overall increase during the past half century. Large volcanic eruptions during this period, such as Mount Pinatubo in 1991, have exerted a short-term cooling influence. In fact, if not for human activities, global climate would actually have cooled slightly over the past 50 years. The pattern of temperature change through the layers of the atmosphere, with warming near the surface and cooling higher up in the stratosphere, further confirms that it is the buildup of heat-trapping gases (also known as “greenhouse gases”) that has caused most of the Earth’s warming over the past half century.

ClimateChangeImpacts2014OverviewFigure2.png

Reference a

Because human-induced warming is superimposed on a background of natural variations in climate, warming is not uniform over time. Short-term fluctuations in the long-term upward trend are thus natural and expected. For example, a recent slowing in the rate of surface air temperature rise appears to be related to cyclic changes in the oceans and in the sun’s energy output, as well as a series of small volcanic eruptions and other factors. Nonetheless, global temperatures are still on the rise and are expected to rise further.

U.S. average temperature has increased by 1.3°F to 1.9°F since 1895, and most of this increase has occurred since 1970. The most recent decade was the nation’s and the world’s hottest on record, and 2012 was the hottest year on record in the continental United States. All U.S. regions have experienced warming in recent decades, but the extent of warming has not been uniform. In general, temperatures are rising more quickly in the north. Alaskans have experienced some of the largest increases in temperature between 1970 and the present. People living in the Southeast have experienced some of the smallest temperature increases over this period.

ClimateChangeImpacts2014OverviewFigure3.png

Reference b

Temperatures are projected to rise another 2°F to 4°F in most areas of the United States over the next few decades. Reductions in some short-lived human-induced emissions that contribute to warming, such as black carbon (soot) and methane, could reduce some of the projected warming over the next couple of decades, because, unlike carbon dioxide, these gases and particles have relatively short atmospheric lifetimes.

The amount of warming projected beyond the next few decades is directly linked to the cumulative global emissions of heat-trapping gases and particles. By the end of this century, a roughly 3°F to 5°F rise is projected under a lower emissions scenario, which would require substantial reductions in emissions (referred to as the “B1 scenario”), and a 5°F to 10°F rise for a higher emissions scenario assuming continued increases in emissions, predominantly from fossil fuel combustion (referred to as the “A2 scenario”). These projections are based on results from 16 climate models that used the two emissions scenarios in a formal intermodel comparison study. The range of model projections for each emissions scenario is the result of the differences in the ways the models represent key factors such as water vapor, ice and snow reflectivity, and clouds, which can either dampen or amplify the initial effect of human influences on temperature. The net effect of these feedbacks is expected to amplify warming. More information about the models and scenarios used in this report can be found in Appendix 5 of the full report. 1

ClimateChangeImpacts2014OverviewFigure4.png

Prolonged periods of high temperatures and the persistence of high nighttime temperatures have increased in many locations (especially in urban areas) over the past half century. High nighttime temperatures have widespread impacts because people, livestock, and wildlife get no respite from the heat. In some regions, prolonged periods of high temperatures associated with droughts contribute to conditions that lead to larger wildfires and longer fire seasons. As expected in a warming climate, recent trends show that extreme heat is becoming more common, while extreme cold is becoming less common. Evidence indicates that the human influence on climate has already roughly doubled the probability of extreme heat events such as the record-breaking summer heat experienced in 2011 in Texas and Oklahoma. The incidence of record-breaking high temperatures is projected to rise. 2

Human-induced climate change means much more than just hotter weather. Increases in ocean and freshwater temperatures, frost-free days, and heavy downpours have all been documented. Global sea level has risen, and there have been large reductions in snow-cover extent, glaciers, and sea ice. These changes and other climatic changes have affected and will continue to affect human health, water supply, agriculture, transportation, energy, coastal areas, and many other sectors of society, with increasingly adverse impacts on the American economy and quality of life. 3 Some of the changes discussed in this report are common to many regions. For example, large increases in heavy precipitation have occurred in the Northeast, Midwest, and Great Plains, where heavy downpours have frequently led to runoff that exceeded the capacity of storm drains and levees, and caused flooding events and accelerated erosion. Other impacts, such as those associated with the rapid thawing of permafrost in Alaska, are unique to a particular U.S. region. Permafrost thawing is causing extensive damage to infrastructure in our nation’s largest state. 4

Some impacts that occur in one region ripple beyond that region. For example, the dramatic decline of summer sea ice in the Arctic – a loss of ice cover roughly equal to half the area of the continental United States – exacerbates global warming by reducing the reflectivity of Earth’s surface and increasing the amount of heat absorbed. Similarly, smoke from wildfires in one location can contribute to poor air quality in faraway regions, and evidence suggests that particulate matter can affect atmospheric properties and therefore weather patterns. Major storms and the higher storm surges exacerbated by sea level rise that hit the Gulf Coast affect the entire country through their cascading effects on oil and gas production and distribution. 5

ClimateChangeImpacts2014OverviewFigure5.png

Reference c

Water expands as it warms, causing global sea levels to rise; melting of land-based ice also raises sea level by adding wate to the oceans. Over the past century, global average sea level has risen by about 8 inches. Since 1992, the rate of global sea level rise measured by satellites has been roughly twice the rate observed over the last century, providing evidence of acceleration. Sea level rise, combined with coastal storms, has increased the risk of erosion, storm surge damage, and flooding for coastal communities, especially along the Gulf Coast, the Atlantic seaboard, and in Alaska. Coastal infrastructure, including roads, rail lines, energy infrastructure, airports, port facilities, and military bases, are increasingly at risk from sea level rise and damaging storm surges. Sea level is projected to rise by another 1 to 4 feet in this century, although the rise in sea level in specific regions is expected to vary from this global average for a number of reasons. A wider range of scenarios, from 8 inches to more than 6 feet by 2100, has been used in risk-based analyses in this report. In general, higher emissions scenarios that lead to more warming would be expected to lead to higher amounts of sea level rise. The stakes are high, as nearly five million Americans and hundreds of billions of dollars of property are located in areas that are less than four feet above the local high-tide level. 6

In addition to causing changes in climate, increasing levels of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels and other human activities have a direct effect on the world’s oceans. Carbon dioxide interacts with ocean water to form carbonic acid, increasing the ocean’s acidity. Ocean surface waters have become 30% more acidic over the last 250 years as they have absorbed large amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This ocean acidification makes water more corrosive, reducing the capacity of marine organisms with shells or skeletons made of calcium carbonate (such as corals, krill, oysters, clams, and crabs) to survive, grow, and reproduce, which in turn will affect the marine food chain. 7

ClimateChangeImpacts2014OverviewFigure6.png

Reference e

Widespread Impacts

Impacts related to climate change are already evident in many regions and sectors and are expected to become increasingly disruptive across the nation throughout this century and beyond. Climate changes interact with other environmental and societal factors in ways that can either moderate or intensify these impacts.

ClimateChangeImpacts2014OverviewFigure7.png

Reference d

Observed and projected climate change impacts vary across the regions of the United States. Selected impacts emphasized in the regional chapters are shown below, and many more are explored in detail in this report.

ClimateChangeImpacts2014OverviewFigure8.png

Northeast Communities are affected by heat waves, more extreme precipitation events, and coastal flooding due to sea level rise and storm surge. Southeast and Caribbean Decreased water availability, exacerbated by population growth and land-use change, causes increased competition for water. There are increased risks associated with extreme events such as hurricanes. Midwest Longer growing seasons and rising carbon dioxide levels increase yields of some crops, although these benefits have already been offset in some instances by occurrence of extreme events such as heat waves, droughts, and floods. Great Plains Rising temperatures lead to increased demand for water and energy and impacts on agricultural practices. Southwest Drought and increased warming foster wildfires and increased competition for scarce water resources for people and ecosystems. Northwest Changes in the timing of streamflow related to earlier snowmelt reduce the supply of water in summer, causing far-reaching ecological and socioeconomic consequences. Alaska Rapidly receding summer sea ice, shrinking glaciers, and thawing permafrost cause damage to infrastructure and major changes to ecosystems. Impacts to Alaska Native communities increase. Hawai‘i and Pacific Islands Increasingly constrained freshwater supplies, coupled with increased temperatures, stress both people and ecosystems and decrease food and water security. Coasts Coastal lifelines, such as water supply infrastructure and evacuation routes, are increasingly vulnerable to higher sea levels and storm surges, inland flooding, and other climate-related changes. Oceans The oceans are currently absorbing about a quarter of human-caused carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere and over 90% of the heat associated with global warming, leading to ocean acidification and the alteration of marine ecosystems.

 

Some climate changes currently have beneficial effects for specific sectors or regions. For example, current benefits of warming include longer growing seasons for agriculture and longer ice-free periods for shipping on the Great Lakes. At the same time, however, longer growing seasons, along with higher temperatures and carbon dioxide levels, can increase pollen production, intensifying and lengthening the allergy season. Longer ice-free periods on the Great Lakes can result in more lake-effect snowfalls. Sectors affected by climate changes include agriculture, water, human health, energy, transportation, forests, and ecosystems. Climate change poses a major challenge to U.S. agriculture because of the critical dependence of agricultural systems on climate. Climate change has the potential to both positively and negatively affect the location, timing, and productivity of crop, livestock, and fishery systems at local, national, and global scales. The United States produces nearly $330 billion per year in agricultural commodities. This productivity is vulnerable to direct impacts on crops and livestock from changing climate conditions and extreme weather events and indirect impacts through increasing pressures from pests and pathogens. Climate change will also alter the stability of food supplies and create new food security challenges for the United States as the world seeks to feed nine billion people by 2050. While the agriculture sector has proven to be adaptable to a range of stresses, as evidenced by continued growth in production and efficiency across the United States, climate change poses a new set of challenges. 8 Water quality and quantity are being affected by climate change. Changes in precipitation and runoff, combined with changes in consumption and withdrawal, have reduced surface and groundwater supplies in many areas. These trends are expected to continue, increasing the likelihood of water shortages for many uses. Water quality is also diminishing in many areas, particularly due to sediment and contaminant concentrations after heavy downpours. Sea level rise, storms and storm surges, and changes in surface and groundwater use patterns are expected to compromise the sustainability of coastal freshwater aquifers and wetlands. In most U.S. regions, water resources managers and planners will encounter new risks, vulnerabilities, and opportunities that may not be properly managed with existing practices. 9

ClimateChangeImpacts2014OverviewFigure10.png

Climate change affects human health in many ways. For example, increasingly frequent and intense heat events lead to more heat-related illnesses and deaths and, over time, worsen drought and wildfire risks, and intensify air pollution. Increasingly frequent extreme precipitation and associated flooding can lead to injuries and increases in waterborne disease. Rising sea surface temperatures have been linked with increasing levels and ranges of diseases. Rising sea levels intensify coastal flooding and storm surge, and thus exacerbate threats to public safety during storms. Certain groups of people are more vulnerable to the range of climate change related health impacts, including the elderly, children, the poor, and the sick. Others are vulnerable because of where they live, including those in floodplains, coastal zones, and some urban areas. Improving and properly supporting the public health infrastructure will be critical to managing the potential health impacts of climate change. 10

Certain groups of people are more vulnerable to the range of climate change related health impacts, including the elderly, children, the poor, and the sick.

ClimateChangeImpacts2014OverviewFigure9.png

Climate change also affects the living world, including people, through changes in ecosystems and biodiversity. Ecosystems provide a rich array of benefits and services to humanity, including habitat for fish and wildlife, drinking water storage and filtration, fertile soils for growing crops, buffering against a range of stressors including climate change impacts, and aesthetic and cultural values. These benefits are not always easy to quantify, but they support jobs, economic growth, health, and human well-being. Climate change driven disruptions to ecosystems have direct and indirect human impacts, including reduced water supply and quality, the loss of iconic species and landscapes, effects on food chains and the timing and success of species migrations, and the potential for extreme weather and climate events to destroy or degrade the ability of ecosystems to provide societal benefits. 11

Human modifications of ecosystems and landscapes often increase their vulnerability to damage from extreme weather events, while simultaneously reducing their natural capacity to moderate the impacts of such events. For example, salt marshes, reefs, mangrove forests, and barrier islands defend coastal ecosystems and infrastructure, such as roads and buildings, against storm surges. The loss of these natural buffers due to coastal development, erosion, and sea level rise increases the risk of catastrophic damage during or after extreme weather events. Although floodplain wetlands are greatly reduced from their historical extent, those that remain still absorb floodwaters and reduce the effects of high flows on river-margin lands. Extreme weather events that produce sudden increases in water flow, often carrying debris and pollutants, can decrease the natural capacity of ecosystems to cleanse contaminants. 12

The climate change impacts being felt in the regions and sectors of the United States are affected by global trends and economic decisions. In an increasingly interconnected world, U.S. vulnerability is linked to impacts in other nations. It is thus difficult to fully evaluate the impacts of climate change on the United States without considering consequences of climate change elsewhere.

The amount of future climate change will still largely be determined by choices society makes about emissions.

Response Options

As the impacts of climate change are becoming more prevalent, Americans face choices. Especially because of past emissions of long-lived heat-trapping gases, some additional climate change and related impacts are now unavoidable. This is due to the long-lived nature of many of these gases, as well as the amount of heat absorbed and retained by the oceans and other responses within the climate system. The amount of future climate change, however, will still largely be determined by choices society makes about emissions. Lower emissions of heat-trapping gases and particles mean less future warming and less-severe impacts; higher emissions mean more warming and more severe impacts. Efforts to limit emissions or increase carbon uptake fall into a category of response options known as “mitigation,” which refers to reducing the amount and speed of future climate change by reducing emissions of heat-trapping gases or removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. 13

The other major category of response options is known as “adaptation,” and refers to actions to prepare for and adjust to new conditions, thereby reducing harm or taking advantage of new opportunities. Mitigation and adaptation actions are linked in multiple ways, including that effective mitigation reduces the need for adaptation in the future. Both are essential parts of a comprehensive climate change response strategy. The threat of irreversible impacts makes the timing of mitigation efforts particularly critical. This report includes chapters on Mitigation, Adaptation, and Decision Support that offer an overview of the options and activities being planned or implemented around the country as local, state, federal, and tribal governments, as well as businesses, organizations, and individuals begin to respond to climate change. These chapters conclude that while response actions are under development, current implementation efforts are insufficient to avoid increasingly negative social, environmental, and economic consequences. 14

Large reductions in global emissions of heat-trapping gases, similar to the lower emissions scenario (B1) analyzed in this assessment, would reduce the risks of some of the worst impacts of climate change. Some targets called for in international climate negotiations to date would require even larger reductions than those outlined in the B1 scenario. Meanwhile, global emissions are still rising and are on a path to be even higher than the high emissions scenario (A2) analyzed in this report. The recent U.S. contribution to annual global emissions is about 18%, but the U.S. contribution to cumulative global emissions over the last century is much higher. Carbon dioxide lasts for a long time in the atmosphere, and it is the cumulative carbon emissions that determine the amount of global climate change. After decades of increases, U.S. CO2 emissions from energy use (which account for 97% of total U.S. emissions) declined by around 9% between 2008 and 2012, largely due to a shift from coal to less CO2-intensive natural gas for electricity production. Governmental actions in city, state, regional, and federal programs to promote energy efficiency have also contributed to reducing U.S. carbon emissions. Many, if not most of these programs are motivated by other policy objectives, but some are directed specifically at greenhouse gas emissions.

These U.S. actions and others that might be undertaken in the future are described in the Mitigation chapter of this report. Over the remainder of this century, aggressive and sustained greenhouse gas emission reductions by the United States and by other nations would be needed to reduce global emissions to a level consistent with the lower scenario (B1) analyzed in this assessment. 15

With regard to adaptation, the pace and magnitude of observed and projected changes emphasize the need to be prepared for a wide variety and intensity of impacts. Because of the growing influence of human activities, the climate of the past is not a good basis for future planning. For example, building codes and landscaping ordinances could be updated to improve energy efficiency, conserve water supplies, protect against insects that spread disease (such as dengue fever), reduce susceptibility to heat stress, and improve protection against extreme events. The fact that climate change impacts are increasing points to the urgent need to develop and refine approaches that enable decision-making and increase flexibility and resilience in the face of ongoing and future impacts. Reducing non-climate-related stresses that contribute to existing vulnerabilities can also be an effective approach to climate change adaptation. 16

Adaptation can involve considering local, state, regional, national, and international jurisdictional objectives. For example, in managing water supplies to adapt to a changing climate, the implications of international treaties should be considered in the context of managing the Great Lakes, the Columbia River, and the Colorado River to deal with increased drought risk. Both “bottom up” community planning and “top down” national strategies may help regions deal with impacts such as increases in electrical brownouts, heat stress, floods, and wildfires. 17

Proactively preparing for climate change can reduce impacts while also facilitating a more rapid and efficient response to changes as they happen. Such efforts are beginning at the federal, regional, state, tribal, and local levels, and in the corporate and non-governmental sectors, to build adaptive capacity and resilience to climate change impacts. Using scientific information to prepare for climate changes in advance can provide economic opportunities, and proactively managing the risks can reduce impacts and costs over time. 18

There are a number of areas where improved scientific information or understanding would enhance the capacity to estimate future climate change impacts. For example, knowledge of the mechanisms controlling the rate of ice loss in Greenland and Antarctica is limited, making it difficult for scientists to narrow the range of expected future sea level rise. Improved understanding of ecological and social responses to climate change is needed, as is understanding of how ecological and social responses will interact. 19

A sustained climate assessment process could more efficiently collect and synthesize the rapidly evolving science and help supply timely and relevant information to decision-makers. Results from all of these efforts could continue to deepen our understanding of the interactions of human and natural systems in the context of a changing climate, enabling society to effectively respond and prepare for our future. 20

The cumulative weight of the scientific evidence contained in this report confirms that climate change is affecting the American people now, and that choices we make will affect our future and that of future generations.

ClimateChangeImpacts2014OverviewFigure11.png

Report Findings

These findings distill important results that arise from this National Climate Assessment. They do not represent a full summary of all of the chapters’ findings, but rather a synthesis of particularly noteworthy conclusions.

 

ClimateChangeImpacts2014OverviewFigure12.png 1. Global climate is changing and this is apparent across the United States in a wide range of observations. The global warming of the past 50 years is primarily due to human activities, predominantly the burning of fossil fuels. Many independent lines of evidence confirm that human activities are affecting climate in unprecedented ways. U.S. average temperature has increased by 1.3°F to 1.9°F since record keeping began in 1895; most of this increase has occurred since about 1970. The most recent decade was the warmest on record. Because human-induced warming is superimposed on a naturally varying climate, rising temperatures are not evenly distributed across the country or over time. 21 See page 18.
ClimateChangeImpacts2014OverviewFigure13.png 2. Some extreme weather and climate events have increased in recent decades, and new and stronger evidence confirms that some of these increases are related to human activities. Changes in extreme weather events are the primary way that most people experience climate change. Human-induced climate change has already increased the number and strength of some of these extreme events. Over the last 50 years, much of the United States has seen an increase in prolonged periods of excessively high temperatures, more heavy downpours, and in some regions, more severe droughts. 22 See page 24.
ClimateChangeImpacts2014OverviewFigure14.png 3. Human-induced climate change is projected to continue, and it will accelerate significantly if global emissions of heat-trapping gases continue to increase. Heat-trapping gases already in the atmosphere have committed us to a hotter future with more climate-related impacts over the next few decades. The magnitude of climate change beyond the next few decades depends primarily on the amount of heat-trapping gases that human activities emit globally, now and in the future. 23 See page 28.
ClimateChangeImpacts2014OverviewFigure15.png 4. Impacts related to climate change are already evident in many sectors and are expected to become increasingly disruptive across the nation throughout this century and beyond. Climate change is already affecting societies and the natural world. Climate change interacts with other environmental and societal factors in ways that can either moderate or intensify these impacts. The types and magnitudes of impacts vary across the nation and through time. Children, the elderly, the sick, and the poor are especially vulnerable. There is mounting evidence that harm to the nation will increase substantially in the future unless global emissions of heat-trapping gases are greatly reduced. 24 See page 32.
ClimateChangeImpacts2014OverviewFigure16.png 5. Climate change threatens human health and well-being in many ways, including through more extreme weather events and wildfire, decreased air quality, and diseases transmitted by insects, food, and water. Climate change is increasing the risks of heat stress, respiratory stress from poor air quality, and the spread of waterborne diseases. Extreme weather events often lead to fatalities and a variety of health impacts on vulnerable populations, including impacts on mental health, such as anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. Large-scale changes in the environment due to climate change and extreme weather events are increasing the risk of the emergence or reemergence of health threats that are currently uncommon in the United States, such as dengue fever. 25 See page 34.
ClimateChangeImpacts2014OverviewFigure17.png 6. Infrastructure is being damaged by sea level rise, heavy downpours, and extreme heat; damages are projected to increase with continued climate change. Sea level rise, storm surge, and heavy downpours, in combination with the pattern of continued development in coastal areas, are increasing damage to U.S. infrastructure including roads, buildings, and industrial facilities, and are also increasing risks to ports and coastal military installations. Flooding along rivers, lakes, and in cities following heavy downpours, prolonged rains, and rapid melting of snowpack is exceeding the limits of flood protection infrastructure designed for historical conditions. Extreme heat is damaging transportation infrastructure such as roads, rail lines, and airport runways. 26 See page 38.
ClimateChangeImpacts2014OverviewFigure18.png 7. Water quality and water supply reliability are jeopardized by climate change in a variety of ways that affect ecosystems and livelihoods. Surface and groundwater supplies in some regions are already stressed by increasing demand for water as well as declining runoff and groundwater recharge. In some regions, particularly the southern part of the country and the Caribbean and Pacific Islands, climate change is increasing the likelihood of water shortages and competition for water among its many uses. Water quality is diminishing in many areas, particularly due to increasing sediment and contaminant concentrations after heavy downpours. 27 See page 42.
ClimateChangeImpacts2014OverviewFigure19.png 8. Climate disruptions to agriculture have been increasing and are projected to become more severe over this century. Some areas are already experiencing climate-related disruptions, particularly due to extreme weather events. While some U.S. regions and some types of agricultural production will be relatively resilient to climate change over the next 25 years or so, others will increasingly suffer from stresses due to extreme heat, drought, disease, and heavy downpours. From mid-century on, climate change is projected to have more negative impacts on crops and livestock across the country – a trend that could diminish the security of our food supply. 28 See page 46.
ClimateChangeImpacts2014OverviewFigure20.png 9. Climate change poses particular threats to Indigenous Peoples’ health, wellbeing, and ways of life. Chronic stresses such as extreme poverty are being exacerbated by climate change impacts such as reduced access to traditional foods, decreased water quality, and increasing exposure to health and safety hazards. In parts of Alaska, Louisiana, the Pacific Islands, and other coastal locations, climate change impacts (through erosion and inundation) are so severe that some communities are already relocating from historical homelands to which their traditions and cultural identities are tied. Particularly in Alaska, the rapid pace of temperature rise, ice and snow melt, and permafrost thaw are significantly affecting critical infrastructure and traditional livelihoods. 29 See page 48.
ClimateChangeImpacts2014OverviewFigure21.png 10. Ecosystems and the benefits they provide to society are being affected by climate change. The capacity of ecosystems to buffer the impacts of extreme events like fires, floods, and severe storms is being overwhelmed. Climate change impacts on biodiversity are already being observed in alteration of the timing of critical biological events such as spring bud burst and substantial range shifts of many species. In the longer term, there is an increased risk of species extinction. These changes have social, cultural, and economic effects. Events such as droughts, floods, wildfires, and pest outbreaks associated with climate change (for example, bark beetles in the West) are already disrupting ecosystems. These changes limit the capacity of ecosystems, such as forests, barrier beaches, and wetlands, to continue to play important roles in reducing the impacts of these extreme events on infrastructure, human communities, and other valued resources. 30 See page 50.
ClimateChangeImpacts2014OverviewFigure22.png 11. Ocean waters are becoming warmer and more acidic, broadly affecting ocean circulation, chemistry, ecosystems, and marine life. More acidic waters inhibit the formation of shells, skeletons, and coral reefs. Warmer waters harm coral reefs and alter the distribution, abundance, and productivity of many marine species. The rising temperature and changing chemistry of ocean water combine with other stresses, such as overfishing and coastal and marine pollution, to alter marine-based food production and harm fishing communities. 31 See page 58.
ClimateChangeImpacts2014OverviewFigure23.png 12. Planning for adaptation (to address and prepare for impacts) and mitigation (to reduce future climate change, for example by cutting emissions) is becoming more widespread, but current implementation efforts are insufficient to avoid increasingly negative social, environmental, and economic consequences. Actions to reduce emissions, increase carbon uptake, adapt to a changing climate, and increase resilience to impacts that are unavoidable can improve public health, economic development, ecosystem protection, and quality of life. 32 See page 62

.

References

Numbered references for the Overview indicate the chapters that provide supporting evidence for the reported conclusions.

1

Ch. 2.

2

Ch. 2, 3, 6, 9, 20.

3

Ch. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 12, 16, 20, 24, 25.

4

Ch. 2, 12, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23.

5

Ch. 2, 4, 12, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 22, 25.

6

Ch. 2, 4, 5, 10, 12, 16, 17, 20, 22, 25.

7

Ch. 2, 12, 23, 24, 25.

8

Ch. 2, 12, 13, 14, 18, 19.

9

Ch. 2, 3, 12, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 23.

10

Ch. 2, 9, 11, 12, 13, 16, 18, 19, 20, 25.

11

Ch. 3, 6, 8, 12, 14, 23, 24, 25.

12

Ch. 3, 7, 8, 25.

13

Ch. 2, 26, 27.

14

Ch. 26, 27, 28.

15

Ch. 2, 4, 27.

16

Ch. 2, 3, 5, 9, 11, 12, 13, 25, 26, 27, 28.

17

Ch. 3, 7, 9, 10, 12, 18, 20, 21, 26, 28.

18

Ch. 28.

19

Ch. 29, Appendix 6.

20

Ch. 30.

21

Ch. 2, Appendices 3 and 4.

22

Ch. 2, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 23, Appendices 3 and 4.

23

Ch. 2, 27, Appendices 3 and 4.

24

Ch. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25.

25

Ch. 2, 6, 9, 11, 12, 16, 19, 20, 22, 23.

26

Ch. 2, 3, 5, 6, 11, 12, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 25.

27

Ch. 2, 3, 12, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 23.

28

Ch. 2, 6, 12, 13, 14, 18, 19.

29

Ch. 12, 17, 20, 21, 22, 23, 25.

30

Ch. 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 14, 15, 19, 25.

31

Ch. 2, 12, 23, 24, 25.

32

Ch. 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13, 15, 25, 26, 27, 28.

Letter references refer to external sources

a

Kennedy, J. J., P. W. Thorne, T. C. Peterson, R. A. Reudy, P. A. Stott, D. E. Parker, S. A. Good, H. A. Titchner, and K. M. Willett, 2010: How do we know the world has warmed? State of the Climate in 2009. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 91, S26-27, doi:10.1175/BAMS-91-7-StateoftheClimate. [Available online at http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/...eoftheClimate]

b

Huber, M., and R. Knutti, 2012: Anthropogenic and natural warming inferred from changes in Earth’s energy balance. Nature Geoscience, 5, 31-36, doi:10.1038/ngeo1327. [Available online at http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v.../ngeo1327.pdf]

c

Karl, T. R., J. T. Melillo, and T. C. Peterson, Eds., 2009: Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States. Cambridge University Press, 189 pp. [Available online at http://downloads.globalchange.gov/us...ts-report.pdf]

d

Feely, R. A., S. C. Doney, and S. R. Cooley, 2009: Ocean acidification: Present conditions and future changes in a high-CO2 world. Oceanography, 22, 36-47, doi:10.5670/oceanog.2009.95. [Available online at http://www.tos.org/oceanography/arch...2-4_feely.pdf]

e

Bednaršek, N., G. A. Tarling, D. C. E. Bakker, S. Fielding, E. M. Jones, H. J. Venables, P. Ward, A. Kuzirian, B. Lézé, R. A. Feely, and E. J. Murphy, 2012: Extensive dissolution of live pteropods in the Southern Ocean. Nature Geoscience, 5, 881-885, doi:10.1038/ngeo1635

PHOTO CREDITS

My Note: Where are these photos?

pg. 23–Person pumping gas: Charles Minshew/KOMU; People cooling off during heatwave: ©Julie Jacobson/AP/Corbis; Smog over city: ©iStockPhoto.comDanielStein;Childblowingnose: ©Stockbyte/Getty Images

pg. 24–Mosquito: ©James Gathany, CDC; Road washed out due to flooding: ©John Wark/AP/Corbis; Mountain stream: ©DanSherwood/Design Pics/Corbis; Farmer with corn: ©iStockPhoto.com/ValentinRussanov

pg. 25–Person building house: ©Aaron Huey/National Geographic Society/Corbis; Bear: ©Chase Swift/Corbis; Manatee: US Fish and Wildlife Service; Person with solar panels: ©DennisSchroeder, NREL

2. OUR CHANGING CLIMATE

Key Message 1: Observed Climate Change

Global climate is changing and this change is apparent across a wide range of observations. The global warming of the past 50 years is primarily due to human activities.

Figure 2.1

These are just some of the indicators measured globally over many decades that show that the Earth’s climate is warming. White arrows indicate increasing trends, and black arrows indicate decreasing trends. All the indicators expected to increase in a warming world are, in fact, increasing, and all those expected to decrease in a warming world are decreasing. (Figure source: NOAA NCDC based on data updated from Kennedy et al. 20103).

Figure 2.2

Global annual average temperature (as measured over both land and oceans)  has increased by more than 1.5°F (0.8°C) since 1880 (through 2012). Red bars show temperatures above the long-term average, and blue bars indicate temperatures below the long-term average. The black line shows atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration in parts per million (ppm). While there is a clear long-term global warming trend, some years do not show a temperature increase relative to the previous year, and some years show greater changes than others. These year-to-year fluctuations in temperature are due to natural processes, such as the effects of El Niños, La Niñas, and volcanic eruptions. (Figure source: updated from Karl et al. 20091).

Figure 2.3

Observed global average changes (black line), model simulations using only changes in natural factors (solar and volcanic) in green, and model simulations with the addition of human-induced emissions (blue). Climate changes since 1950 cannot be explained by natural factors or variability, and can only be explained by human factors. (Figure source: adapted from Huber and Knutti29).

Key Message 2: Future Climate Change

Global climate is projected to continue to change over this century and beyond. The magnitude of climate change beyond the next few decades depends primarily on the amount of heat-trapping gases emitted globally, and how sensitive the Earth’s climate is to those emissions.

Figure 2.4

Different amounts of heat-trapping gases released into the atmosphere by human activities produce different projected increases in Earth’s temperature. In the figure, each line represents a central estimate of global average temperature rise (relative to the 1901-1960 average) for a specific emissions pathway. Shading indicates the range (5th to 95th percentile) of results from a suite of climate models. Projections in 2099 for additional emissions pathways are indicated by the bars to the right of each panel. In all cases, temperatures are expected to rise, although the difference between lower and higher emissions pathways is substantial. (Left) The panel shows the two main scenarios (SRES – Special Report on Emissions Scenarios) used in this report: A2 assumes continued increases in emissions throughout this century, and B1 assumes much slower increases in emissions beginning now and significant emissions reductions beginning around 2050, though not due explicitly to climate change policies. (Right) The panel shows newer analyses, which are results from the most recent generation of climate models (CMIP5) using the most recent emissions pathways (RCPs – Representative Concentration Pathways). Some of these new projections explicitly consider climate policies that would result in emissions reductions, which the SRES set did not.35 The newest set includes both lower and higher pathways than did the previous set. The lowest emissions pathway shown here, RCP 2.6, assumes immediate and rapid reductions in emissions and would result in about 2.5°F of warming in this century. The highest pathway, RCP 8.5, roughly similar to a continuation of the current path of global emissions increases, is projected to lead to more than 8°F warming by 2100, with a high-end possibility of more than 11°F. (Data from CMIP3, CMIP5, and NOAA NCDC).

Figure 2.5

Projected change in average annual temperature over the period 2071-2099 (compared to the period 1970-1999) under a low scenario that assumes rapid reductions in emissions and concentrations of heat-trapping gases (RCP 2.6), and a higher scenario that assumes continued increases in emissions (RCP 8.5). (Figure source: NOAA NCDC / CICS-NC).

Figure 2.6

Projected change in average annual precipitation over the period 2071-2099 (compared to the period 1970-1999) under a low scenario that assumes rapid reductions in emissions and concentrations of heat-trapping gasses (RCP 2.6), and a higher scenario that assumes continued increases in emissions (RCP 8.5). Hatched areas indicate confidence that the projected changes are significant and consistent among models. White areas indicate that the changes are not projected to be larger than could be expected from natural variability. In general, northern parts of the U.S. (especially the Northeast and Alaska) are projected to receive more precipitation, while southern parts (especially the Southwest) are projected to receive less. (Figure source: NOAA NCDC / CICS-NC).

Key Message 3: Recent U.S. Temperature Trends

U.S. average temperature has increased by 1.3°F to 1.9°F since record keeping began in 1895; most of this increase has occurred since about 1970. The most recent decade was the nation’s warmest on record. Temperatures in the United States are expected to continue to rise. Because human-induced warming is superimposed on a naturally varying climate, the temperature rise has not been, and will not be, uniform or smooth across the country or over time.

Figure 2.7

The colors on the map show temperature changes over the past 22 years (1991-2012) compared to the 1901-1960 average, and compared to the 1951-1980 average for Alaska and Hawai‘i. The bars on the graphs show the average temperature changes by decade for 1901-2012 (relative to the 1901-1960 average) for each region. The far right bar in each graph (2000s decade) includes 2011 and 2012. The period from 2001 to 2012 was warmer than any previous decade in every region. (Figure source: NOAA NCDC / CICS-NC).

Figure 2.8

Maps show projected change in average surface air temperature in the later part of this century (2071-2099) relative to the later part of the last century (1970-1999) under a scenario that assumes substantial reductions in heat trapping gases (B1, left) and a higher emissions scenario that assumes continued increases in global emissions (A2, right). (See Appendix 3: Climate Science, Supplemental Message 5 for a discussion of temperature changes under a wider range of future scenarios for various periods of this century). (Figure source: NOAA NCDC / CICS-NC).

Key Message 4: Lengthening Frost-free Season

The length of the frost-free season (and the corresponding growing season) has been increasing nationally since the 1980s, with the largest increases occurring in the western United States, affecting ecosystems and agriculture. Across the United States, the growing season is projected to continue to lengthen.

Figure 2.9

The largest uncertainty in projecting climate change beyond the next few decades is the level of heattrapping gas emissions. The most recent model projections (CMIP5) take into account a wider range of options with regard to human behavior, including a lower scenario than has been considered before (RCP 2.6). This scenario assumes rapid reductions in emissions – more than 70% cuts from current levels by 2050 and further large decreases by 2100 – and the corresponding smaller amount of warming. On the higher end, the scenarios include one that assumes continued increases in emissions (RCP 8.5) and the corresponding greater amount of warming. Also shown are temperature changes for the intermediate scenarios RCP 4.5 (which is most similar to B1) and RCP 6.0 (which is most similar to A1B; see Appendix 3: Climate Science Supplement). Projections show change in average temperature in the later part of this century (2071-2099) relative to the late part of last century (1970-1999). (Figure source: NOAA NCDC / CICS-NC).

Figure 2.10

The frost-free season length, defined as the period between the last occurrence of 32°F in the spring and the first occurrence of 32°F in the fall, has increased in each U.S. region during 1991-2012 relative to 1901-1960. Increases in frost-free season length correspond to similar increases in growing season length. (Figure source: NOAA NCDC / CICS-NC).

Figure 2.11

The maps show projected increases in frost-free season length for the last three decades of this century (2070-2099 as compared to 1971-2000) under two emissions scenarios, one in which heat-trapping gas emissions continue to grow (A2) and one in which emissions peak in 2050 (B1). Increases in the frost-free season correspond to similar increases in the growing season. White areas are projected to experience no freezes for 2070-2099, and gray areas are projected to experience more than 10 frost-free years during the same period. (Figure source: NOAA NCDC / CICS-NC).

Key Message 5: U.S. Precipitation Change

Average U.S. precipitation has increased since 1900, but some areas have had increases greater than the national average, and some areas have had decreases. More winter and spring precipitation is projected for the northern United States, and less for the Southwest, over this century.

Figure 2.12

The colors on the map show annual total precipitation changes for 1991-2012 compared to the 1901-1960 average, and show wetter conditions in most areas. The bars on the graphs show average precipitation differences by decade for 1901-2012 (relative to the 1901-1960 average) for each region. The far right bar in each graph is for 2001-2012. (Figure source: adapted from Peterson et al. 201348).

Figure 2.13

Top panels show simulated changes in the average amount of precipitation falling on the wettest day of the year for the period 2070-2099 as compared to 1971-2000 under a scenario that assumes rapid reductions in emissions (RCP 2.6) and one that assumes continued emissions increases (RCP 8.5). Bottom panels show simulated changes in the annual maximum number of consecutive dry days (days receiving less than 0.04 inches (1 mm) of precipitation) under the same two scenarios. Simulations are from CMIP5 models. Stippling indicates areas where changes are consistent among at least 80% of the models used in this analysis. (Figure source: NOAA NCDC / CICS-NC).

Figure 2.14

Projected change in seasonal precipitation for 2071-2099 (compared to 1970-1999) under an emissions scenario that assumes continued increases in emissions (A2). Hatched areas indicate that the projected changes are significant and consistent among models. White areas indicate that the changes are not projected to be larger than could be expected from natural variability. In general, the northern part of the U.S. is projected to see more winter and spring precipitation, while the southwestern U.S. is projected to experience less precipitation in the spring. (Figure source: NOAA NCDC / CICS-NC).

Figure 2.15

Seasonal precipitation change for 2071-2099 (compared to 1970-1999) as projected by recent simulations that include a wider range of scenarios. The maps on the left (RCP 2.6) assume rapid reductions in emissions – more than 70% cuts from current levels by 2050 – and a corresponding much smaller amount of warming and far less precipitation change. On the right, RCP 8.5 assumes continued increases in emissions, with associated large increases in warming and major precipitation changes. These would include, for example, large reductions in spring precipitation in the Southwest and large increases in the Northeast and Midwest. Rapid emissions reductions would be required for the more modest changes in the maps on the left. Hatched areas indicate that the projected changes are significant and consistent among models. White areas indicate that the changes are not projected to be larger than could be expected from natural variability. (Figure source: NOAA NCDC / CICS-NC).

Figure 2.16

One measure of a heavy precipitation event is a 2-day precipitation total that is exceeded on average only once in a five-year period, also known as a once-in-fiveyear event. As this extreme precipitation index for 1901-2012 shows, the occurrence of such events has become much more common in recent decades. Changes are compared to the period 1901-1960, and do not include Alaska or Hawai‘i. The 2000s decade (far right bar) includes 2001-2012. (Figure source: adapted from Kunkel et al. 201352).

Key Message 6: Heavy Downpours Increasing

Heavy downpours are increasing nationally, especially over the last three to five decades. Largest increases are in the Midwest and Northeast. Increases in the frequency and intensity of extreme precipitation events are projected for all U.S. regions.

Figure 2.17

Percent changes in the annual amount of precipitation falling in very heavy events, defined as the heaviest 1% of all daily events from 1901 to 2012 for each region. The far right bar is for 2001-2012. In recent decades there have been increases nationally, with the largest increases in the Northeast, Great Plains, Midwest, and Southeast. Changes are compared to the 1901-1960 average for all regions except Alaska and Hawai‘i, which are relative to the 1951-1980 average. (Figure source: NOAA NCDC / CICS-NC).

Figure 2.18

Figure 2.18. The map shows percent increases in the amount of precipitation falling in very heavy events (defined as the heaviest 1% of all daily events) from 1958 to 2012 for each region of the continental United States. These trends are larger than natural variations for the Northeast, Midwest, Puerto Rico, Southeast, Great Plains, and Alaska. The trends are not larger than natural variations for the Southwest, Hawai‘i, and the Northwest. The changes shown in this figure are calculated from the beginning and end points of the trends for 1958 to 2012. (Figure source: updated from Karl et al. 20091).

Figure 2.19

Maps show the increase in frequency of extreme daily precipitation events (a daily amount that now occurs once in 20 years) by the later part of this century (2081-2100) compared to the later part of last century (1981-2000). Such extreme events are projected to occur more frequently everywhere in the United States. Under the rapid emissions reduction scenario (RCP 2.6), these events would occur nearly twice as often. For the scenario assuming continued increases in emissions (RCP 8.5), these events would occur up to five times as often. (Figure source: NOAA NCDC / CICS-NC).

Key Message 7: Extreme Weather

There have been changes in some types of extreme weather events over the last several decades. Heat waves have become more frequent and intense, especially in the West. Cold waves have become less frequent and intense across the nation. There have been regional trends in floods and droughts. Droughts in the Southwest and heat waves everywhere are projected to become more intense, and cold waves less intense everywhere.

Figure 2.20

Change in surface air temperature at the end of this century (2081-2100) relative to the turn of the last century (1986-2005) on the coldest and hottest days under a scenario that assumes a rapid reduction in heat trapping gases (RCP 2.6) and a scenario that assumes continued increases in these gases (RCP 8.5). This figure shows estimated changes in the average temperature of the hottest and coldest days in each 20-year period. In other words, the hottest days will get even hotter, and the coldest days will be less cold. (Figure source: NOAA NCDC / CICS-NC).

Figure 2.21

Trend magnitude (triangle size) and direction (green = increasing trend, brown = decreasing trend) of annual flood magnitude from the 1920s through 2008. Local areas can be affected by land-use change (such as dams). Most significant are the increasing trend for floods in the Midwest and Northeast and the decreasing trend in the Southwest. (Figure source: Peterson et al. 201348).

Figure 2.22

Average change in soil moisture compared to 1971-2000, as projected for the middle of this century (2041-2070) and late this century (2071-2100) under two emissions scenarios, a lower scenario (B1) and a higher scenario (A2).75,77 The future drying of soils in most areas simulated by this sophisticated hydrologic model (Variable Infiltration Capacity or VIC model) is consistent with the future drought increases using the simpler Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI) metric. Only the western U.S. is displayed because model simulations were only run for this area. (Figure source: NOAA NCDC / CICS-NC).

Key Message 8: Changes in Hurricanes

The intensity, frequency, and duration of North Atlantic hurricanes, as well as the frequency of the strongest (Category 4 and 5) hurricanes, have all increased since the early 1980s. The relative contributions of human and natural causes to these increases are still uncertain. Hurricane-associated storm intensity and rainfall rates are projected to increase as the climate continues to warm.

Figure 2.23

Recent variations of the Power Dissipation Index (PDI) in the North Atlantic and eastern North Pacific Oceans. PDI is an aggregate of storm intensity, frequency, and duration and provides a measure of total hurricane power over a hurricane season. There is a strong upward trend in Atlantic PDI, and a downward trend in the eastern North Pacific, both of which are well-supported by the reanalysis. Separate analyses (not shown) indicate a significant increase in the strength and in the number of the strongest hurricanes (Category 4 and 5) in the North Atlantic over this same time period. The PDI is calculated from historical data (IBTrACS92) and from reanalyses using satellite data (UW/NCDC ADT-HURSAT93,94). IBTrACS is the International Best Track Archive for Climate Stewardship, UW/NCDC is the University of Wisconsin/NOAA National Climatic Data Center satellite-derived hurricane intensity dataset, and ADT-HURSAT is the Advanced Dvorak Technique–Hurricane Satellite dataset (Figure source: adapted from Kossin et al. 200793).

Key Message 9: Changes in Storms

Winter storms have increased in frequency and intensity since the 1950s, and their tracks have shifted northward over the United States. Other trends in severe storms, including the intensity and frequency of tornadoes, hail, and damaging thunderstorm winds, are uncertain and are being studied intensively.

Figure 2.24

Variation of winter storm frequency and intensity during the cold season (November-March) for high latitudes (60-90°N) and mid-latitudes (30-60°N) of the Northern Hemisphere over the period 1949-2010. The bar for each decade represents the difference from the long-term average. Storm frequencies have increased in middle and high latitudes, and storm intensities have increased in middle latitudes. (Figure source: updated from CCSP 2008109).

Key Message 10: Sea Level Rise

Global sea level has risen by about 8 inches since reliable record keeping began in 1880. It is projected to rise another 1 to 4 feet by 2100.

Figure 2.25

Sea level change in the North Atlantic Ocean relative to the year 2000 based on data collected from North Carolina112 (red line, pink band shows the uncertainty range) compared with a reconstruction of global sea level rise based on tide gauge data from 1750 to present127 (blue line). (Figure source: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory).

Figure 2.26

Estimated, observed, and possible future amounts of global sea level rise from 1800 to 2100, relative to the year 2000. Estimates from proxy data112 (for example, based on sediment records) are shown in red (1800-1890, pink band shows uncertainty), tide gauge data are shown in blue for 1880-2009,113 and satellite observations are shown in green from 1993 to 2012. 128 The future scenarios range from 0.66 feet to 6.6 feet in 2100.123 These scenarios are not based on climate model simulations, but rather reflect the range of possible scenarios based on other scientific studies. The orange line at right shows the currently projected range of sea level rise of 1 to 4 feet by 2100, which falls within the larger risk-based scenario range. The large projected range reflects uncertainty about how glaciers and ice sheets will react to the warming ocean, the warming atmosphere, and changing winds and currents. As seen in the observations, there are year-to-year variations in the trend. (Figure source: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory).

Key Message 11: Melting Ice

Rising temperatures are reducing ice volume and surface extent on land, lakes, and sea. This loss of ice is expected to continue. The Arctic Ocean is expected to become essentially ice free in summer before mid-century.

Figure 2.27

Bars show decade averages of annual maximum Great Lakes ice coverage from the winter of 1962-1963, when reliable coverage of the entire Great Lakes began, to the winter of 2012-2013. Bar labels indicate the end year of the winter; for example, 1963-1972 indicates the winter of 1962-1963 through the winter of 1971-1972. Only the most recent period includes the eleven years from 2003 to 2013. (Data updated from Bai and Wang, 2012130).

Figure 2.28

Summer Arctic sea ice has declined dramatically since satellites began measuring it in 1979. The extent of sea ice in September 2012, shown in white in the top figure, was more than 40% below the median for 1979-2000. The graph on the bottom left shows annual variations in September Arctic sea ice extent for 1979-2013. It is also notable that the ice has become much thinner in recent years, so its total volume (bottom right) has declined even more rapidly than the extent.111 (Figure and data from National Snow and Ice Data Center).

Figure 2.29

Model simulations of Arctic sea ice extent for September (1900-2100) based on observed concentrations of heat-trapping gases and particles (through 2005) and four scenarios. Colored lines for RCP scenarios are model averages (CMIP5) and lighter shades of the line colors denote ranges among models for each scenario. Dotted gray line and gray shading denotes average and range of the historical simulations through 2005. The thick black line shows observed data for 1953-2012. These newer model (CMIP5) simulations project more rapid sea ice loss compared to the previous generation of models (CMIP3) under similar forcing scenarios, although the simulated September ice losses under all scenarios still lag the observed loss of the past decade. Extrapolation of the present observed trend suggests an essentially ice-free Arctic in summer before mid-century.139 The Arctic is considered essentially ice-free when the areal extent of ice is less than one million square kilometers. (Figure source: adapted from Stroeve et al. 2012136).

Key Message 12: Ocean Acidification

The oceans are currently absorbing about a quarter of the carbon dioxide emitted to the atmosphere annually and are becoming more acidic as a result, leading to concerns about intensifying impacts on marine ecosystems.

Figure 2.30

The correlation between rising levels of CO2 in the atmosphere (red) at Mauna Loa and rising CO2 levels (blue) and falling pH (green) in the nearby ocean at Station Aloha. As CO2 accumulates in the ocean, the water becomes more acidic (the pH declines). (Figure source: modified from Feely et al. 2009157).

Figure 2.31

Pteropods, or “sea butterflies,” are free-swimming sea snails about the size of a small pea. Pteropods are eaten by marine species ranging in size from tiny krill to whales and are an important source of food for North Pacific juvenile salmon. The photos above show what happens to a pteropod’s shell in seawater that is too acidic. The left panel shows a shell collected from a live pteropod from a region in the Southern Ocean where acidity is not too high. The shell on the right is from a pteropod collected in a region where the water is more acidic (Photo credits: (left) Bednaršek et al. 2012;168 (right) Nina Bednaršek).

SECTORS

Introduction

Cherry farmers in Michigan, insurance agents in Florida, and water managers in Arizona are among the millions of Americans already living with – and adapting to – a range of climate change impacts. Higher temperatures, rising sea levels, and more extreme precipitation events are altering the work of first responders, city planners, engineers, and others, influencing economic sectors from coast to coast. Agriculture, energy, transportation, and more, are all affected by climate change in concrete ways. American communities are contending with these changes now, and will be doing so increasingly in the future.

Sectors of our economy do not exist in isolation. Forest management activities, for example, affect and are affected by water supply, changing ecosystems, impacts to biological diversity, and energy availability. Water supply and energy use are completely intertwined, since water is used to generate energy, and energy is required to pump, treat, and deliver water – which means that irrigation-dependent farmers and urban dwellers are linked as well. Human health is affected by water supply, agricultural practices, transportation systems, energy availability, and land use, among other factors – touching the lives of patients, nurses, county health administrators, and many others. Human social systems and communities are directly affected by extreme weather events and changes in natural resources such as water availability and quality; they are also affected both directly and indirectly by ecosystem health.

This report addresses some of these topics individually, focusing on the climaterelated risks and opportunities that occur within individual sectors, while others take a cross-sector approach. Single-sector chapters focus on:

  • Water resources
  • Energy production and use
  • Transportation
  • Agriculture
  • Forests
  • Human health
  • Ecosystems and biodiversity

Six crosscutting chapters address how climate change interacts with multiple sectors. These cover the following topics:

  • Energy, water, and land use
  • Urban infrastructure and vulnerability
  • Indigenous peoples, lands, and resources
  • Land use and land cover
  • Rural communities
  • Biogeochemical cycles

A common theme is that these sectors are interconnected in many ways. These intricate connections mean that changes in one sector are often amplified or reduced through links to other sectors. Another theme is how decisions can influence a cascade of events that affect individual and national vulnerability and/or resiliency to climate change across multiple sectors. This “systems approach” helps to reveal, for example, how adaptation and mitigation strategies are part of dynamic and interrelated systems. In this way, for example, adaptation plans for future coastal infrastructure are connected with the kinds of mitigation strategies that are – or are not – put into place today, since the amount of future sea level rise will differ according to various societal decisions about current and future emissions. These chapters also address the importance of underlying vulnerabilities and the ways they may influence risks associated with climate change.

The chapters in the following section assess risks in the selected sectors, and include both observations of existing impacts associated with climate change, as well as projected impacts over the next several decades and beyond.

3. Water

Key Message 1: Changing Rain, Snow, and Runoff

Annual precipitation and river-flow increases are observed now in the Midwest and the Northeast regions. Very heavy precipitation events have increased nationally and are projected to increase in all regions. The length of dry spells is projected to increase in most areas, especially the southern and northwestern portions of the contiguous United States.

Figure 3.1

These projections, assuming continued increases in heat-trapping gas emissions (A2 scenario; Ch. 2: Our Changing Climate), illustrate: a) major losses in the water content of the snowpack that fills western rivers (snow water equivalent, or SWE); b) significant reductions in runoff in California, Arizona, and the central Rocky Mountains; and c) reductions in soil moisture across the Southwest. The changes shown are for mid-century (2041-2070) as percentage changes from 1971-2000 conditions (Figure source: Cayan et al. 201318).

Figure 3.2

Changes in annual surface soil moisture per year over the period 1988 to 2010 based on multisatellite datasets. Surface soil moisture exhibits wetting trends in the Northeast, Florida, upper Midwest, and Northwest, and drying trends almost everywhere else. (Images provided by W. Dorigo35).

Figure 3.3

Changes in seasonal surface soil moisture per year over the period 1988 to 2010 based on multi-satellite datasets.35 Seasonal drying is observed in central and lower Midwest and Southeast for most seasons (with the exception of the Southeast summer), and in most of the Southwest and West (with the exception of the Northwest) for spring and summer. Soil moisture in the upper Midwest, Northwest, and most of the Northeast is increasing in most seasons. (Images provided by W. Dorigo).

Figure 3.4

Annual and seasonal streamflow projections based on the B1 (with substantial emissions reductions), A1B (with gradual reductions from current emission trends beginning around mid-century), and A2 (with continuation of current rising emissions trends) CMIP3 scenarios for eight river basins in the western United States. The panels show percentage changes in average runoff, with projected increases above the zero line and decreases below. Projections are for annual, cool, and warm seasons, for three future decades (2020s, 2050s, and 2070s) relative to the 1990s. (Source: U.S. Department of the Interior – Bureau of Reclamation 2011;41 Data provided by L. Brekke, S. Gangopadhyay, and T. Pruitt)

Key Message 2: Droughts Intensify

Short-term (seasonal or shorter) droughts are expected to intensify in most U.S. regions. Longer-term droughts are expected to intensify in large areas of the Southwest, southern Great Plains, and Southeast.

Key Message 3: Increased Risk of Flooding in Many Parts of the U.S.

Flooding may intensify in many U.S. regions, even in areas where total precipitation is projected to decline.

Figure 3.5

Trend magnitude (triangle size) and direction (green = increasing trend, brown = decreasing trend) of annual flood magnitude from the 1920s through 2008. Flooding in local areas can be affected by multiple factors, including land-use change, dams, and diversions of water for use. Most significant are increasing trends for floods in Midwest and Northeast, and a decreasing trend in the Southwest. (Figure source: Peterson et al. 201363).

Key Message 4: Groundwater Availability

Climate change is expected to affect water demand, groundwater withdrawals, and aquifer recharge, reducing groundwater availability in some areas.

Figure 3.6

(a) Groundwater aquifers are found throughout the U.S., but they vary widely in terms of ability to store and recharge water. The colors on this map illustrate aquifer location and geology: blue colors indicate unconsolidated sand and gravel; yellow is semi-consolidated sand; green is sandstone; blue or purple is sandstone and carbonate‐rock; browns are carbonate-rock; red is igneous and metamorphic rock; and white is other aquifer types. (Figure source: USGS). (b) Ratio of groundwater withdrawals to total water withdrawals from all surface and groundwater sources by county. The map illustrates that aquifers are the main (and often exclusive) water supply source for many U.S. regions, especially in the Great Plains, Misssissippi Valley, east central U.S., Great Lakes region, Florida, and other coastal areas. Groundwater aquifers in these regions are prone to impacts due to combined climate and water-use change. (Data from USGS 2005).

Key Message 5: Risks to Coastal Aquifers and Wetlands

Sea level rise, storms and storm surges, and changes in surface and groundwater use patterns are expected to compromise the sustainability of coastal freshwater aquifers and wetlands.

Key Message 6: Water Quality Risks to Lakes and Rivers

Increasing air and water temperatures, more intense precipitation and runoff, and intensifying droughts can decrease river and lake water quality in many ways, including increases in sediment, nitrogen, and other pollutant loads.

Figure 3.7

The length of the season in which differences in lake temperatures with depth cause stratification (separate density layers) is increasing in many lakes. In this case, measurements show stratification has been increasing in Lake Tahoe (top left) since the 1960s and in Lake Superior (top right) since the early 1900s in response to increasing air and surface water temperatures (see also Ch. 18: Midwest). In Lake Tahoe, because of its large size (relative to inflow) and resulting long water-residence times, other influences on stratification have been largely overwhelmed, and warming air and water temperatures have caused progressive declines in near-surface density, leading to longer stratification seasons (by an average of 20 days), decreasing the opportunities for deep lake mixing, reducing oxygen levels, and causing impacts to many species and numerous aspects of aquatic ecosytems. 83 Similar effects are observed in Lake Superior,16 where the stratification season is lengthening (top right) and annual ice-covered area is declining (bottom); both observed changes are consistent with increasing air and water temperatures.

Key Message 7: Changes to Water Demand and Use

Climate change affects water demand and the ways water is used within and across regions and economic sectors. The Southwest, Great Plains, and Southeast are particularly vulnerable to changes in water supply and demand.

Figure 3.8

Trends in total freshwater withdrawal (equal orthwest, and to the sum of consumptive use and return flows to rivers) and population in the contiguous United States. This graph illustrates the remarkable change in the relationship between water use and population growth since about 1980. Reductions in per capita water withdrawals are directly related to increases in irrigation efficiency for agriculture, more efficient cooling processes in electrical generation, and, in many areas, price signals, more efficient indoor plumbing fixtures and appliances, and reductions in exterior landscape watering, in addition to shifts in land-use patterns in some areas.97 Efficiency improvements have offset the demands of a growing population and have resulted in more flexibility in meeting water demand. In some cases these improvements have also reduced the flexibility to scale back water use in times of drought because some inefficiencies have already been removed from the system. With drought stress projected to increase in many U.S. regions, drought vulnerability is also expected to rise.1

Figure 3.9

Total water withdrawals (groundwater and surface water) in the U.S. are dominated by agriculture and energy production, though the primary use of water for thermoelectric production is for cooling, where water is often returned to lakes and rivers after use (return flows). (Data from Kenny et al. 200996)

Figure 3.10

Based on the most recent USGS water withdrawal data (2005). This figure illustrates water withdrawals at the U.S. county level: (a) total withdrawals (surface and groundwater) in thousands of gallons per day per square mile; (b) municipal and industrial (including golf course irrigation) withdrawals as percent of total; (c) irrigation, livestock, and aquaculture withdrawals as percent of total; (d) thermoelectric plant cooling withdrawals as percent of total; (e) counties with large surface water withdrawals; and (f) counties with large groundwater withdrawals. The largest withdrawals occur in the drier western states for crop irrigation. In the east, water withdrawals mainly serve municipal, industrial, and thermoelectric uses. Groundwater withdrawals are intense in parts of the Southwest and Northwest, the Great Plains, Mississippi Valley, Florida and South Georgia, and near the Great Lakes (Figure source: Georgia Water Resources Institute, Georgia Institute of Technology; Data from Kenny et al. 2009;96 USGS 201398).

Figure 3.11

The effects of climate change, primarily associated with increasing temperatures and potential evapotranspiration, are projected to significantly increase water demand across most of the United States. Maps show percent change from 2005 to 2060 in projected demand for water assuming (a) change in population and socioeconomic conditions based on the underlying A1B emissions scenario, but with no change in climate, and (b) combined changes in population, socioeconomic conditions, and climate according to the A1B emissions scenario (gradual reductions from current emission trends beginning around mid-century). (Figure source: Brown et al. 201399).

Key Message 8: Drought is Affecting Water Supplies

Changes in precipitation and runoff, combined with changes in consumption and withdrawal, have reduced surface and groundwater supplies in many areas. These trends are expected to continue, increasing the likelihood of water shortages for many uses.

Key Message 9: Flood Effects on People and Communities

Increasing flooding risk affects human safety and health, property, infrastructure, economies, and ecology in many basins across the U.S.

Key Message 10: Water Resources Management

In most U.S. regions, water resources managers and planners will encounter new risks, vulnerabilities, and opportunities that may not be properly managed within existing practices.

Figure 3.12

The Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) River Basin supports many water uses and users, including municipal, industrial, and agricultural water supply; flood management; hydroelectric and thermoelectric energy generation; recreation; navigation; fisheries; and a rich diversity of environmental and ecological resources. In recent decades, water demands have risen rapidly in the Upper Chattahoochee River (due to urban growth) and Lower Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers (due to expansion of irrigated agriculture). At the same time, basin precipitation, soil moisture, and runoff are declining, creating challenging water sharing tradeoffs for the basin stakeholders.159 The historical water demand and supply trends are expected to continue in the coming decades. Climate assessments for 50 historical (1960-2009) and future years (2050-2099) based on a scenario of continued increases in emissions (A2) for the Seminole and all other ACF sub-basins152 show that soil moisture is projected to continue to decline in all months, especially during the crop growing season from April to October (bottom right). Mean monthly runoff decreases (up to 20%, not shown) are also projected throughout the year and especially during the wet season from November to May. The projected soil moisture and runoff shifts are even more significant in the extreme values of the respective distributions. In addition to reduced supplies, these projections imply higher water demands in the agricultural and other sectors, exacerbating management challenges. These challenges are reflected in the projected response of Lake Lanier, the main ACF regulation project, the levels of which are projected (for 2050-2099) to be lower, by as much as 15 feet, than its historical (1960-2009) levels, particularly during droughts (top right). Recognizing these critical management challenges, the ACF stakeholders are earnestly working to develop a sustainable and equitable management plan that balances economic, ecological, and social values.160 (Figure source: Georgia Water Resources Institute, Georgia Institute of Technology.152).

Key Message 11: Adaptation Opportunities and Challenges

Increasing resilience and enhancing adaptive capacity provide opportunities to strengthen water resources management and plan for climate change impacts. Many institutional, scientific, economic, and political barriers present challenges to implementing adaptive strategies.

4. Energy

Key Message 1: Disruptions from Extreme Weather

Extreme weather events are affecting energy production and delivery facilities, causing supply disruptions of varying lengths and magnitudes and affecting other infrastructure that depends on energy supply. The frequency and intensity of certain types of extreme weather events are expected to change.

Figure 4.1

A substantial portion of U.S. energy facilities is located on the Gulf Coast as well as offshore in the Gulf of Mexico, where they are particularly vulnerable to hurricanes and other storms and sea level rise. (Figure source: U.S. Government Accountability Office 2006).

Key Message 2: Climate Change and Seasonal Energy Demands

Higher summer temperatures will increase electricity use, causing higher summer peak loads, while warmer winters will decrease energy demands for heating. Net electricity use is projected to increase.

Figure 4.2

The amount of energy needed to cool (or warm) buildings is proportional to cooling (or heating) degree days. The figure shows increases in population-weighted cooling degree days, which result in increased air conditioning use, and decreases in population-weighted heating degree days, meaning less energy required to heat buildings in winter, compared to the average for 1970-2000. Cooling degree days are defined as the number of degrees that a day’s average temperature is above 65ºF, while heating degree days are the number of degrees a day’s average temperature is below 65ºF. As shown, the increase in cooling needs is greater than the decrease in heating needs (Data from NOAA NCDC 201216).

Figure 4.3

These maps show projected average changes in cooling degree days for two future time periods: 2021-2050 and 2070-2099 (as compared to the period 1971-2000). The top panel assumes climate change associated with continued increases in emissions of heat-trapping gases (A2), while the bottom panel assumes significant reductions (B1). The projections show significant regional variations, with the greatest increases in the southern United States by the end of this century under the higher emissions scenario. Furthermore, population projections suggest continued shifts toward areas that require air conditioning in the summer, thereby increasing the impact of temperature changes on increased energy demand.18 (Figure source: NOAA NCDC / CICS-NC).

Table 4.1

Hotter and longer summers will increase the amount of electricity necessary to run air conditioning, especially in the Southeast and Southwest. Warmer winters will decrease the amount of natural gas required to heat buildings, especially in the Northeast, Midwest, and Northwest. Table information is adapted from multi-model means from 8 NARCCAP regional climate simulations for the higher emissions scenario (A2) considered in this report and is weighted by population. (Source: adapted from Regional Climate Trends and Scenarios reports 20)

 

Changing Energy Use for Heating and Cooling Will Vary by Region Consequences: Challenges and Opportunities Consequences: Challenges and Opportunities
Region Cooling Heating
Physical Impacts - High Likelihood

Hotter and Longer Summers: Number of additional extreme hot days(> 95°F) and % increase in cooling degree days per year in 2041-2070 above 1971-2000 level

Warmer Winters: Number of fewer extreme cold days (< 10°F) and % decrease in heating degree days per year in 2041-2070 below 1971-2000 level

Northeast +10 days, +77% -12 days, -17%
Southeast +23 days, +43%  -2 days, -19%
Midwest +14 days, +64% -14 days, -15%
Great Plains +22 days, +37%  -4 days, -18%
Southwest +20 days, +44% -3 days, -20%
Northwest +5 days, +89%  -7 days, -15%
Alaska Not studied Not studied
Pacific Islands Not studied Not studied
Key Message 3: Implications of Less Water for Energy Production

Changes in water availability, both episodic and long-lasting, will constrain different forms of energy production.

Figure 4.4

Climate change affects precipitation patterns as well as temperature patterns. The maps show projected changes in average precipitation by season for 2041–2070 compared to 1971–1999, assuming emissions of heat-trapping gases continue to rise (A2 scenario). Note significantly drier conditions in the Southwest in spring and Northwest in summer, as well as significantly more precipitation (some of which could fall as snow) projected for northern areas in winter and spring. Hatched areas indicate that the projected changes are significant and consistent among models. White areas indicate that the changes are not projected to be larger than could be expected from natural variability. (Figure source: NOAA NCDC / CICS-NC).

Key Message 4: Sea Level Rise and Infrastructure Damage

In the longer term, sea level rise, extreme storm surge events, and high tides will affect coastal facilities and infrastructure on which many energy systems, markets, and consumers depend.

Figure 4.5

Rising sea levels will combine with storm surges and high tides to threaten power-generating facilities located in California coastal communities and around the San Francisco Bay. Sea level rise and more intense heavy precipitation events increase the risk of coastal flooding and damages to infrastructure (Ch. 3: Water). (Figure source: Sathaye et al. 201137).

Key Message 5: Future Energy Systems

As new investments in energy technologies occur, future energy systems will differ from today’s in uncertain ways. Depending on the character of changes in the energy mix, climate change will introduce new risks as well as opportunities.

Table 4.2

Summarizes actions that can be taken to increase the ease with which energy systems can adjust to climate change. Many of these adaptation investments entail “no regrets” actions, providing short-term benefits because they address current vulnerabilities as well as future risks.

 

Possible Climate Resilience and Adaptation Actions in Energy Sector Key Challenges Addressed Key Challenges Addressed Key Challenges Addressed Key Challenges Addressed
Possible Actions Extreme Weather Events Increase in Peak Energy Loads Water Constraints on Energy Production Sea Level Rise
Supply: System and Operational Planning        
Diversifying supply chains X X X X
Strengthening and coordinating emergency response plans X X X  
Providing remote/protected emergency-response coordination centers X      
Developing flood-management plans or improving stormwater management X     X
Developing drought-management plans for reduced cooling flows     X  
Developing hydropower management plans/policies addressing extremes     X  
Supply: Existing Equipment Modifications        
Hardening/building redundancy into facilities X X    
Elevating water-sensitive equipment or redesigning elevation of intake structures X     X
Building coastal barriers, dikes, or levees X     X
Improving reliability of grid systems through back-up power supply, intelligent controls, and distributed generation X X X  
Insulating equipment for temperature extremes X      
References to technical studies with case studies on many of these topics may be found in Wilbanks et al. 2012.4        
Implementing dry (air-cooled) or low-water hybrid (or recirculating) cooling systems for power plants     X  
Adding technologies/systems to pre-cool water discharges     X  
Using non-fresh water supplies: municipal effluent, brackish or seawater     X  
Relocating vulnerable facilities X   X X
Supply: New Equipment        
Adding peak generation, power storage capacity, and distributed generation X X X X
Adding back-up power supply for grid interruptions X X X  
Increasing transmission capacity within and between regions X X X X
Use: Reduce Energy Demand        
Improving building energy, cooling-system and manufacturing efficiencies, and demand-response capabilities (for example, smart grid) X X    
Setting higher ambient temperatures in buildings X X    
Improving irrigation and water distribution/reuse efficiency   X X  
Allowing flexible work schedules to transfer energy use to off-peak hours   X    
Table 4.3

Increased temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, and sea level rise will affect many sectors and regions including energy production, agriculture yields, and infrastructure damage. Changes are also projected to affect hydropower, solar photovoltaic, and wind power, but the projected impacts are not well defined at this time.

Energy Supply: Summary of National and Regional Impacts, Challenges, and Opportunities

Consequencesa: Challenges and Opportunities Fuel Extraction, Production and Refining: Hydrocarbons b Fuel Extraction, Production and Refining: Biofuels Fuel Distribution Transport/Pipelines Electricity Distribution:  Thermal Power Generation c Electricity Distribution:  Thermal Power Generation c Electricity Distribution:  Thermal Power Generation c Electricity Generation
Physical Impacts – High Likelihood Increased Ambient Temperature of Air and Water Increased Ambient Temperature of Air and Water Coastal Erosion and Sea Level Rise Increased Ambient Temperature of Air and Water Increased Extremes in Water Availability Coastal Erosion and Sea Level Rise Hot Summer Periods
National Trend Summary f Consequence Decreased Production and Refining Capacity Decreased Agricultural Yields Damage to Facilities Reduced Plant Efficiency and Cooling Capacity Interruptions to Cooling Systems Damage to Facilities Reduced Capacity/Damage to Lines
Key Indicator (2071-2099 vs. 1971-2000) Mean Annual Temperature d Summer Precipitation d  Sea level Rise e (2100) Mean Annual Temperature d Summer Precipitation d Sea Level Rise e (2100) # Days>90°F f,g (2055)
Northeast +4°F to 9°F -5% to +6% 1.6–3.9 ft (0.5–1.2m) +4°F to 9°F  -5% to +6% 1.6–3.9 ft. (0.5–1.2m) +13 days
Southeast +3°F to 8°F -22% to +10% 1.6–3.9 ft (0.5–1.2m) +3°F to 8°F -22% to +10% 1.6–3.9 ft. (0.5–1.2m) +31 days
Midwest +4°F to 10°F -22% to +7% 1.6–3.9 ft (0.5–1.2m) +4°F to 10°F -22% to +7% 1.6–3.9 ft. (0.5–1.2m) +19 days
Great Plains +3°F to 9°F -27% to +5% 1.6–3.9 ft (0.5–1.2m) +3°F to 9°F -27% to +5% 1.6–3.9 ft. (0.5–1.2m) +20 days
Southwest +4°F to 9°F -13% to +3% 1.6–3.9 ft (0.5–1.2m) +4°F to 9°F -13% to +3% 1.6–3.9 ft. (0.5–1.2m) +24 days
Northwest +3°F to 8°F -34% to -4% 1.6–3.9 ft (0.5–1.2m) +3°F to 8°F -34% to -4% 1.6–3.9 ft. (0.5–1.2m) +4 days
Alaska +4°F to 9°F +10% to +25% 1.6–3.9 ft (0.5–1.2m) +4°F to 9°F  +10% to +25% 1.6–3.9 ft. (0.5–1.2m) No Projection
Pacific Islands +2°F to 5°F Range from little change to increases 1.6–3.9 ft (0.5–1.2m) +2°F to 5°F Range from little change to increases 1.6–3.9 ft. (0.5–1.2m) No Projection

 

Notes
a) Excludes extreme weather events.
b) Hydrocarbons include coal, oil, and gas including shales.
c) Thermal power generation includes power plants fired from nuclear, coal, gas, oil, biomass fuels, solar thermal, and geothermal energy.
d) CMIP3 15 GCM Models: 2070–2099 Combined Interquartile Ranges of SRES B1 and A2 (versus 1971–2000), incorporating uncertainties from both differences in model climate sensitivity and differences between B1 and A2 in emissions trajectories
e) Range of sea level rise for 2100 is the Low Intermediate to High Intermediate Scenario from “Sea Level Change Scenarios for the U.S. National Climate Assessment.”35 Range is similar to the 1 to 4 feet of sea level rise projected in Ch. 2: Our Changing Climate, Key Message 10. There will be regional variations in sea level rise, and this category of impacts does not apply for the Midwest region.
f) 2055 NARCCAP
g) References: 4,25 

5. Transportation

Key Message 1: Reliability and Capacity at Risk

The impacts from sea level rise and storm surge, extreme weather events, higher temperatures and heat waves, precipitation changes, Arctic warming, and other climatic conditions are affecting the reliability and capacity of the U.S. transportation system in many ways.

Figure 5.1

Many coastal areas in the United States, including the Gulf Coast, are especially vulnerable to sea level r ise impacts on transportation systems.11,27,28 This is particularly true when one considers the interaction among sea level rise, wave action, and local geology. 29 This map shows that many parts of Mobile, Alabama, including critical roads, rail lines, and pipelines, would be exposed to storm surge under a scenario of a 30-inch sea level rise combined with a storm similar to Hurricane Katrina. Not all roads would be flooded if they merely run through low areas since some are built above flood levels. A 30-inch sea level rise scenario is within the range projected for global sea level rise (Ch. 2: Our Changing Climate, Key Message 10). (Figure source: U.S. Department of Transportation 201230).

Key Message 2: Coastal Impacts

Sea level rise, coupled with storm surge, will continue to increase the risk of major coastal impacts on transportation infrastructure, including both temporary and permanent flooding of airports, ports and harbors, roads, rail lines, tunnels, and bridges.

Figure 5.2

Thirteen of the nation’s 47 largest airports have at least one runway with an elevation within the reach of moderate to high storm surge. Sea level rise will pose a threat to low-lying infrastructure, such as the airports shown here. (Data from Federal Aviation Administration 201233).

Key Message 3: Weather Disruptions

Extreme weather events currently disrupt transportation networks in all areas of the country; projections indicate that such disruptions will increase.

Figure 5.3

Within this century, 2,400 miles of major roadway are projected to be inundated by sea level rise in the Gulf Coast region. The map shows roadways at risk in the event of a sea level rise of about 4 feet, which is within the range of projections for this region in this century (see also Ch. 2: Our Changing Climate, Key Message 10). In total, 24% of interstate highway miles and 28% of secondary road miles in the Gulf Coast region are at elevations below 4 feet. (Figure source: Kafalenos et al. 2008 39).

Figure 5.4

The nation’s busiest subway system sustained the worst damage in its 108 years of operation on October 29, 2012, as a result of Hurricane Sandy. Millions of people were left without service for at least one week after the storm, as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority rapidly worked to repair extensive flood damage (Photo credit: William Vantuono, Railway Age Magazine, 201246).

Table 5.1

Relates to overall national expectations based on Angel and Kunkel 2010 54 and as postulated by chapter authors. This kind of matrix is likely to be most valuable and accurate if used at the state/regional/local levels. (Source: Matrix format adapted from McLaughlin et al. 2011 53).

 

Illustrative Risks of Climate-related Impacts Likelihood of Occurrence: Low Likelihood of Occurrence: Medium Likelihood of Occurrence: High Likelihood of Occurrence: Virtually Certain
Magnitude of Consequences: High Subway and tunnel flooding Increased widespread flooding of transportation facilities Major localized flooding disrupts transportation systems Inundation of coastal assets due to storm surge
Magnitude of Consequences: Medium Increased rock/mud slides blocking road and rail facilities Train derailment due to rail buckling Increased disruption of barge traffic due to flooding Short-term road flooding and blocked culverts due to extreme events
Magnitude of Consequences: Low Lower visibility from wildfires due to drought conditions Northward shift of agricultural production places more demand and stress on roads and systems not prepared for higher volumes Pavement heaving and reduced pavement life due to high temperatures Inundation of local roads due to sea level rise
Magnitude of Consequences: Positive (beneficial) Reduced flight cancelations due to fewer blizzards Reduced maintenance costs for highways and airports due to warmer winters Reduced Great Lakes freezing, leading to longer shipping season Longer seasonal opening of Northwest Passage
Key Message 4: Costs and Adaptation Options

Climate change impacts will increase the total costs to the nation’s transportation systems and their users, but these impacts can be reduced through rerouting, mode change, and a wide range of adaptive actions.

Figure 5.5

Many projected climate change impacts and resulting consequences on transportation systems can be reduced through a combination of infrastructure modifications, improved information systems, and policy changes.

Figure 5.6

Vermont Route 131, outside Cavendish, a week after Tropical Storm Irene unleashed severe precipitation and flooding that damaged many Vermont roads, bridges, and rail lines. (Photo credit: Vermont Agency of Transportation).

6. Agriculture

Key Message 1: Increasing Impacts on Agriculture

Climate disruptions to agricultural production have increased in the past 40 years and are projected to increase over the next 25 years. By mid-century and beyond, these impacts will be increasingly negative on most crops and livestock.

Figure 6.1

U.S. agriculture includes 300 different commodities with a nearly equal division between crop and livestock products. This chart shows a breakdown of the monetary value of U.S. agriculture products by category. (Data from 2007 Census of Agriculture, USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service 200812).

Figure 6.2

Agricultural activity is distributed across the U.S. with market value and crop types varying by region. In 2010, the total market value was nearly $330 billion. Wide variability in climate, commodities, and practices across the U.S. will likely result in differing responses, both in terms of yield and management. (Figure source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service 200813).

Figure 6.3

U.S. agriculture exists in the context of global markets. Climate is among the important factors that affect these markets. For example, the increase in U.S. food exports in the 1970s is attributed to a combination of rising incomes in other nations, changes in national currency values and farm policies, and poor harvests in many nations in which climate was a factor. Through seasonal weather impacts on harvests and other impacts, climate change will continue to be a factor in global markets. The graph shows U.S. imports and exports for 1935-2011 in adjusted dollar values. (Data from USDA Economic Research Service 201214).

Figure 6.4

Changes in climate through this century will affect crops differently because individual species respond differently to warming. This figure is an example of the potential impacts on different crops within the same geographic region. Crop yield responses for eight crops in the Central Valley of California are projected under two emissions scenarios, one in which heat-trapping gas emissions are substantially reduced (B1) and another in which these emissions continue to grow (A2). This analysis assumes adequate water supplies (soil moisture) and nutrients are maintained while temperatures increase. The lines show five-year moving averages for the period from 2010 to 2094, with the yield changes shown as differences from the year 2009. Yield response varies among crops, with cotton, maize, wheat, and sunflower showing yield declines early in the period. Alfalfa and safflower showed no yield declines during the period. Rice and tomato do not show a yield response until the latter half of the period, with the higher emissions scenario resulting in a larger yield response. (Figure source: adapted from Lee et al. 201116).

Figure 6.5

Many climate variables affect agriculture. The maps above show projected changes in key climate variables affecting agricultural productivity for the end of the century (2070-2099) compared to 1971-2000. Changes in climate parameters critical to agriculture show lengthening of the frost-free or growing season and reductions in the number of frost days (days with minimum temperatures below freezing), under an emissions scenario that assumes continued increases in heat-trapping gases (A2). Changes in these two variables are not identical, with the length of the growing season increasing across most of the United States and more variation in the change in the number of frost days. Warmer-season crops, such as melons, would grow better in warmer areas, while other crops, such as cereals, would grow more quickly, meaning less time for the grain itself to mature, reducing productivity.9 Taking advantage of the increasing length of the growing season and changing planting dates could allow planting of more diverse crop rotations, which can be an effective adaptation strategy. On the frost-free map, white areas are projected to experience no freezes for 2070-2099, and gray areas are projected to experience more than 10 frost-free years during the same period. In the lower left graph, consecutive dry days are defined as the annual maximum number of consecutive days with less than 0.01 inches of precipitation. In the lower right graph, hot nights are defined as nights with a minimum temperature higher than 98% of the minimum temperatures between 1971 and 2000. (Figure source: NOAA NCDC / CICS-NC).

Figure 6.6

Many perennial plants (such as fruit trees and grape vines) require exposure to particular numbers of chilling hours (hours in which the temperatures are between 32°F and 50°F over the winter). This number varies among species, and many trees require chilling hours before flowering and fruit production can occur. With rising temperatures, chilling hours will be reduced. One example of this change is shown here for California’s Central Valley, assuming that observed climate trends in that area continue through 2050 and 2090. Under such a scenario, a rapid decrease in the number of chilling hours is projected to occur. By 2000, the number of chilling hours in some regions was 30% lower than in 1950. Based on the A2 emissions scenario that assumes continued increases in heat-trapping gases relative to 1950, the number of chilling hours is projected to decline by 30% to 60% by 2050 and by up to 80% by 2100. These are very conservative estimates of the reductions in chilling hours because climate models project not just simple continuations of observed trends (as assumed here), but temperature trends rising at an increasing rate.21 To adapt to these kinds of changes, trees with a lower chilling requirement would have to be planted and reach productive age. Various trees and grape vines differ in their chilling requirements, with grapes requiring 90 hours, peaches 225, apples 400, and cherries more than 1,000.21 Increasing temperatures are likely to shift grape production for premium wines to different regions, but with a higher risk of extremely hot conditions that are detrimental to such varieties. 24 The area capable of consistently producing grapes required for the highest-quality wines is projected to decline by more than 50% by late this century.24 (Figure source: adapted from Luedeling et al. 200921).

Key Message 2: Weeds, Diseases, and Pests

Many agricultural regions will experience declines in crop and livestock production from increased stress due to weeds, diseases, insect pests, and other climate change induced stresses.

Key Message 3: Extreme Precipitation and Soil Erosion

Current loss and degradation of critical agricultural soil and water assets due to increasing extremes in precipitation will continue to challenge both rainfed and irrigated agriculture unless innovative conservation methods are implemented.

Figure 6.7

Soil is a critical component of agricultural systems, and the changing climate affects the amount, distribution, and intensity of precipitation. Soil erosion occurs when the rate of precipitation exceeds the ability of the soil to maintain an adequate infiltration rate. When this occurs, runoff from fields moves water and soil from the field into nearby water bodies.

Figure 6.8

Water and soil that are lost from the field are no longer available to support crop growth. The increasing intensity of storms and the shifting of rainfall patterns toward more spring precipitation in the Midwest may lead to more scenes similar to this one (Figure 6.7). An analysis of the rainfall patterns across Iowa has shown there has not been an increase in total annual precipitation; however, there has been a large increase in the number of days with heavy rainfall (Figure 6.9). The increase in spring precipitation is evidenced by a decrease of three days in the number of workable days in the April to May period during 2001 through 2011 in Iowa compared to the period 1980-2000.15 To offset this increased precipitation, producers have been installing subsurface drainage to remove more water from the fields at a cost of $500 per acre (Figure 6.8). These are elaborate systems designed to move water from the landscape to allow agricultural operations to occur in the spring. Water erosion and runoff is only one portion of the spectrum of extreme precipitation. Wind erosion could increase in areas with persistent drought because of the reduction in vegetative cover. (Photo credit (left): USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service; Figure source (right): NOAA NCDC / CICS-NC).

Figure 6.9

Iowa is the nation’s top corn and soybean producing state. These crops are planted in the spring. Heavy rain can delay planting and create problems in obtaining a good stand of plants, both of which can reduce crop productivity. In Iowa soils with even modest slopes, rainfall of more than 1.25 inches in a single day leads to runoff that causes soil erosion and loss of nutrients and, under some circumstances, can lead to flooding. The figure shows the number of days per year during which more than 1.25 inches of rain fell in Des Moines, Iowa. Recent frequent occurrences of such events are consistent with the significant upward trend of heavy precipitation events documented in the Midwest.51,55 (Figure source: adapted from Takbe 201156).

Key Message 4: Heat and Drought Damage

The rising incidence of weather extremes will have increasingly negative impacts on crop and livestock productivity because critical thresholds are already being exceeded.

Key Message 5: Rate of Adaptation

Agriculture has been able to adapt to recent changes in climate; however, increased innovation will be needed to ensure the rate of adaptation of agriculture and the associated socioeconomic system can keep pace with climate change over the next 25 years.

Key Message 6: Food Security

Climate change effects on agriculture will have consequences for food security, both in the U.S. and globally, through changes in crop yields and food prices and effects on food processing, storage, transportation, and retailing. Adaptation measures can help delay and reduce some of these impacts.

7. Forests

Key Message 1: Increasing Forest Disturbances

Climate change is increasing the vulnerability of many forests to ecosystem changes and tree mortality through fire, insect infestations, drought, and disease outbreaks.

Figure 7.1

An example of the variability and distribution of major ecosystem disturbance types in North America, compiled from 2005 to 2009. Forest disturbance varies by topography, vegetation, weather patterns, climate gradients, and proximity to human settlement. Severity is mapped as a percent change in a satellite-derived Disturbance Index. White areas represent natural annual variability, orange represents moderate severity, and red represents high severity.6 Fire dominates much of the western forest ecosystems, and storms affect the Gulf Coast. Insect damage is widespread but currently concentrated in western regions, and timber harvest is predominant in the Southeast. (Figure source: modified from Goetz et al. 2012;7 Copyright 2012 American Geophysical Union).

Figure 7.2

Forest management that selectively removes trees to reduce fire risk, among other objectives (a practice referred to as “fuel treatments”), can maintain uneven-aged forest structure and create small openings in the forest. Under some conditions, this practice can help prevent large wildfires from spreading. Photo shows the effectiveness of fuel treatments in Arizona’s 2002 Rodeo-Chediski fire, which burned more than 400 square miles – at the time the worst fire in state history. Unburned area (left) had been managed with a treatment that removed commercial timber, thinned non-commercial-sized trees, and followed with prescribed fire in 1999. The right side of the photo shows burned area on the untreated slope below Limestone Ridge. (Photo credit: Jim Youtz, U.S. Forest Service).

Figure 7.3

The figure shows a conceptual climate envelope analysis of forest vulnerability under current and projected future ranges of variability in climate parameters (temperature and precipitation, or alternatively drought duration and intensity). Climate models project increasing temperatures across the U.S. in coming decades, but a range of increasing or decreasing precipitation depending on region. Episodic droughts (where evaporation far exceeds precipitation) are also expected to increase in duration and/or intensity (see Ch. 2: Our Changing Climate). The overall result will be increased vulnerability of forests to periodic widespread regional mortality events resulting from trees exceeding their physiological stress thresholds.11 (Figure source: Allen et al. 201011).

Key Message 2: Changing Carbon Uptake

U.S. forests and associated wood products currently absorb and store the equivalent of about 16% of all carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted by fossil fuel burning in the U.S. each year. Climate change, combined with current societal trends in land use and forest management, is projected to reduce this rate of forest CO2 uptake.

Figure 7.4

Relative vulnerability of different forest regions to climate change is illustrated in this conceptual risk analysis diagram. Forest carbon exchange is the difference between carbon captured in photosynthesis and carbon released by respiration of vegetation and soils. Both photosynthesis and respiration are generally accelerated by higher temperatures, and slowed by water deficits, but the relative strengths of these controls are highly variable. Western forests are inherently limited by evaporation that exceeds precipitation during much of the growing season. Xeric (drier) eastern forests grow on shallow, coarse textured soils and experience water deficits during long periods without rain. Mesic (wetter) eastern forests experience severe water deficits only for relatively brief periods in abnormally dry years so the carbon exchanges are more controlled by temperature fluctuations. (Figure source: adapted from Vose et al. 20121).

Figure 7.5

Forests are the largest component of the U.S. carbon sink, but growth rates of forests vary widely across the country. Well-watered forests of the Pacific Coast and Southeast absorb considerably more than the arid southwestern forests or the colder northeastern forests. Climate change and disturbance rates, combined with current societal trends regarding land use and forest management, are projected to reduce forest CO2 uptake in the coming decades.1 Figure shows average forest growth as measured by net primary production from 2000 to 2006. (Figure source: adapted from Running et al. 200446).

Figure 7.6

Historical, current, and projected annual rates of forest ecosystem and harvested wood product CO2 net emissions/sequestration in the U.S. from 1635 to 2055. In the top panel, the change in the historical annual carbon emissions (black line) in the early 1900s corresponds to the peak in the transformation of large parts of the U.S. from forested land to agricultural land uses. Green shading shows this decline in forest land area. In the bottom panel, future projections shown under higher (A2) and lower (B2 and A1B) emissions scenarios show forests as carbon sources (due to loss of forest area and accelerating disturbance rates) rather than sinks in the latter half of this century. The A1B scenario assumes similar emissions to the A2 scenario used in this report through 2050, and a slow decline thereafter. (Data from Birdsey 2006;37 USFS 2012;41 EPA 2013.53)

Key Message 3: Bioenergy Potential

Bioenergy could emerge as a new market for wood and could aid in the restoration of forests killed by drought, insects, and fire.

Figure 7.7

Potential forestry bioenergy resources by 2030 at $80 per dry ton of biomass based on current forest area, production rates based on aggressive management for fast-growth, and short rotation bioenergy plantations. Units are oven dry tons (ODT) per square mile at the county level, where an ODT is 2,000 pounds of biomass from which the moisture has been removed. Includes extensive material from existing forestland, such as residues, simulated thinnings, and some pulpwood for bioenergy, among other sources. (Figure source: adapted from U.S. Department of Energy 201145).

 Key Message 4: Influences on Management Choices

Forest management responses to climate change will be influenced by the changing nature of private forestland ownership, globalization of forestry markets, emerging markets for bioenergy, and U.S. climate change policy.

Figure 7.8

The figure shows forestland by ownership category in the contiguous U.S. in 2007.41 Western forests are most often located on public lands, while eastern forests, especially in Maine and in the Southeast, are more often privately held. (Figure source: U.S. Forest Service 201241).

8. Ecosystems

Key Message 1: Water

Climate change impacts on ecosystems reduce their ability to improve water quality and regulate water flows.

Figure 8.1

Climate change is projected to reduce the ability of ecosystems to supply water in some parts of the country. This is true in areas where precipitation is projected to decline, and even in some areas where precipitation is expected to increase. Compared to 10% of counties today, by 2050, 32% of counties will be at high or extreme risk of water shortages. Projections assume continued increases in greenhouse gas emissions through 2050 and a slow decline thereafter (A1B scenario). Numbers in parentheses indicate number of counties in each category. (Reprinted with permission from Roy et al., 2012.27 Copyright 2012 American Chemical Society).

Figure 8.2

Hurricanes illustrate the links among precipitation, discharge and nutrient loading to coastal waters. Hurricanes bring intense rainfall to coastal regions, and ensuing runoff leads to blooms of algae. These blooms contribute to dead zone formation after they die and decompose. Photo above shows Pamlico Sound, North Carolina, after Hurricane Floyd. Note light green area off the coast, which is new algae growth. The graph on the left shows a steep drop in salinity of ocean water due to the large influx of freshwater from rain after a series of hurricanes. Red arrows indicate Hurricanes Dennis, Floyd, and Irene, which hit sequentially during the 1999 hurricane season. The graph on the right shows a steep rise in the amount of surface chlorophyll after these hurricanes, largely due to increased algae growth. (Figure source: (top) NASA SeaWiFS; (bottom) Paerl et al. 200333).

Key Message 2: Extreme Events

Climate change, combined with other stressors, is overwhelming the capacity of ecosystems to buffer the impacts from extreme events like fires, floods, and storms.

Key Message 3: Plants and Animals

Landscapes and seascapes are changing rapidly, and species, including many iconic species, may disappear from regions where they have been prevalent or become extinct, altering some regions so much that their mix of plant and animal life will become almost unrecognizable.

Key Message 4: Seasonal Patterns

Timing of critical biological events, such as spring bud burst, emergence from overwintering, and the start of migrations, has shifted, leading to important impacts on species and habitats.

Key Message 5: Adaptation

Whole system management is often more effective than focusing on one species at a time, and can help reduce the harm to wildlife, natural assets, and human well-being that climate disruption might cause.

Figure 8.3

Iterative approaches to conservation planning require input and communication among many players to ensure flexibility in response to climate change. (Figure source: adapted from the National Wildlife Federation, 2013142).

Figure 8.4

Map of selected obser ved and projected biological responses to climate change across the United States. Case studies listed below correspond to observed responses (black icons on map) and projected responses (white icons on map, bold italicized statements). In general, because future climatic changes are projected to exceed those experienced in the recent past, projected biological impacts tend to be of greater magnitude than recent observed changes. Because the observations and projections presented here are not paired (that is, they are not for the same species or systems), that general difference is not illustrated. (Figure source: Staudinger et al., 20124).

9. Human Health

Key Message 1: Wide-ranging Health Impacts

Climate change threatens human health and well-being in many ways, including impacts from increased extreme weather events, wildfire, decreased air quality, threats to mental health, and illnesses transmitted by food, water, and disease-carriers such as mosquitoes and ticks. Some of these health impacts are already underway in the United States.

Figure 9.1

Projected increases in temperature, changes in wind patterns, and ecosystem changes will all affect future ground-level ozone concentrations. Climate projections using an increasing emissions scenario (A2) suggest that ozone concentrations in the New York metropolitan region will increase because of future climate change. This figure shows the estimated increase in ozone-related emergency room visits for children in New York in the 2020s (compared to the mid-1990s) resulting from climate change related increases in ozone concentrations. The results from this modeling exercise are shown as a percent change in visits specifically attributed to ozone exposure. For example, the 10.2% increase in Suffolk County represents five additional emergency room visits that could be attributed to increased ozone exposure over the baseline of 46 ozone-related visits from the mid-1990s. In 2010, an estimated 25.7 million Americans had asthma, which has become a problem in every state. (Figure source: Sheffield et al. 201114).

Figure 9.2

Ragweed pollen season length has increased in central North America between 1995 and 2011 by as much as 11 to 27 days in parts of the U.S. and Canada in response to rising temperatures. Increases in the length of this allergenic pollen season are correlated with increases in the number of days before the first frost. As shown in the figure, the largest increases have been observed in northern cities. (Data updated from Ziska et al. 201119; Photo credit: Lewis Ziska, USDA).

Figure 9.3

Wildfires, which are projected to increase in some regions due to climate change, have health impacts that can extend hundreds of miles. Shown here, forest fires in Quebec, Canada, during July 2002 (red circles) resulted in up to a 30-fold increase in airborne fine particle concentrations in Baltimore, Maryland, a city nearly a thousand miles downwind. These fine particles, which are extremely harmful to human health, not only affect outdoor air quality, but also penetrate indoors, increasing the longdistance effects of fires on health.41 An average of 6.4 million acres burned in U.S. wildfires each year between 2000 and 2010, with 9.5 and 9.1 million acres burned in 2006 and 2012, respectively.42 Total global deaths from the effects of landscape fire smoke have been estimated at 260,000 to 600,000 annually between the years 1997 and 2006.37 (Figure source: Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on the Terra satellite, Land Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC).

Figure 9.4

The maps show projected increases in the average temperature on the hottest days by late this century (2081-2100) relative to 1986-2005 under a scenario that assumes a rapid reduction in heat-trapping gases (RCP 2.6) and a scenario that assumes continued increases in these gases (RCP 8.5). The hottest days are those so hot they occur only once in 20 years. Across most of the continental United States, those days will be about 10ºF to 15ºF hotter in the future under the higher emissions scenario. (Figure source: NOAA NCDC / CICS-NC).

Figure 9.5

The maps show the current and projected probability of establishment of tick populations (Ixodes scapularis) that transmit Lyme disease. Projections are shown for 2020, 2050, and 2080. The projected expansion of tick habitat includes much of the eastern half of the country by 2080. For some areas around the Gulf Coast, the probability of tick population establishment is projected to decrease by 2080. (Figure source: adapted from Brownstein et al. 200590).

Figure 9.6

Maps show the increase in frequency of extreme daily precipitation events (a daily amount that now occurs just once in 20 years) by the later part of this century (2081-2100) compared to the latter part of the last century (1981-2000). Such extreme events are projected to occur more frequently everywhere in the United States. Under a rapid emissions reduction scenario (RCP 2.6), these events would occur nearly twice as often. For a scenario assuming continued increases in emissions (RCP 8.5), these events would occur up to five times as often. (Figure source: NOAA NCDC / CICS-NC).

Key Message 2: Most Vulnerable at Most Risk

Climate change will, absent other changes, amplify some of the existing health threats the nation now faces. Certain people and communities are especially vulnerable, including children, the elderly, the sick, the poor, and some communities of color.

Figure 9.7

Heavy downpours, which are increasing in the United States, have contributed to increases in heavy flood events (Ch. 2: Our Changing Climate, Key Message 6). The figure above illustrates how people can become exposed to waterborne diseases. Human exposures to waterborne diseases can occur via drinking water, as well as recreational waters.100,101,102,103 (Figure source: NOAA NCDC / CICS-NC).

Figure 9.8

Remote sensing color image of harmful algal bloom in Lake Erie on October 9, 2011. The bright green areas have high concentrations of algae, which can be harmful to human health. The frequency and range of harmful blooms of algae are increasing.102,103 Because algal blooms are closely related to climate factors, projected changes in climate could affect algal blooms and lead to increases in water- and food-borne exposures and subsequent cases of illness.103 Other factors related to increases in harmful algal blooms include shifts in ocean conditions such as excess nutrient inputs.101,102,103 (Figure source: NASA Earth Observatory104).

Figure 9.9

A variety of factors can increase the vulnerability of a specific demographic group to health effects due to climate change. For example, older adults are more vulnerable to heat stress because their bodies are less able to regulate their temperature. Overall population growth is projected to continue to at least 2050, with older adults comprising an increasing proportion of the population. Similarly, there are an increasing number of people who are obese and have diabetes, heart disease, or asthma, which makes them more vulnerable to a range of climate-related health impacts. Their numbers are also rising. The poor are less able to afford the kinds of measures that can protect them from and treat them for various health impacts. (Data from CDC; Health E-Stat; U.S. Census Bureau 2010, 2012; and Akinbami et al. 2011137).

Figure 9.10

This map illustrates the national scope of the dispersion of displaced people from Hurricane Katrina. It shows the location by zip code of the 800,000 displaced Louisiana residents who requested federal emergency assistance. The evacuees ended up dispersed across the entire nation, illustrating the wide-ranging impacts that can flow from extreme weather events, such as those that are projected to increase in frequency and/or intensity as climate continues to change (Ch. 2: Our Changing Climate, Key Message 8). (Figure source: Kent 2006150).

Key Message 3: Prevention Provides Protection

Public health actions, especially preparedness and prevention, can do much to protect people from some of the impacts of climate change. Early action provides the largest health benefits. As threats increase, our ability to adapt to future changes may be limited.

Key Message 4: Responses Have Multiple Benefits

Responding to climate change provides opportunities to improve human health and well-being across many sectors, including energy, agriculture, and transportation. Many of these strategies offer a variety of benefits, protecting people while combating climate change and providing other societal benefits.

10. Energy, Water, and Land

Figure 10.1

The interactions between and among the energy, water, land, and climate systems take place within a social and economic context. (Figure source: Skaggs et al. 20121).

Key Message 1: Cascading Events

Energy, water, and land systems interact in many ways. Climate change affects the individual sectors and their interactions; the combination of these factors affects climate change vulnerability as well as adaptation and mitigation options for different regions of the country.

Figure 10.2

Map shows numbers of days with temperatures above 100°F during 2011. The black circles denote the location of observing stations recording 100°F days. The number of days with temperatures exceeding 100°F is expected to increase. The record temperatures and drought during the summer of 2011 represent conditions that will be more likely in the U.S. as climate change continues. When outdoor temperatures increase, electricity demands for cooling increase, water availability decreases, and water temperatures increase. Alternative energy technologies may require little water (for example, solar and wind) and can enhance resilience of the electricity sector, but still face land-use and habitat considerations. The projected increases in drought and heat waves provide an example of the ways climate changes will challenge energy, water, and land systems. (Figure source: NOAA NCDC, 2012).

Figure 10.3

Graph shows average summer temperature and total rainfall in Texas from 1919 through 2012. The red dots illustrate the range of temperatures and rainfall observed over time. The record temperatures and drought during the summer of 2011 (large red dot) represent conditions far outside those that have occurred since the instrumental record began.4 An analysis has shown that the probability of such an event has more than doubled as a result of human-induced climate change3. (Figure source: NOAA NCDC / CICS-NC).

Figure 10.4

U.S. regions differ in the manner and intensity with which they use, or have available, energy, water, and land. Water bars represent total water withdrawals in billions of gallons per day (except Alaska and Hawai‘i, which are in millions of gallons per day); energy bars represent energy production for the region in 2012; and land represents land cover by type (green bars) or number of people (black and green bars). Only water withdrawals, not consumption, are shown (see Ch. 3: Water). Agricultural water withdrawals include irrigation, livestock, and aquaculture uses. (Data from EIA 201213 [energy], Kenny et al. 200914 [water], and USDA ERS 200715 [land]).

Key Message 2: Options for Reducing Emissions and Climate Vulnerability

The dependence of energy systems on land and water supplies will influence the development of these systems and options for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, as well as their climate change vulnerability.

Figure 10.5

Technology choices can significantly affect water and land use. These two panels show a selection of technologies. Ranges in water withdrawal/consumption reflect minimum and maximum amounts of water used for selected technologies. Carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) is not included in the figures, but is discussed in the text. The top panel shows water withdrawals for various electricity production methods. Some methods, like most conventional nuclear power plants that use “once-through” cooling systems, require large water withdrawals but return most of that water to the source (usually rivers and streams). For nuclear plants, utilizing cooling ponds can dramatically reduce water withdrawal from streams and rivers, but increases the total amount of water consumed. Beyond large withdrawals, once-through cooling systems also affect the environment by trapping aquatic life in intake structures and by increasing the temperature of streams.18 Alternatively, once-through systems tend to operate at slightly better efficiencies than plants using other cooling systems. The bottom panel shows water consumption for various electricity production methods. Coal-powered plants using recirculating water systems have relatively low requirements for water withdrawals, but consume much more of that water, as it is turned into steam. Water consumption is much smaller for various dry-cooled electricity generation technologies, including for coal, which is not shown. Although small in relation to cooling water needs, water consumption also occurs throughout the fuel and power cycle.19 (Figure source: Averyt et al. 201120).

Figure 10.6

The figure shows illustrative projections for 2030 of the total land-use intensity associated with various electricity production methods. Estimates consider both the footprint of the power plant as well as land affected by energy extraction. There is a relatively large range in impacts across technologies. For example, a change from nuclear to wind power could mean a significant change in associated land use. For each electricity production method, the figure shows the average of a most-compact and least-compact estimate for how much land will be needed per unit of energy. The figure uses projections from the Energy Information Administration Reference scenario for the year 2030, based on energy consumption by fuel type and power plant “capacity factors” (the ratio of total power generation to maximum possible power generation). The most-compact and least-compact estimates of biofuel land-use intensities reflect differences between current yield and production efficiency levels and those that are projected for 2030 assuming technology improvements.21 (Figure source: adapted from McDonald et al. 200921).

Table 10.1

Energy, water, and land sectoral impacts associated with a sample of climate mitigation and adaptation measures Plus sign means a positive effect (reduced stress) on sector, minus sign means a negative effect (increased stress) on sector. Blank means effect not noted. Blue means consideration of energy extraction and power plant processes. It is important to keep in mind that this table only reflects physical synergies and tradeoffs. There are, of course, economic tradeoffs as well in the form of technology costs and societal concerns, such as energy security, food security, and water quality. Expansion of hybrid or dry-cooled solar technologies, versus wet, could help reduce water risks. For a more detailed description of the entries in the table, see Skaggs et al. 2012. 1 Additional considerations regarding energy extraction, power plant processes, and energy use associated with irrigation were added to those reflected in Skaggs et al. 2012 1 (Adapted from Skaggs et al. 2012 1).

 

Mitigation measures Water Land Energy
Switch from coal to natural gas fueled power plants + and – + and –  
Expand CCS to fossil-fueled power plant  
Expansion of nuclear power    
Expansion of wind +  
Expansion of solar thermal technologies (wet cooled)  
Expansion of commercial scale photovoltaic +  
Expansion of hydropower + and – +
Expansion of biomass production for energy + and – + and –  
Adaptation measures Water Land Energy
Switch from once-through to recirculating cooling in thermoelectric power plants + and –   -
Switch from wet to dry cooling at thermoelectric power plants +   -
Desalinization + and – + + and –
New storage and conveyance of water + and –
Switch to drought-tolerant crops in drought vulnerable regions + +
Increase transmission capacity to urban areas to reduce power outages during high demand periods   +
Figure 10.7

Hydraulic fracturing, a drilling method used to retrieve deep reservoirs of natural gas, uses large quantities of water, sand, and chemicals that are injected at high pressure into horizontally-drilled wells as deep as 10,000 feet below Earth’s surface. The pressurized mixture causes the rock layer to crack. Sand particles hold the fissures open so that natural gas from the shale can flow into the well. Questions about the water quantity necessary for this extraction method as well as the potential to affect water quality have produced national debate. (Figure source: NOAA NCDC).

Figure 10.8

Photovoltaic panels convert sunlight directly into electricity. Utility-sized solar power plants require large tracts of land. Photo shows Duke Energy’s 113-acre Blue Wing Solar Project in San Antonio, Texas, one of the largest photovoltaic solar farms in the country. (Photo credit: Duke Energy 201036).

Key Message 3: Challenges to Reducing Vulnerabilities

Jointly considering risks, vulnerabilities, and opportunities associated with energy, water, and land use is challenging, but can improve the identification and evaluation of options for reducing climate change impacts.

Figure 10.9

In many parts of the country, competing demands for water create stress in local and regional watersheds. Map shows a “water supply stress index” for the U.S. based on observations, with widespread stress in much of the Southwest, western Great Plains, and parts of the Northwest. Watersheds are considered stressed when water demand (from power plants, agriculture, and municipalities) exceeds 40% (water supply stress index of 0.4) of available supply. (Figure source: Averyt et al. 201120).

Figure 10.10

Agriculture is in yellow, forests are shades of green, shrublands are gray, and urban areas are in red. The river is used for hydropower generation, flood control, agriculture irrigation, recreation, support of forest and shrubland ecosystems, and fish and wildlife habitat. Climate change may impact the timing and supply of the water resources, affecting the multiple uses of this river system. (Figure source: Northwest Habitat Institute 1999).

11. Urban

Key Message 1: Urbanization and Infrastructure Systems

Climate change and its impacts threaten the well-being of urban residents in all U.S. regions. Essential infrastructure systems such as water, energy supply, and transportation will increasingly be compromised by interrelated climate change impacts. The nation’s economy, security, and culture all depend on the resilience of urban infrastructure systems.

Figure 11.1

Extreme weather events can affect multiple systems that provide services for millions of people in urban settings. The satellite images depict city lights on a normal night (left) and immediately following Hurricane Sandy (right). Approximately five million customers in the New York metropolitan region lost power. (Figure source: NASA Earth Observatory 7).

Key Message 2: Essential Services are Interdependent

In urban settings, climate-related disruptions of services in one infrastructure system will almost always result in disruptions in one or more other infrastructure systems.

Figure 11.2

In urban settings, climate-related disruptions of services in one infrastructure system will almost always result in disruptions in one or more other systems. When power supplies that serve urban areas are interrupted after a major weather event, for example, public health, transportation, and banking systems may all be affected. This schematic drawing illustrates some of these connections. (Figure source: adapted from Wilbanks et al. 20122).

 Key Message 3: Social Vulnerability and Human Well-Being

Climate vulnerability and adaptive capacity of urban residents and communities are influenced by pronounced social inequalities that reflect age, ethnicity, gender, income, health, and (dis)ability differences.

Key Message 4: Trends in Urban Adaptation – Lessons from Current Adopters

City government agencies and organizations have started adaptation plans that focus on infrastructure systems and public health. To be successful, these adaptation efforts require cooperative private sector and governmental activities, but institutions face many barriers to implementing coordinated efforts.

Figure 11.3

Map shows areas in New York’s five boroughs that are projected to face increased flooding over the next 70 years, assuming an increased rate of sea level rise from the past century’s average. As sea level rises, storm surges reach farther inland. Map does not represent precise flood boundaries, but illustrates projected increases in areas flooded under various sea level rise scenarios. (Figure source: New York City Panel on Climate Change 2013 31).

12. Indigenous Peoples

Figure 12.1

Census data show that American Indian and Alaska Native populations are concentrated around, but are not limited to, reservation lands like the Hopi and Navajo in Arizona and New Mexico, the Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Cherokee in Oklahoma, and various Sioux tribes in the Dakotas and Montana. Not depicted in this graphic is the proportion of Native Americans who live off-reservation and in and around urban centers (such as Chicago, Minneapolis, Denver, Albuquerque, and Los Angeles) yet still maintain strong family ties to their tribes, tribal lands, and cultural resources. (Figure source: Norriset al. 20125).

Figure 12.2

From developing biomass energy projects on the Quinault Indian Nation in Washington and tribal and intertribal wind projects in the Great Plains,24 to energy efficiency improvement efforts on the Cherokee Indian Reservation in North Carolina and the sustainable community designs being pursued on the Lakota reservations in the Dakotas (see also Ch. 19: Great Plains),25 tribes are investigating ways to reduce future climate changes. The map shows only those initiatives by federally recognized tribes that are funded through the Department of Energy. (Figure source: U.S. Department of Energy 201126).

Key Message 1: Forests, Fires, and Food

Observed and future impacts from climate change threaten Native Peoples’ access to traditional foods such as fish, game, and wild and cultivated crops, which have provided sustenance as well as cultural, economic, medicinal, and community health for generations.

Key Message 2: Water Quality and Quantity

A significant decrease in water quality and quantity due to a variety of factors, including climate change, is affecting drinking water, food, and cultures. Native communities’ vulnerabilities and limited capacity to adapt to water-related challenges are exacerbated by historical and contemporary government policies and poor socioeconomic conditions.

Figure 12.3

On the Arizona portion of the Navajo Nation, recurring drought and rising temperatures have accelerated growth and movement of sand dunes. Map above shows range and movement of Great Falls Dune Field from 1953 to 2010. Moving and/or growing dunes can threaten roads, homes, traditional grazing areas, and other tribal assets. (Figure source: Redsteer et al. 2011 55).

Key Message 3: Declining Sea Ice

Declining sea ice in Alaska is causing significant impacts to Native communities, including increasingly risky travel and hunting conditions, damage and loss to settlements, food insecurity, and socioeconomic and health impacts from loss of cultures, traditional knowledge, and homelands.

Figure 12.4

In August and September 2012, sea ice covered less of the Arctic Ocean than any time since the beginning of reliable satellite measurements (1979). The long-term retreat of sea ice has occurred faster than climate models had predicted. The average minimum extent of sea ice for 1979-2000 was 2.59 million square miles. The image on the left shows Arctic minimum sea ice extent in 1984, which was about the average minimum extent for 1979-2000. The image on the right shows that the extent of sea ice had dropped to 1.32 million square miles at the end of summer 2012. Alaska Native coastal communities rely on sea ice for many reasons, including its role as a buffer against coastal erosion from storms. (Figure source: NASA Earth Observatory 201277).

Figure 12.5

Dramatic reductions in Arctic sea ice and changes in its timing and composition affect the entire food web, including many Inupiaq communities that continue to rely heavily on subsistence hunting and fishing. (Figure source: NOAA NCDC).

Key Message 4: Permafrost Thaw

Alaska Native communities are increasingly exposed to health and livelihood hazards from increasing temperatures and thawing permafrost, which are damaging critical infrastructure, adding to other stressors on traditional lifestyles.

Figure 12.6

The maps show projected ground temperature at a depth of 3.3 feet assuming continued increases in emissions (A2 scenario) and assuming a substantial reduction in emissions (B1 scenario). Blue shades represent areas below freezing at a depth of 3.3 feet and yellow and red shades represent areas above freezing at that depth (see Ch. 22: Alaska for more details). Many Alaska Natives depend on permafrost for ice cellars to store frozen food, and replacing these cellars with electricity-driven freezers is expensive or otherwise infeasible. Permafrost thawing also affects infrastructure like roads and utility lines. (Figure source: Permafrost Lab, Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks).

Key Message 5: Relocation

Climate change related impacts are forcing relocation of tribal and indigenous communities, especially in coastal locations. These relocations, and the lack of governance mechanisms or funding to support them, are causing loss of community and culture, health impacts, and economic decline, further exacerbating tribal impoverishment.

13. Land Use and Land Cover Change

Figure 13.1

Map shows regional differences in land cover. These patterns affect climate and will be affected by climate change. They also influence the vulnerability and resilience of communities to the effects of climate change (Figure source: USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center). (See Table 13.2 for definitions of mechanically and non-mechanically disturbed.)

Table 13.1

Circa-2001 land-cover statistics for the National Climate Assessment regions of the United States based on the National Land Cover Dataset, 7;and overall United States land-use statistics—circa 2007 4

 

Land Cover Class Northeast Southeast Midwest Great Plains Southwest Northwest Alaska Hawaii United States Land Use Class (ca 2007) United States (ca 2007)
Agriculture 10.9% 23.0% 49.0% 29.7% 5.0% 10.0%  0.0% 4.0% 18.6% Cropland 18.0%
Grassland, Shrub/Scrub, Moss, Lichen 3.4% 7.8% 2.9% 50.5% 65.7% 42.8% 44.9% 33.3% 39.2% Grassland, Pasture, and Range 27.1%
Forest 52.4% 38.7% 23.7% 10.7% 19.9% 37.7% 22.4% 22.0% 23.2% a Forest 29.7% a
Barren 0.8% 0.3% 0.2% 0.5% 3.7% 1.5% 7.7% 11.2% 2.6% Special Use b 13.8%
Developed, Built-Up 9.6% 7.7% 8.0% 4.0% 2.7% 3.0% 0.1% 6.7% 4.0% Urban 2.7%
Water, Ice, Snow 14.9% 7.3% 10.4% 1.9% 1.7% 3.2% 18.5% 21.7% 7.4% Miscellaneous c 8.7%
Wetlands 8.0% 15.2% 5.8% 2.7% 0.7% 1.3% 6.4% 0.3% 5.0%    
Table 13.2

Percentage change in land-cover type between 1973 and 2000 for the contiguous U.S. National Climate Assessment regions. These figures do not indicate the total amount of changes that have occurred, for example when increases in forest cover were offset by decreases in forest cover, and when cropland taken out of production was offset by other land being put into agricultural production. Data from USGS Land Cover Trends Project; Sleeter et al. 2013.10

 

Land Cover Type Northeast Southeast Midwest Great Plains Southwest Northwest
Grassland/Shrubland 0.73 0.31 0.59 1.55 -0.28 0.35
Forest -2.02 -2.51 -0.93 -0.71 -0.49 2.39
Agriculture -0.85 -1.62 -1.38 -1.60 -0.37 -0.35
Developed 1.36 2.28 1.34 0.43 0.51 0.51
Mining 0.14 -0.05 0.02 0.07 0.10 0.03
Barren 0.00 -0.01 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Snow/Ice 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Water 0.03 0.45 0.08 0.23 0.03  -0.02
Wetland -0.05 -0.69 -0.05 -0.13 -0.02 0.03
Mechanically Disturbed a 0.66 1.76 0.32 0.11 0.07 0.07
Non-mechanically Disturbed b 0.00 0.07 0.01 0.06 0.46 1.78
 
Figure 13.2

Projected percentages in each housing-unit density category for 2050 compared with 2010, assuming demographic and economic growth consistent with the high-growth emissions scenario (A2). (Data from U.S. EPA Integrated Climate and Land Use Scenarios).

Figure 13.3

Projected percentages in each land-cover category for 2050 compared with 2010, assuming demographic and economic growth consistent with the high-growth emissions scenario (A2) (Data from USDA).

Key Message 1: Effects on Communities and Ecosystems

Choices about land-use and land-cover patterns have affected and will continue to affect how vulnerable or resilient human communities and ecosystems are to the effects of climate change.

Figure 13.4

Many forested areas in the U.S. have experienced a recent building boom in what is known as the “wildland-urban interface.” This figure shows the number of buildings lost from the 25 most destructive wildland-urban interface fires in California history from 1960 to 2007 (Figure source: Stephens et al. 200917).

Key Message 2: Effects on Climate Processes

Land-use and land-cover changes affect local, regional, and global climate processes.

Key Message 3: Adapting to Climate Change

Individuals, businesses, non-profits, and governments have the capacity to make land-use decisions to adapt to the effects of climate change.

Key Message 4: Reducing Greenhouse Gas Levels

Choices about land use and land management may provide a means of reducing atmospheric greenhouse gas levels.

14. Rural Communities

Figure 14.1

Although the majority of the U.S. population lives in urban areas, most of the country is still classified as rural. In this map, counties are classified as rural if they do not include any cities with populations of 50,000 or more. (Figure source: USDA Economic Research Service 20133).

Figure 14.2

Much of the rural United States depends on agriculture, mining, and manufacturing. Climate changes will affect each region and each economic sector in complex and interrelated ways. The economic dependence classification used in the map indicates the largest share of earnings and employment in each county. (Figure source: USDA Economic Research Service 20133).

Key Message 1: Rural Economies

Rural communities are highly dependent upon natural resources for their livelihoods and social structures. Climate change related impacts are currently affecting rural communities. These impacts will progressively increase over this century and will shift the locations where rural economic activities (like agriculture, forestry, and recreation) can thrive.

Figure 14.3

The left map shows that if emissions continue to increase (A2 scenario), the U.S. growing season (or frost-free season) will lengthen by as much as 30 to 80 days by the end of the century (2070-2099 as compared to 1971-2000). The right map shows a reduction in the number of frost days (days with minimum temperatures below freezing) by 20 to 80 days in much of the United States in the same time period. While changes in the growing season may have positive effects for some crops, reductions in the number of frost days can result in early bud-bursts or blooms, consequently damaging some perennial crops grown in the United States (See also Ch. 6: Agriculture). White areas are projected to experience no freezes for 2070-2099, and gray areas are projected to experience more than 10 freeze-free years during the same period. (Figure source: NOAA NCDC / CICS-NC).

Figure 14.4

Tourism is often climate-dependent as well as seasonally dependent. Increasing heat and humidity – projected for summers in the Midwest, Southeast, and parts of the Southwest by mid-century (compared to the period 1961-1990) – is likely to create unfavorable conditions for summertime outdoor recreation and tourism activity. The figures illustrate projected changes in climatic attractiveness (based on maximum daily temperature and minimum daily relative humidity, average daily temperature and relative humidity, precipitation, sunshine, and wind speed) in July for much of North America. In the coming century, the distribution of these conditions is projected to shift from acceptable to unfavorable across most of the southern Midwest and a portion of the Southeast, and from very good or good to acceptable conditions in northern portions of the Midwest, under a high emissions scenario (A2a). (Figure source: Nicholls et al. 200524).

Key Message 2: Responding to Risks

Rural communities face particular geographic and demographic obstacles in responding to and preparing for climate change risks. In particular, physical isolation, limited economic diversity, and higher poverty rates, combined with an aging population, increase the vulnerability of rural communities. Systems of fundamental importance to rural populations are already stressed by remoteness and limited access.

Figure 14.5

Census data show significant population decreases in many rural areas, notably in the Great Plains. Many rural communities’ existing vulnerabilities to climate change, including physical isolation, reduced services like health care, and an aging population, are projected to increase as population decreases. (Figure source: USDA Economic Research Service 20133).

Key Message 3: Adaptation

Responding to additional challenges from climate change impacts will require significant adaptation within rural transportation and infrastructure systems, as well as health and emergency response systems. Governments in rural communities have limited institutional capacity to respond to, plan for, and anticipate climate change impacts.

15. Biogeochemical Cycles

Key Message 1: Human-Induced Changes

Human activities have increased atmospheric carbon dioxide by about 40% over pre-industrial levels and more than doubled the amount of nitrogen available to ecosystems. Similar trends have been observed for phosphorus and other elements, and these changes have major consequences for biogeochemical cycles and climate change.

Figure 15.1

The release of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel burning in North America (shown here for 2010) vastly exceeds the amount that is taken up and temporarily stored in forests, crops, and other ecosystems (shown here is the annual average for 2000-2006). (Figure source: King et al. 20127).

Figure 15.2

Once created, a molecule of reactive nitrogen has a cascading impact on people and ecosystems as it contributes to a number of environmental issues. Molecular terms represent oxidized forms of nitrogen primarily from fossil fuel combustion (such as nitrogen oxides, NOx), reduced forms of nitrogen primarily from agriculture (such as ammonia, NH3), and organic forms of nitrogen (Norg) from various processes. NOy is all nitrogen-containing atmospheric gases that have both nitrogen and oxygen, other than nitrous oxide (N2O). NHx is the sum of ammonia (NH3) and ammonium (NH4). (Figure source: adapted from EPA 2011;13 Galloway et al. 2003;17 with input from USDA. USDA contributors were Adam Chambers and Margaret Walsh).

Key Message 2: Sinks and Cycles

In total, land in the United States absorbs and stores an amount of carbon equivalent to about 17% of annual U.S. fossil fuel emissions. U.S. forests and associated wood products account for most of this land sink. The effect of this carbon storage is to partially offset warming from emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases.

Figure 15.3

Figure shows how climate change will affect U.S. reactive nitrogen emissions, in Teragrams (Tg) CO2 equivalent, on a 20-year (top) and 100-year (bottom) global temperature potential basis. Positive values on the vertical axis depict warming; negative values reflect cooling. The height of the bar denotes the range of uncertainty, and the white line denotes the best estimate. The relative contribution of combustion (dark brown) and agriculture (green) is denoted by the color shading. (Figure source: adapted from Pinder et al. 201228).

Key Message 3: Impacts and Options

Altered biogeochemical cycles together with climate change increase the vulnerability of biodiversity, food security, human health, and water quality to changing climate. However, natural and managed shifts in major biogeochemical cycles can help limit rates of climate change.

Figure 15.4

Top panel shows the impact of the alteration of the carbon cycle alone on radiative forcing. The bottom panel shows the impacts of the alteration of carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur cycles on radiative forcing. SO2 and NH3 increase aerosols and decrease radiative forcing. NH3 is likely to increase plant biomass, and consequently decrease forcing. NOx is likely to increase the formation of tropospheric ozone (O3) and increase radiative forcing. Ozone has a negative effect on plant growth/biomass, which might increase radiative forcing. CO2 and NH3 act synergistically to increase plant growth, and therefore decrease radiative forcing. SO2 is likely to reduce plant growth, perhaps through the leaching of soil nutrients, and consequently increase radiative forcing. NOx is likely to reduce plant growth directly and through the leaching of soil nutrients, therefore increasing radiative forcing. However, it could act as a fertilizer that would have the opposite effect.

Table 15.1

Carbon (C) sinks and uncertainty estimated by Pacala et al. for the first State of the Carbon Cycle Report.23 Forests take up the highest percentage of carbon of all land-based carbon sinks. Due to a number of factors, there are high degrees of uncertainty in carbon sink estimates.

 

Land Area  C sink (Tg C/y) (95% CI) Method
Forest -256 (+/- 50%) inventory, modeled
Wood products  -57 (+/- 50%) inventory
Woody encroachment -120 (+/- >100%) inventory
Agricultural soils -8 (+/- 50%) modeled
Wetlands  -23 (+/- >100%) inventory
Rivers and reservoirs -25 (+/- 100%) inventory
Net Land Sink -489 (+/- 50%)  inventory
Figure 15.5

Figure shows growth in fossil fuel CO2 emissions (black line) and forest and total land carbon sinks in the U.S. for 1990–2010 (green and orange lines; from EPA 201221) and for 2003 (symbols; from the first State of the Carbon Cycle Report67). Carbon emissions are significantly higher than the total land sink’s capacity to absorb and store them. (Data from EPA 2012 and CCSP 200721,67).

Figure 15.6

Changes in CO2 emissions and land-based sinks in two recent decades, showing among year variation (vertical lines: minimum and maximum estimates among years; boxes: 25th and 75th quartiles; horizontal line: median). Total CO2 emissions, as well as total CO2 emissions from fossil fuels, have risen; land-based carbon sinks have increased slightly, but at a much slower pace. (Data from EPA 2012 and CCSP 2007 21,67).

REGIONS

ClimateChangeImpacts2014Regions.png

Introductions

From the Rocky Mountains to the Shenandoah Valley, the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, our country’s landscapes and communities vary dramatically. But amidst our geographical and economic diversity, we share many common attributes and challenges. One common challenge facing every U.S. region is a new and dynamic set of realities resulting from our changing climate.

The evidence can be found in every region, and impacts are visible in every state. Some of the most dramatic changes are in Alaska, where average temperatures have increased more than twice as fast as the rest of the country. The rapid decline of Arctic sea ice cover in the last decade is reshaping that region. In the Southwest, a combination of increased temperatures and reductions in annual precipitation are already affecting forests and diminishing water supplies. Meanwhile, that region’s population continues to grow at double-digit rates, increasing the stress on water supplies. In various regions, evidence of climate change is apparent in ecosystem changes, such as species moving northward, increases in invasive species and insect outbreaks, and changes in the length of the growing season. In many cities, impacts to the urban environment are closely linked to the changing climate, with increased flooding, greater incidence of heat waves, and diminished air quality. Along most of our coastlines, increasing sea levels and associated threats to coastal areas and infrastructure are becoming a common experience.

For all U.S. regions, warming in the future is projected to be very large compared to historical variations. Precipitation patterns will be altered as well, with some regions becoming drier and some wetter. The exact location of some of these future changes is not easy to pinpoint, because the continental U.S. straddles a transition zone between projected drier conditions in the sub-tropics (south) and wetter conditions at higher latitudes (north). As a result, projected precipitation changes in the northernmost states (which will get wetter) and southernmost states (which will get drier) are more certain than those for the central areas of the country. The heaviest precipitation events are projected to increase everywhere, and by large amounts. Extended dry spells are also projected to increase in length.

Regional differences in climate change impacts provide opportunities as well as challenges. A changing climate requires alterations in historical agricultural practices, which, if properly anticipated, can have some benefits. Warmer winters mean reductions in heating costs for those in the northern portions of the country. Well-designed adaptation and mitigation actions that take advantage of regional conditions can significantly enhance the nation’s resilience in the face of multiple challenges, which include many factors in addition to climate change.

The regions defined in this report intentionally follow state lines (see Figure 1 and Table 1), but landscape features such as forests and mountain ranges do not follow these artificial boundaries. The array of distinct landscapes within each region required difficult choices of emphasis for the authors. The chapters that follow provide a summary of changes and impacts that are observed and anticipated in each of the eight regions of the United States, as well as on oceans and coasts.

For more information about the regional climate histories and projections1 and sea level rise scenarios2 developed for the National Climate Assessment, and used throughout this report, see Ch. 2: Our Changing Climate and Appendix 5: Scenarios and Model.

Table 1: Composition of NCA Regions
Region Composition
Northeast Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, District of Columbia,
Southeast and Caribbean Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands
Midwest Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Wisconsin
Great Plains Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Wyoming
Northwest Idaho, Oregon, Washington
Southwest Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah
Alaska Alaska
Hawai‘i and U.S. Pacific Islands Hawai‘i, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Republic of Palau, Territory of American Samoa, Territory of Guam

 

References

1. Kunkel, K. E., L. E. Stevens, S. E. Stevens, L. Sun, E. Janssen, D. Wuebbles, and J. G. Dobson, 2013: Regional Climate Trends and Scenarios for the U.S. National Climate Assessment: Part 9. Climate of the Contiguous United States. NOAA Technical Report NESDIS 142-9. 85 pp., National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service, Washington, D.C. [Available online at http://www.nesdis.noaa.gov/technical...ted_States.pdf ]

2. Parris, A., P. Bromirski, V. Burkett, D. Cayan, M. Culver, J. Hall, R. Horton, K. Knuuti, R. Moss, J. Obeysekera, A. Sallenger, and J. Weiss, 2012: Global Sea Level Rise Scenarios for the United States National Climate Assessment. NOAA Tech Memo OAR CPO-1, 37 pp., National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Silver Spring, MD. [Available online at http://scenarios.globalchange.gov/si...A_SLR_r3_0.pdf ]

16. Northeast

Figure 16.1

(Map) Local sea level trends in the Northeast region. Length of time series for each arrow varies by tide gauge location. (Figure source: NOAA6). (Graph) Observed sea level rise in Philadelphia, PA, has significantly exceeded the global average of 8 inches over the past century, increasing the risk of impacts to critical urban infrastructure in low-lying areas. Over 100 years (1901-2012), sea level increased 1.2 feet (Data from Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level).

Figure 16.2

Projected increase in the number of days per year with a maximum temperature greater than 90°F averaged between 2041 and 2070, compared to 1971-2000, assuming continued increases in global emissions (A2) and substantial reductions in future emissions (B1). (Figure source: NOAA NCDC / CICS-NC).

Figure 16.3

Hurricane Irene over the Northeast on August 28, 2011. The storm, which brought catastrophic flooding rains to parts of the Northeast, took 41 lives in the United States, and the economic cost was estimated at $16 billion.16 (Figure source: MODIS instrument on NASA’s Aqua satellite).

Figure 16.4

Predictions of coastal erosion prior to Sandy’s arrival provided the region’s residents and decision-makers with advance warning of potential vulnerability. The map shows three bands: collision of waves with beaches causing erosion on the front of the beach; overwash that occurs when water reaches over the highest point and erodes from the rear, which carries sand inland; and inundation, when the shore is severely eroded and new channels can form that lead to permanent flooding. The probabilities are based on the storm striking at high tide. For New Jersey, the model estimated that 21% of the shoreline had more than a 90% chance of experiencing inundation. These projections were realized, and made the New Jersey coastline even more vulnerable to the nor’easter that followed Hurricane Sandy by only 10 days. (Figure source: ESRI and USGS 201225).

Key Message 1: Climate Risks to People

Heat waves, coastal flooding, and river flooding will pose a growing challenge to the region’s environmental, social, and economic systems. This will increase the vulnerability of the region’s residents, especially its most disadvantaged populations.

Figure 16.5

Surface temperatures in New York City on a summer’s day show the “urban heat island,” with temperatures in populous urban areas being approximately 10°F higher than the forested parts of Central Park. Dark blue reflects the colder waters of the Hudson and East Rivers. (Figure source: Center for Climate Systems Research, Columbia University).

Key Message 2: Stressed Infrastructure

Infrastructure will be increasingly compromised by climate-related hazards, including sea level rise, coastal flooding, and intense precipitation events.

Table 16.1

Impacts of sea level rise and coastal floods on critical coastal infrastructure by sector. Sources: Horton and Rosenzweig 2010,51 Zimmerman and Faris 2010,52 and Ch. 25: Coasts.

 

Sectors Communications Energy Transportation Water and Waste
Higher average sea level Increased saltwater encroachment and damage to low-lying communications infrastructure not built to withstand saltwater exposure Increased coastal erosion rates and/or permanent inundation of low-lying areas, threatening coastal power plants Increased coastal erosion rates and/or permanent inundation of low-lying areas, resulting in increased maintenance costs and shorter replacement cycles Increased release of pollution and contaminant runoff from sewer systems, treatment plants, brownfields, and waste storage facilities
Higher average sea level Increased rates of coastal erosion and/or permanent inundation of low-lying areas, causing increased maintenance costs and shortened replacement cycles Increased equipment damage from corrosive effects of saltwater encroachment, resulting in higher maintenance costs and shorter replacement cycles Decreased clearance levels under bridges Permanent inundation of lowlying areas, wetlands, piers, and marine transfer stations
Higher average sea level Cellular tower destruction or loss of function  Increased saltwater encroachment and damage to infrastructure not built to withstand saltwater exposure Increased saltwater encroachment and damage to water and waste infrastructure not built to withstand saltwater exposure Increased saltwater infiltration into freshwater distribution systems
More frequent and intense coastal flooding Increased need for emergency management actions with high demand on communications infrastructure Increased need for emergency management actions Increased need for emergency management actions Increased need for emergency management actions
More frequent and intense coastal flooding Increased damage to communications equipment and infrastructure in low-lying areas Exacerbated flooding of lowlying power plants and equipment, as well as structural damage to infrastructure due to wave action Exacerbated flooding of streets, subways, tunnel and bridge entrances, as well as structural damage to infrastructure due to wave action Exacerbated street, basement, and sewer flooding, leading to structural damage to infrastructure
More frequent and intense coastal flooding   Increased use of energy to control floodwaters Decreased levels of service from flooded roadways; increased hours of delay from congestion during street flooding episodes Episodic inundation of low-lying areas, wetlands, piers, and marine transfer stations
More frequent and intense coastal flooding   Increased number and duration of local outages due to flooded and corroded equipment Increased energy use for pumping  
Figure 16.6

Flooded subway tracks in Coney Island after Hurricane Irene. (Photo credit: Metropolitan Transportation Authority of the State of New York 2011).

Key Message 3: Agricultural and Ecosystem Impacts

Agriculture, fisheries, and ecosystems will be increasingly compromised over the next century by climate change impacts. Farmers can explore new crop options, but these adaptations are not cost- or risk-free. Moreover, adaptive capacity, which varies throughout the region, could be overwhelmed by a changing climate.

Key Message 4: Planning and Adaptation

While a majority of states and a rapidly growing number of municipalities have begun to incorporate the risk of climate change into their planning activities, implementation of adaptation measures is still at early stages.

Figure 16.7

The Nature Conservancy’s adaptation decision-support tool (www.coastalresilience.org)88 depicts building-level impacts due to inundation (developed land cover, yellow areas) and potential marsh advancement zones (undeveloped land cover – currently forest, grass, and agriculture – blue areas) using downscaled sea level rise projections (52 inches by 2080s depicted) along the Connecticut and New York coasts. (Figure source: Ferdaña et al. 2010,90 Beck et al. 201389).

Figure 16.8

Conceptual design of a storm surge barrier in New York City. (Figure source: Jansen and Dircke 2009).

17. Southeast

Figure 17.1

This map summarizes the number of times each state has been affected by weather and climate events over the past 30 years that have resulted in more than a billion dollars in damages. The Southeast has been affected by more billion-dollar disasters than any other region. The primary disaster type for coastal states such as Florida is hurricanes, while interior and northern states in the region also experience sizeable numbers of tornadoes and winter storms. For a list of events and the affected states, see: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/billions/events .6 (Figure source: NOAA NCDC).

Figure 17.2

Aerial photos of Isle de Jean Charles in Louisiana taken 25 years apart shows evidence of the effects of rising seas, sinking land, and human development. The wetlands adjacent to the Isle de Jean Charles community (about 60 miles south of New Orleans) have been disappearing rapidly since the photo on the left was taken in 1963. By 2008, after four major hurricanes, significant erosion, and alteration of the surrounding marsh for oil and gas extraction, open water surrounds the greatly reduced dry land. See Ch. 25: Coasts for more information. (Photo credit: USGS).

Figure 17.3

Observed annual average temperature for the Southeast and projected temperatures assuming substantial emissions reductions (lower emissions, B1) and assuming continued growth in emissions (higher emissions, A2).11 For each emissions scenario, shading shows the range of projections and the line shows a central estimate. The projections were referenced to observed temperatures for the period 1901-1960. The region warmed during the early part of last century, cooled for a few decades, and is now warming again. The lack of an overall upward trend over the entire period of 1900-2012 is unusual compared to the rest of the U.S. and the globe. This feature has been dubbed the “warming hole” and has been the subject of considerable research, although a conclusive cause has not been identified. (Figure source: adapted from Kunkel et al. 201311).

Figure 17.4

Projected average number of days per year with maximum temperatures above 95°F for 2041-2070 compared to 1971-2000, assuming emissions continue to grow (A2 scenario). Patterns are similar, but less pronounced, assuming a reduced emissions scenario (B1). (Figure source: NOAA NCDC / CICS-NC).

Figure 17.5

Projected average number of days per year with temperatures less than 32°F for 2041-2070 compared to 1971-2000, assuming emissions continue to grow (A2 scenario). Patterns are similar, but less pronounced, assuming a reduced emissions scenario (B1). (Figure source: NOAA NCDC / CICS-NC).

Key Message 1: Sea Level Rise Threats

Sea level rise poses widespread and continuing threats to both natural and built environments and to the regional economy.

Figure 17.6

The map shows the relative risk that physical changes will occur as sea level rises. The Coastal Vulnerability Index used here is calculated based on tidal range, wave height, coastal slope, shoreline change, landform and processes, and historical rate of relative sea level rise. The approach combines a coastal system’s susceptibility to change with its natural ability to adapt to changing environmental conditions, and yields a relative measure of the system’s natural vulnerability to the effects of sea level rise. (Data from Hammar-Klose and Thieler 200118).

Figure 17.7

Highway 1 in southern Louisiana is the only road to Port Fourchon, whose infrastructure supports 18% of the nation’s oil and 90% of the nation’s offshore oil and gas production. Flooding is becoming more common on Highway 1 in Leeville (inset photo from flooding in 2004), on the way to Port Fourchon. See also Ch. 25: Coasts, Figure 25.5. (Figure and photo sources: Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development; State of Louisiana 20128).

Figure 17.8

Sea level rise presents major challenges to South Florida’s existing coastal water management system due to a combination of increasingly urbanized areas, aging flood control facilities, flat topography, and porous limestone aquifers. For instance, South Florida’s freshwater well field protection areas (left map: pink areas) lie close to the current interface between saltwater and freshwater (red line), which will shift inland with rising sea level, affecting water managers’ ability to draw drinking water from current resources. Coastal water control structures (right map: yellow circles) that were originally built about 60 years ago at the ends of drainage canals to keep saltwater out and to provide flood protection to urbanized areas along the coast are now threatened by sea level rise. Even today, residents in some areas such as Miami Beach are experiencing seawater flooding their streets (lower photo). (Maps from The South Florida Water Management District.36 Photo credit: Luis Espinoza, Miami-Dade County Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources).

Key Message 2: Increasing Temperatures

Increasing temperatures and the associated increase in frequency, intensity, and duration of extreme heat events will affect public health, natural and built environments, energy, agriculture, and forestry.

Figure 17.9

Miami-Dade County staff leading workshop on incorporating climate change considerations in local planning. (Photo credit: Armando Rodriguez, Miami-Dade County).

Figure 17.10

Ground-level ozone is an air pollutant that is harmful to human health and which generally increases with rising temperatures. The map shows projected changes in average annual ground level ozone pollution concentration in 2050 as compared to 2001, using a mid-range emissions scenario (A1B, which assumes gradual reductions from current emissions trends beginning around mid-century). (Figure source: adapted from Tagaris et al. 200942).

Key Message 3: Water Availability

Decreased water availability, exacerbated by population growth and land-use change, will continue to increase competition for water and affect the region’s economy and unique ecosystems.

Figure 17.11

Left: Projected trend in Southeast-wide annual water yield (equivalent to water availability) due to climate change. The green area represents the range in predicted water yield from four climate model projections based on the A1B and B2 emissions scenarios. Right: Spatial pattern of change in water yield for 2010-2060 (decadal trend relative to 2010). The hatched areas are those where the predicted negative trend in water availability associated with the range of climate scenarios is statistically significant (with 95% confidence). As shown on the map, the western part of the Southeast region is expected to see the largest reductions in water availability. (Figure source: adapted from Sun et al. 201382).

Figure 17.12

The Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin in Georgia exemplifies a place where many water uses are in conflict, and future climate change is expected to exacerbate this conflict.84 The basin drains 19,600 square miles in three states and supplies water for multiple, often competing, uses, including irrigation, drinking water and other municipal uses, power plant cooling, navigation, hydropower, recreation, and ecosystems. Under future climate change, this basin is likely to experience more severe water supply shortages, more frequent emptying of reservoirs, violation of environmental flow requirements (with possible impacts to fisheries at the mouth of the Apalachicola), less energy generation, and more competition for remaining water. Adaptation options include changes in reservoir storage and release procedures and possible phased expansion of reservoir capacity. 84,85 Additional adaptation options could include water conservation and demand management. (Figure source: Georgakakos et al. 201084).

18. Midwest

Figure 18.1

Annual average temperatures (red line) across the Midwest show a trend towards increasing temperature. The trend (dashed line) calculated over the period 1895-2012 is equal to an increase of 1.5°F. (Figure source: updated from Kunkel et al. 2013 4).

Key Message 1: Impacts to Agriculture

In the next few decades, longer growing seasons and rising carbon dioxide levels will increase yields of some crops, though those benefits will be progressively offset by extreme weather events. Though adaptation options can reduce some of the detrimental effects, in the long term, the combined stresses associated with climate change are expected to decrease agricultural productivity.

Figure 18.2

Projected increase in annual average temperatures (top left) by mid-century (2041-2070) as compared to the 1971-2000 period tell only part of the climate change story. Maps also show annual projected increases in the number of the hottest days (days over 95°F, top right), longer frost-free seasons (bottom left), and an increase in cooling degree days (bottom right), defined as the number of degrees that a day’s average temperature is above 65°F, which generally leads to an increase in energy use for air conditioning. Projections are from global climate models that assume emissions of heat-trapping gases continue to rise (A2 scenario). (Figure source: NOAA NCDC / CICS-NC).

Figure 18.3

Crop yields are very sensitive to temperature and rainfall. They are especially sensitive to high temperatures during the pollination and grain filling period. For example, corn (left) and soybean (right) harvests in Illinois and Indiana, two major producers, were lower in years with average maximum summer (June, July, and August) temperatures higher than the average from 1980 to 2007. Most years with below-average yields are both warmer and drier than normal.26,27 There is high correlation between warm and dry conditions during Midwest summers28 due to similar meteorological conditions and drought-caused changes.29 (Figure source: Mishra and Cherkauer 201026).

Key Message 2: Forest Composition

The composition of the region’s forests is expected to change as rising temperatures drive habitats for many tree species northward. The role of the region’s forests as a net absorber of carbon is at risk from disruptions to forest ecosystems, in part due to climate change.

Figure 18.4

As climate changes, species can often adapt by changing their ranges. Maps show current and projected future distribution of habitats for forest types in the Midwest under two emissions scenarios, a lower scenario that assumes reductions in heat-trapping gas emissions (B1), and a very high scenario that assumes continued increases in emissions (A1FI). Habitats for white/red/jack pine, maple/beech/birch, spruce/fir, and aspen/birch forests are projected to greatly decline from the northern forests, especially under higher emissions scenarios, while various oak forest types are projected to expand.37 While some forest types may not remain dominant, they will still be present in reduced quantities. Therefore, it is more appropriate to assess changes on an individual species basis, since all species within a forest type will not exhibit equal responses to climate change. (Figure source: Prasad et al. 200737).

Key Message 3: Public Health Risks

Increased heat wave intensity and frequency, increased humidity, degraded air quality, and reduced water quality will increase public health risks.

Figure 18.5

Annual reduction in the number of premature deaths (left) and annual change in the number of cases with acute respiratory symptoms (right) due to reductions in particulate matter and ozone caused by reducing automobile exhaust. The maps project health benefits if automobile trips shorter than five miles (round-trip) were eliminated for the 11 largest metropolitan areas in the Midwest. Making 50% of these trips by bicycle just during four summer months would save 1,295 lives and yield savings of more than $8 billion per year from improved air quality, avoided mortality, and reduced health care costs for the upper Midwest alone. (Figure source: Grabow et al. 2012; reproduced with permission from Environmental Health Perspectives 59).

Key Message 4: Fossil-Fuel Dependent Electricity System

The Midwest has a highly energy-intensive economy with per capita emissions of greenhouse gases more than 20% higher than the national average. The region also has a large and increasingly utilized potential to reduce emissions that cause climate change.

Key Message 5: Increased Rainfall and Flooding

Extreme rainfall events and flooding have increased during the last century, and these trends are expected to continue, causing erosion, declining water quality, and negative impacts on transportation, agriculture, human health, and infrastructure.

Figure 18.6

Precipitation patterns affect many aspects of life, from agriculture to urban storm drains. These maps show projected changes for the middle of the current century (2041-2070) relative to the end of the last century (1971-2000) across the Midwest under continued emissions (A2 scenario). Top left: the changes in total annual average precipitation. Across the entire Midwest, the total amount of water from rainfall and snowfall is projected to increase. Top right: increase in the number of days with very heavy precipitation (top 2% of all rainfalls each year). Bottom left: increases in the amount of rain falling in the wettest 5-day period over a year. Both (top right and bottom left) indicate that heavy precipitation events will increase in intensity in the future across the Midwest. Bottom right: change in the average maximum number of consecutive days each year with less than 0.01 inches of precipitation. An increase in this variable has been used to indicate an increase in the chance of drought in the future. (Figure source: NOAA NCDC / CICS-NC).

Key Message 6: Increased Risks to the Great Lakes

Climate change will exacerbate a range of risks to the Great Lakes, including changes in the range and distribution of certain fish species, increased invasive species and harmful blooms of algae, and declining beach health. Ice cover declines will lengthen the commercial navigation season.

Figure 18.7

Bars show decade averages of annual maximum Great Lakes ice coverage from the winter of 1962-1963, when reliable coverage of the entire Great Lakes began, to the winter of 2012-2013. Bar labels indicate the end year of the winter; for example, 1963-1972 indicates the winter of 1962-1963 through the winter of 1971-1972. The most recent period includes the eleven years from 2003 to 2013. (Data updated from Bai and Wang, 201288).

19. Great Plains

Figure 19.1

The region has a distinct north-south gradient in average temperature patterns (left), with a hotter south and colder north. For precipitation (right), the regional gradient runs west-east, with a wetter east and a much drier west. Averages shown here are for the period 1981-2010. (Figure source: adapted from Kunkel et al. 20134).

Figure 19.2

The number of days with the hottest temperatures is projected to increase dramatically. By mid-century (2041-2070), the projected change in the number of days exceeding those hottest temperatures is greatest in the western areas and Gulf Coast for both the lower emissions scenario (B1) and for the higher emissions scenario (A2). (Figure source: NOAA NCDC / CICS-NC).

Figure 19.3

The number of nights with the warmest temperatures is projected to increase dramatically. By midcentury (2041-2070), the projected change in number of nights exceeding those warmest temperatures is greatest in the south for both the lower emissions scenario (B1) and for the higher emissions scenario (A2). (Figure source: NOAA NCDC / CICS-NC).

Figure 19.4

The number of days with the heaviest precipitation is not projected to change dramatically. By mid-century (2041-2070), the projected change in days exceeding those precipitation amounts remains greatest in the northern area for both the lower emissions scenario (B1) and for the higher emissions scenario (A2). (Figure source: NOAA NCDC / CICS-NC).

Figure 19.5

Current regional trends of a drier south and a wetter north are projected to become more pronounced by mid-century (2041-2070 as compared to 1971-2000 averages). Maps show the maximum annual number of consecutive days in which limited (less than 0.01 inches) precipitation was recorded on average from 1971 to 2000 (top), projected changes in the number of consecutive dry days assuming substantial reductions in emissions (B1), and projected changes if emissions continue to rise (A2). The southeastern Great Plains, which is the wettest portion of the region, is projected to experience large increases in the number of consecutive dry days. (Figure source: NOAA NCDC / CICS-NC).

Key Message 1: Energy, Water and Land Use

Rising temperatures are leading to increased demand for water and energy. In parts of the region, this will constrain development, stress natural resources, and increase competition for water among communities, agriculture, energy production, and ecological needs.

Key Message 2: Sustaining Agriculture

Changes to crop growth cycles due to warming winters and alterations in the timing and magnitude of rainfall events have already been observed; as these trends continue, they will require new agriculture and livestock management practices

Figure 19.6

Irrigation in western Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas supports crop development in semiarid areas. Declining aquifer levels threaten the ability to maintain production. Some aquifer-dependent regions, like southeastern Nebraska, have seen steep rises in irrigated farmland, from around 5% to more than 40%, during the period shown. (Figure source: reproduced from Atlas of the Great Plains by Stephen J. Lavin, Clark J. Archer, and Fred M. Shelley by permission of the University of Nebraska. Copyright 2011 by the Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska 33).

Key Message 3: Conservation and Adaptation

Landscape fragmentation is increasing, for example, in the context of energy development activities in the northern Great Plains. A highly fragmented landscape will hinder adaptation of species when climate change alters habitat composition and timing of plant development cycles.

Figure 19.7

Comparing estimates of Greater Sage Grouse distribution from before settlement of the area (light green: prior to about 1800) with the current range (dark green: 2000) shows fragmentation of the sagebrush habitat required by this species. Over the last century, the sagebrush ecosystem has been altered by fire, invasion by new plant species, and conversion of land to agriculture, causing a decline in Sage Grouse populations. (Figure source: adapted from Aldridge et al. 2008.49 Photo credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Wyoming Ecological Services).

Key Message 4: Vulnerable Communities

Communities that are already the most vulnerable to weather and climate extremes will be stressed even further by more frequent extreme events occurring within an already highly variable climate system.

Figure 19.8

Demographic shifts continue to reshape communities in the Great Plains, with many central Great Plains communities losing residents. Rural and tribal communities will face additional challenges in dealing with climate change impacts due to demographic changes in the region (Ch. 14: Rural Communities; Ch. 12: Indigenous Peoples). Figure shows population change from 2000 to 2010. (Figure source: U.S. Census Bureau 201057).

Figure 19.9

Tribal populations in the Great Plains are concentrated near large reservations, like various Sioux tribes in South Dakota and Blackfeet and Crow reservations in Montana; and in Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and other tribal lands in Oklahoma (Figure source: reproduced from Atlas of the Great Plains by Stephen J. Lavin, Clark J. Archer, and Fred M. Shelley by permission of the University of Nebraska. Copyright 2011 by the Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska 33).

Key Message 5: Opportunities to Build Resilience

The magnitude of expected changes will exceed those experienced in the last century. Existing adaptation and planning efforts are inadequate to respond to these projected impacts.

Figure 19.10

In 2011, cities including Houston, Dallas, Austin, Oklahoma City, and Wichita, among others, all set records for the highest number of days recording temperatures of 100ºF or higher in those cities’ recorded history. The black circles denote the location of observing stations recording 100ºF days. (Figure source: NOAA NCDC 20123).

20. Southwest

Figure 20.1

Maps show projected changes in average, as compared to 1971-1999. Top row shows projections assuming heat-trapping gas emissions continue to rise (A2). Bottom row shows projections assuming substantial reductions in emissions (B1). (Figure source: adapted from Kunkel et al. 201317).

Key Message 1: Reduced Snowpack and Streamflows

Snowpack and streamflow amounts are projected to decline in parts of the Southwest, decreasing surface water supply reliability for cities, agriculture, and ecosystems.

Figure 20.2

Snow water equivalent (SWE) refers to the amount of water held in a volume of snow, which depends on the density of the snow and other factors. Figure shows projected snow water equivalent for the Southwest, as a percentage of 1971-2000, assuming continued increases in global emissions (A2 scenario). The size of bars is in proportion to the amount of snow each state contributes to the regional total; thus, the bars for Arizona are much smaller than those for Colorado, which contributes the most to region-wide snowpack. Declines in peak SWE are strongly correlated with early timing of runoff and decreases in total runoff. For watersheds that depend on snowpack to provide the majority of the annual runoff, such as in the Sierra Nevada and in the Upper Colorado and Upper Rio Grande River Basins, lower SWE generally translates to reduced reservoir water storage. (Data from Scripps Institution of Oceanography).

Figure 20.3

Major shifts in how electricity is produced can lead to large reductions in heat-trapping gas emissions. Shown is an illustrative scenario in which different energy combinations could, by 2050, achieve an 80% reduction of heat-trapping gas emissions from 1990 levels in the electricity sector in the Southwest. For each state, that mix varies, with the circle representing the average hourly generation in megawatts (the number above each circle) from 10 potential energy sources. CCS refers to carbon capture and storage. (Data from Wei et al. 2012, 201338,40).

Key Message 2: Threats to Agriculture

The Southwest produces more than half of the nation’s high-value specialty crops, which are irrigation-dependent and particularly vulnerable to extremes of moisture, cold, and heat. Reduced yields from increasing temperatures and increasing competition for scarce water supplies will displace jobs in some rural communities.

Figure 20.4

The frost-free season is defined as the period between the last occurrence of 32°F in spring and the first occurrence of 32°F in the subsequent fall. The chart shows significant increases in the number of consecutive frostfree days per year in the past three decades compared to the 1901-2010 average. Increased frost-free season length, especially in already hot and moisture-stressed regions like the Southwest, is projected to lead to further heat stress on plants and increased water demands for crops. Higher temperatures and more frostfree days during winter can lead to early bud burst or bloom of some perennial plants, resulting in frost damage when cold conditions occur in late spring (see Ch. 6: Agriculture); in addition, with higher winter temperatures, some agricultural pests can persist year-round, and new pests and diseases may become established.47 (Figure source: Hoerling et al. 2013 4).

Key Message 3: Increased Wildfire

Increased warming, drought, and insect outbreaks, all caused by or linked to climate change, have increased wildfires and impacts to people and ecosystems in the Southwest. Fire models project more wildfire and increased risks to communities across extensive areas.

Key Message 4: Sea Level Rise and Coastal Damage

Flooding and erosion in coastal areas are already occurring even at existing sea levels and damaging some California coastal areas during storms and extreme high tides. Sea level rise is projected to increase as Earth continues to warm, resulting in major damage as wind-driven waves ride upon higher seas and reach farther inland.

Figure 20.5

King tides, which typically happen twice a year as a result of a gravitational alignment of the sun, moon, and Earth, provide a preview of the risks rising sea levels may present along California coasts in the future. While king tides are the extreme high tides today, with projected future sea level rise, this level of water and flooding will occur during regular monthly high tides. During storms and future king tides, more coastal flooding and damage will occur. The King Tide Photo Initiative encourages the public to visually document the impact of rising waters on the California coast, as exemplified during current king tide events. Photos show water levels along the Embarcadero in San Francisco, California during relatively normal tides (top), and during an extreme high tide or “king tide” (bottom). (Photo credit: Mark Johnsson).

Key Message 5: Heat Threats to Health

Projected regional temperature increases, combined with the way cities amplify heat, will pose increased threats and costs to public health in southwestern cities, which are home to more than 90% of the region’s population. Disruptions to urban electricity and water supplies will exacerbate these health problems.

Figure 20.6

The projected increase in heat waves in Southwest cities (Ch. 2: Our Changing Climate, Key Message 7) increases the chances that a chain of escalating effects could lead to serious increases in illness and death due to heat stress. The top of the figure provides some of the links in that chain, while the bottom of the figure provides adaptation and improved governance options that can reduce this vulnerability and improve the resilience of urban infrastructure and community residents.

21. Northwest

Key Message 1: Water-related Challenges

Changes in the timing of streamflow related to changing snowmelt have been observed and will continue, reducing the supply of water for many competing demands and causing farreaching ecological and socioeconomic consequences.

Figure 21.1

Reduced June flows in many Northwest snow-fed rivers is a signature of warming in basins that have a significant snowmelt contribution. The fraction of annual flow occurring in June increased slightly in rain-dominated coastal basins and decreased in mixed rain-snow basins and snowmeltdominated basins over the period 1948 to 2008.21 The high flow period is in June for most Northwest river basins; decreases in summer flows can make it more difficult to meet a variety of competing human and natural demands for water. (Figure source: adapted from Fritze et al. 201121).

Figure 21.2

(Left) Projected increased winter flows and decreased summer flows in many Northwest rivers will cause widespread impacts. Mixed rain-snow watersheds, such as the Yakima River basin, an important agricultural area in eastern Washington, will see increased winter flows, earlier spring peak flows, and decreased summer flows in a warming climate. Changes in average monthlystreamflow by the 2020s, 2040s, and 2080s (as compared to the period 1916 to 2006) indicate that the Yakima River basin could change from a snow-dominant to a rain-dominant basin by the 2080s under the A1B emissions scenario (with eventual reductions from current rising emissions trends). (Figure source: adapted from Elsner et al. 2010)24. (Right) Natural surface water availability during the already dry late summer period is projected to decrease across most of the Northwest. The map shows projected changes in local runoff (shading) and streamflow (colored circles) for the 2040s (compared to the period 1915 to 2006) under the same scenario as the left figure (A1B).29 Streamflow reductions such as these would stress freshwater fish species (for instance, endangered salmon and bull trout) and necessitate increasing tradeoffs among conflicting uses of summer water. Watersheds with significant groundwater contributions to summer streamflow may be less responsive to climate change than indicated here.26

Key Message 2: Coastal Vulnerabilities

In the coastal zone, the effects of sea level rise, erosion, inundation, threats to infrastructure and habitat, and increasing ocean acidity collectively pose a major threat to the region.

Figure 21.3

Projected relative sea level rise for the latitude of Newport, Oregon (relative to the year 2000) is based on a broader suite of emissions scenarios (ranging from B1 to A1FI) and a more detailed and regionally-focused calculation than those generally used in this assessment (see Ch. 2: Our Changing Climate).50 The blue area shows the range of relative sea level rise, and the black line shows the projection, which incorporates global and regional effects of warming oceans, melting land ice, and vertical land movements.50 Given the difficulty of assigning likelihood to any one possible trajectory of sea level rise at this time, a reasonable risk assessment would consider multiple scenarios within the full range of possible outcomes shown, in conjunction with long- and shortterm compounding effects, such as El Niño-related variability and storm surge. (Data from NRC 201250).

Figure 21.4

Areas of Seattle projected by Seattle Public Utilities to be below sea level during high tide (Mean Higher High Water) and therefore at risk of flooding or inundation are shaded in blue under three levels of sea level rise,78 assuming no adaptation. (High [50 inches] and medium [13 inches] levels are within the range projected for the Northwest by 2100; the highest level [88 inches] includes the compounding effect of storm surge, derived from the highest observed historical tide in Seattle79). Unconnected inland areas shown to be below sea level may not be inundated, but could experience problems due to areas of standing water caused by a rise in the water table and drainage pipes backed up with seawater. (Figure source: Seattle Public Utilities 80).

Figure 21.5

In Washington’s Nisqually River Delta, estuary restoration on a large scale to assist salmon and wildlife recovery provides an example of adaptation to climate change and sea level rise. After a century of isolation behind dikes (left), much of the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge was reconnected with tidal flow in 2009 by removal of a major dike and restoration of 762 acres (right), with the assistance of Ducks Unlimited and the Nisqually Indian Tribe. This reconnected more than 21 miles of historical tidal channels and floodplains with Puget Sound.85 A new exterior dike was constructed to protect freshwater wetland habitat for migratory birds from tidal inundation and future sea level rise. Combined with expansion of the authorized Refuge boundary, ongoing acquisition efforts to expand the Refuge will enhance the ability to provide diverse estuary and freshwater habitats despite rising sea level, increasing river floods, and loss of estuarine habitat elsewhere in Puget Sound. This project is considered a major step in increasing estuary habitat and recovering the greater Puget Sound estuary. (Photo credits: (left) Jesse Barham, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; (right) Jean Takekawa, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service).

Key Message 3: Impacts on Forests

The combined impacts of increasing wildfire, insect outbreaks, and tree diseases are already causing widespread tree die-off and are virtually certain to cause additional forest mortality by the 2040s and long-term transformation of forest landscapes. Under higher emissions scenarios, extensive conversion of subalpine forests to other forest types is projected by the 2080s.

Figure 21.6

Forest mortality due to fire and insect activity is already evident in the Northwest. Continued changes in climate in coming decades are expected to increase these effects. Trees killed by a fire (left side of watershed) and trees killed by mountain pine beetle and spruce beetle infestations (orange and gray patches, right side of watershed) in subalpine forest in the Pasayten Wilderness, Okanogan Wenatchee National Forest, Washington, illustrates how cumulative disturbances can affect forests. (Photo credit: Jeremy Littell, USGS).

Figure 21.7

(Top) Insects and fire have cumulatively affected large areas of the Northwest and are projected to be the dominant drivers of forest change in the near future. Map shows areas recently burned (1984 to 2008)97,98 or affected by insects or disease (1997 to 2008).99

(Middle) Map indicates the increases in area burned that would result from the regional temperature and precipitation changes associated with a 2.2°F global warming100 across areas that share broad climatic and vegetation characteristics.101 Local impacts will vary greatly within these broad areas with sensitivity of fuels to climate.14

(Bottom) Projected changes in the probability of climatic suitability for mountain pine beetles for the period 2001 to 2030 (relative to 1961 to 1990), where brown indicates areas where pine beetles are projected to increase in the future and green indicates areas where pine beetles are expected to decrease in the future. Changes in probability of survival are based on climate-dependent factors important in beetle population success, including cold tolerance,102 spring precipitation,103 and seasonal heat accumulation.91,92

Key Message 4: Adapting Agriculture

While the agriculture sector’s technical ability to adapt to changing conditions can offset some adverse impacts of a changing climate, there remain critical concerns for agriculture with respect to costs of adaptation, development of more climate resilient technologies and management, and availability and timing of water.

22. Alaska

Figure 22.1

Northern latitudes are warming faster than more temperate regions, and Alaska has already warmed much faster than the rest of the country. Maps show changes in temperature, relative to 1971-1999, projected for Alaska in the early, middle, and late parts of this century, if heat-trapping gas (also known as greenhouse gas) emissions continue to increase (higher emissions, A2), or are substantially reduced (lower emissions, B1). (Figure source: adapted from Stewart et al. 20137).

Key Message 1: Disappearing Sea Ice

Arctic summer sea ice is receding faster than previously projected and is expected to virtually disappear before mid-century. This is altering marine ecosystems and leading to greater ship access, offshore development opportunity, and increased community vulnerability to coastal erosion.

Figure 22.2

Average September extent of Arctic sea ice in 1980 (second year of satellite record and year of greatest September sea ice extent; outer red boundary), 1998 (about halfway through the time series; outer pink boundary) and 2012 (recent year of record and year of least September sea ice extent; outer white boundary). September is typically the month when sea ice is least extensive. Inset is the complete time series of average September sea ice extent (1979-2013). (Figure source: NSIDC 2012; Data from Fetterer et al. 201322).

Figure 22.3

Reductions in sea ice alter food availability for many species from polar bear to walrus, make hunting less safe for Alaska Native hunters, and create more accessibility for Arctic Ocean marine transport, requiring more Coast Guard coverage. (Photo credits: (top left) G. Carleton Ray; (bottom left) Daniel Glick; (right) Patrick Kelley).

Figure 22.4

Residents in Newtok, Alaska are living with the effects of climate change, with thawing permafrost, tilting houses, sinking boardwalks, in conjunction with aging fuel tanks and other infrastructure that cannot be replaced because of laws that prevent public investment in flood-prone localities. (Photo credit: F. S. Chapin III).

Key Message 2: Shrinking Glaciers

Most glaciers in Alaska and British Columbia are shrinking substantially. This trend is expected to continue and has implications for hydropower production, ocean circulation patterns, fisheries, and global sea level rise.

Key Message 3: Thawing Permafrost

Permafrost temperatures in Alaska are rising, a thawing trend that is expected to continue, causing multiple vulnerabilities through drier landscapes, more wildfire, altered wildlife habitat, increased cost of maintaining infrastructure, and the release of heat-trapping gases that increase climate warming.

Figure 22.5

Projections for average annual ground temperature at a depth of 3.3 feet over time if emissions of heat-trapping gases continue to grow (higher emissions scenario, A2), and if they are substantially reduced (lower emissions scenario, B1). Blue shades represent areas below freezing at a depth of 3.3 feet, and yellow and red shades represent areas above freezing at that depth, based on the GIPL 1.0 model. (Figure source: Permafrost Lab, Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks).

Figure 22.6

Effects of permafrost thaw on houses in interior Alaska (2001, top left), roads in eastern Alaska (1982, top right), and the estimated costs (with and without climate change) of replacing public infrastructure in Alaska, assuming a mid-range emissions scenario (A1B, with some decrease from current emissions growth trends). (Photo credits: (top left) Larry Hinzman; (top right) Joe Moore. Figure source: adapted from Larsen and Goldsmith 200779).

Figure 22.7

Progressive drying of lakes in northern forest wetlands in the Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska. Foreground orange area was once a lake. Mid-ground lake once extended to the shrubs. (Photo credit: May-Le Ng).

Key Message 4: Changing Ocean Temperatures and Chemistry

Current and projected increases in Alaska’s ocean temperatures and changes in ocean chemistry are expected to alter the distribution and productivity of Alaska’s marine fisheries, which lead the U.S. in commercial value.

Key Message 5: Native Communities

The cumulative effects of climate change in Alaska strongly affect Native communities, which are highly vulnerable to these rapid changes but have a deep cultural history of adapting to change.

Figure 22.8

One effect of the reduction in Alaska sea ice is that storm surges that used to be buffered by the ice are now causing more shoreline damage. Photos show infrastructure damage from coastal erosion in Tuntutuliak (left) and Shishmaref, Alaska (right). (Photo credits: (left) Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation; (right) Ned Rozell).

23. Hawaii and Pacific Islands

Figure 23.1

The U.S. Pacific Islands region includes our 50th state, Hawai‘i, as well as the Territories of Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), the Republic of Palau (RP), the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), and the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI). Citizens of Guam and CNMI are U.S. citizens, and citizens of American Samoa are U.S. nationals. Through the Compacts of Free Association, citizens of RP, FSM, and RMI have the right to travel to the U.S. without visas to maintain “habitual residence” and to pursue education and employment. The map shows three sub-regions used in this assessment and the islands that comprise the Pacific Remote Islands National Monument. Shaded areas indicate each island’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) (Figure source: Keener et al. 20122).

Key Message 1: Changes to Marine Ecosystems

Warmer oceans are leading to increased coral bleaching events and disease outbreaks in coral reefs, as well as changed distribution patterns of tuna fisheries. Ocean acidification will reduce coral growth and health. Warming and acidification, combined with existing stresses, will strongly affect coral reef fish communities.

Figure 23.2

The Pacific Islands include “high” volcanic islands, such as that on the left, that reach nearly 14,000 feet above sea level, and “low” atolls and islands, such as that on the right, that peak at just a few feet above present sea level. (Left) Ko‘olau Mountains on the windward side of Oahu, Hawai‘i (Photo credit: kstrebor via Flickr.com). (Right) Laysan Island, Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (Photo credit: Andy Collins, NOAA).

Figure 23.3

Ocean waters have already become more acidic from absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. As this absorption lowers pH, it reduces the amount of calcium carbonate, which is critical for many marine species to reproduce and grow. Maps show projections of the saturation state of aragonite (the form of calcium carbonate used by coral and many other species) if CO2 levels were stabilized at 380 ppm (a level that has already been exceeded), 450 ppm (middle map), and 500 ppm (bottom map), corresponding approximately to the years 2005, 2030, and 2050, assuming a decrease in emissions from the current trend (scenario A1B). As shown on the maps, many areas that are adequate will become marginal. Higher emissions will lead to many more places where aragonite concentrations are “marginal” or “extremely marginal” in much of the Pacific. (Figure source: Burke et al. 201125).

Key Message 2: Decreasing Freshwater Availability

Freshwater supplies are already constrained and will become more limited on many islands. Saltwater intrusion associated with sea level rise will reduce the quantity and quality of freshwater in coastal aquifers, especially on low islands. In areas where precipitation does not increase, freshwater supplies will be adversely affected as air temperature rises.

Figure 23.4

Islands in the western reaches of the Pacific Ocean are getting slightly more rainfall than in the past, while islands more to the east are getting drier (measured in change in inches of monthly rainfall per decade over the period 1950-2010). Darker blue shading indicates that conditions are wetter, while darker red shading indicates drier conditions. The size of the dot is proportional to the size of the trend on the inset scale. (Figure source: Keener et al. 2012 2).

Key Message 3: Increased Stress on Native Plants and Animals

Increasing temperatures, and in some areas reduced rainfall, will stress native Pacific Island plants and animals, especially in high-elevation ecosystems with increasing exposure to invasive species, increasing the risk of extinctions.

Figure 23.5

Warming at high elevations could alter the distribution of native plants and animals in mountainous ecosystems and increase the threat of invasive species. The threatened, endemic ‘ahinahina, or Haleakalā silversword (Argyroxiphium sandwicense subsp. macrocephalum), shown here in full bloom on Maui, Hawaiian Islands, is one example. (Photo credit: Forest and Kim Starr).

Key Message 4: Sea Level Rising

Rising sea levels, coupled with high water levels caused by tropical and extra-tropical storms, will incrementally increase coastal flooding and erosion, damaging coastal ecosystems, infrastructure, and agriculture, and negatively affecting tourism.

Figure 23.6

Taro crops destroyed by encroaching saltwater at Lukunoch Atoll, Chuuk State, FSM. Giant swamp taro is a staple crop in Micronesia that requires a two- to three-year growing period from initial planting to harvest. After a saltwater inundation from a storm surge or very high tide, it may take two years of normal rainfall to flush brackish water from a taro patch, resulting in a five-year gap before the next harvest if no further saltwater intrusion takes place. (Photo credit: John Quidachay, USDA Forest Service).

Figure 23.7

Republic of the Marshall Islands, with a land area of just 1.1 square miles and a maximum elevation of 10 feet, may be among the first to face the possibility of climate change induced human migration as sea level continues to rise. (Photo credit: Darren Nakata).

Figure 23.8

Map shows large variations across the Pacific Ocean in sea level trends for 1993-2010. The largest sea level increase has been observed in the western Pacific. (Figure source: adapted from Merrifield 201157 by permission of American Meteorological Society).

Key Message 4: Sea Level Rising

Rising sea levels, coupled with high water levels caused by tropical and extra-tropical storms, will incrementally increase coastal flooding and erosion, damaging coastal ecosystems, infrastructure, and agriculture, and negatively affecting tourism.

24. Oceans

Key Message 1: Rising Ocean Temperatures

The rise in ocean temperature over the last century will persist into the future, with continued large impacts on climate, ocean circulation, chemistry, and ecosystems.

Figure 24.1

Sea surface temperatures for the ocean surrounding the U.S. and its territories have warmed by more than 0.9°F over the past century (top panel). There is significant variation from place to place, with the ocean off the coast of Alaska, for example, warming far more rapidly than other areas (bottom panel). The gray shading on the map denotes U.S. land territory and the regions where the U.S. has rights over the exploration and use of marine resources, as defined by the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). (Figure source: adapted from Chavez et al. 201114).

Figure 24.2

As heat-trapping gases, primarily carbon dioxide (CO2)  (panel A), have increased over the past decades, not only has air temperature increased worldwide, but so has the temperature of the  ocean’s surface (panel B). The increased ocean temperature, combined with melting of glaciers and ice sheets on land, is leading to higher sea levels (panel C). Increased air and ocean temperatures are also causing the continued, dramatic decline in Arctic sea ice during the summer (panel D). Additionally, the ocean is becoming more acidic as increased atmospheric CO2 dissolves into it (panel E). (CO2 data from Etheridge 2010,20 Tans and Keeling 2012,21 and NOAA NCDC 2012;22 SST data from NOAA NCDC 201222 and Smith et al. 2008;10 Sea level data from CSIRO 201223 and Church and White 2011;19 Sea ice data from University of Illinois 2012;24 pH data from Doney et al. 20124).

Key Message 2: Ocean Acidification Alters Marine Ecosystems

The ocean currently absorbs about a quarter of human-caused carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere, leading to ocean acidification that will alter marine ecosystems in dramatic yet uncertain ways.

Figure 24.3

The 36-day-old clams in the photos are a single species, Mercenaria mercenaria  grown in the laboratory under varying levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the air. CO2 is absorbed from the air by ocean water, acidifying the water and thus reducing the ability of juvenile clams to grow their shells. As seen in the photos, where CO2 levels rise progressively from left to right, 36-day-old clams (measured in microns) grown under elevated CO2 levels are smaller than those grown under lower CO2 levels. The highest CO2 level, about 1500 parts per million (ppm; far right), is higher than most projections for the end of this century but could occur locally in some estuaries. (Figure source: Talmage and Gobler 201036).

Key Message 3: Habitat Loss Affects Marine Life

Significant habitat loss will continue to occur due to climate change for many species and areas, including Arctic and coral reef ecosystems, while habitat in other areas and for other species will expand. These changes will consequently alter the distribution, abundance, and productivity of many marine species.

Figure 24.4

A colony of star coral (Montastraea faveolata) off the southwestern coast of Puerto Rico  (estimated to be about 500 years old) exemplifies the effect of rising water temperatures. Increasing disease due to warming waters killed the central portion of the colony (yellow portion in A), followed by such high temperatures that bleaching - or loss of symbiotic algae from coral - occurred from the surrounding tissue (white area in B). The coral then experienced more disease in the bleached area on the periphery (C) that ultimately killed the colony (D). (Photo credit: Ernesto Weil).

Key Message 4: Rising Temperatures Linked to Diseases

Rising sea surface temperatures have been linked with increasing levels and ranges of diseases in humans and in marine life, including corals, abalones, oysters, fishes, and marine mammals.

Key Message 5: Economic Impacts of Marine-related Climate Change

Climate changes that result in conditions substantially different from recent history may significantly increase costs to businesses as well as disrupt public access and enjoyment of ocean areas.

Key Message 6: Initiatives Serve as a Model

In response to observed and projected climate impacts, some existing ocean policies, practices, and management efforts are incorporating climate change impacts. These initiatives can serve as models for other efforts and ultimately enable people and communities to adapt to changing ocean conditions.

Figure 24.5

Ocean species are shifting northward along U.S. coastlines  as ocean temperatures rise. As a result, over the past 40 years, more northern ports have gradually increased their landings of four marine species compared to the earlier pattern of landed value. While some species move northward out of an area, other species move in from the south. This kind of information can inform decisions about how to adapt to climate change. Such adaptations take time and have costs, as local knowledge and equipment are geared to the species that have long been present in an area. (Figure source: adapted from Pinsky and Fogerty 2012101).

25. Coasts

Figure 25.1

U.S. population growth in coastal watershed counties has been most significant over the past 40 years in urban centers such as Puget Sound, San Francisco Bay, southern California, Houston, South Florida and the northeast metropolitan corridor. A coastal watershed county is defined as one where either 1) at a minimum, 15% of the county’s total land area is located within a coastal watershed, or 2) a portion of or an entire county accounts for at least 15% of a coastal USGS 8-digit cataloging unit.1 Residents in these coastal areas can be considered “the U.S. population that most directly affects the coast.” 1 We use this definition of “coastal” throughout the chapter unless otherwise specified. (Data from U.S. Census Bureau).

Figure 25.2

Sea level rise is not just a problem of the future but is already affecting coastal communities such as Charleston, South Carolina, and Olympia in South Puget Sound through flooding during high tides. (Photo credits: (left) NOAA Coastal Services Center; (right) Ray Garrido, January 6, 2010, reprinted with permission by the Washington Department of Ecology).

Figure 25.3

The amount of sea level rise (SLR) by 2050 will vary along different stretches of the U.S. coastline and under different SLR scenarios, mostly due to land subsidence or uplift (Ch.2: Our Changing Climate).16 The panels show feet of sea level above 1992 levels at different tide gauge stations based on a) an 8 inch SLR and b) a 1.24 foot SLR by 2050. The flood level that has a 1% chance of occurring in any given year (“return level”) is similarly projected to differ by region as a result of varying storm surge risk. Panel c) shows return levels for a 1.05 foot SLR above mean high tide by 2050. Finally, panel d) shows how a 1.05 foot SLR by 2050 could cause the level of flooding that occurs during today’s 100-year storm to occur more frequently by mid-century, in some regions as often as once a decade or even annually. (Figure source: replicated Tebaldi et al. 2012 23 analysis with NCA sea level rise scenarios 16 for panels a) and b); data/ensemble SLR projections used for panels c) and d) from Tebaldi et al. 201223; all estimates include the effect of land subsidence).

Figure 25.4

(a) Social Vulnerability, (b) Probability of Shoreline Erosion (a) Social Vulnerabilty Index (SoVI) at the Census tract level for counties along the coast. The Social Vulnerability Index provides a quantitative, integrative measure for comparing the degree of vulnerability of human populations across the nation. A high SoVI (dark pink) typically indicates some combination of high exposure and high sensitivity to the effects of climate change and low capacity to deal with them. Specific index components and weighting are unique to each region (North Atlantic, South Atlantic, Gulf, Pacific, Great Lakes, Alaska, and Hawai‘i). All index components are constructed from readily available Census data and include measures of poverty, age, family structure, location (rural versus urban), foreign-born status, wealth, gender, Native American status, and occupation. 41, 42 (b) Probability of Shoreline Erosion greater than 3.3 feet per year for counties along the coast. Probability is based on historical conditions only and does not reflect the possibility of acceleration due to increasing rates of sea level rise. 43

(c) Climate-Related Threats (c) Regional Threats from Climate Change are compiled from technical input reports, the regional chapters in this report, and from scientific literature. For related information, see http://data.globalchange.gov/report/...fferences-2012

(d) Adaptation Activities (d) Examples of Adaptation Activities in Coastal Areas of the U.S. and Affiliated Island States are compiled from technical input reports, the regional chapters in this report, and scientific literature. For related information, see http://data.globalchange.gov/report/...-examples-2012

Figure 25.5

This “mock-up” shows the existing Highway LA-1 and Leeville Bridge in coastal Louisiana (on the right) with a planned new, elevated bridge that would retain functionality under future, higher sea level conditions (center left). (Current sea level and sinking bridge are shown here.) A 7-mile portion of the planned bridge has been completed and opened to traffic in December 2011. (Figure source: Greater Lafourche Port Commission, reprinted with permission).

Key Message 1: Coastal Lifelines at Risk

Coastal lifelines, such as water supply and energy infrastructure and evacuation routes, are increasingly vulnerable to higher sea levels and storm surges, inland flooding, erosion, and other climate-related changes.

Figure 25.6

A coastal ecosystem restoration project in New York City integrates revegetation (a form of green infrastructure) with bulkheads and riprap (gray or built infrastructure). Investments in coastal ecosystem conservation and restoration can protect coastal waterfronts and infrastructure, while providing additional benefits, such as habitat for commercial and recreational fish, birds, and other animal and plant species, that are not offered by built infrastructure. (Photo credit: Department of City Planning, New York City, reprinted with permission).

Key Message 2: Economic Disruption

Nationally important assets, such as ports, tourism, and fishing sites, in already-vulnerable coastal locations, are increasingly exposed to sea level rise and related hazards. This threatens to disrupt economic activity within coastal areas and the regions they serve and results in significant costs from protecting or moving these assets.

Figure 25.7

Ports are deeply interconnected with inland areas through the goods imported and exported each year. Climate change impacts on ports can thus have far-reaching implications for the nation’s economy. These maps show the exports and imports in 2010 (in tons/year) and freight flows (in trucks per day) from four major U.S. ports to other U.S. areas designated in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Freight Analysis Framework (FAF): Los Angeles, Houston, New York/New Jersey, and Seattle. Note: Highway Link Flow less than 5 FAF Trucks/Day are not shown. (Figure source: U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, Office of Freight Management and Operations, Freight Analysis Framework, version 3.4, 2012).87

Key Message 3: Uneven Social Vulnerability

Socioeconomic disparities create uneven exposures and sensitivities to growing coastal risks and limit adaptation options for some coastal communities, resulting in the displacement of the most vulnerable people from coastal areas.

Key Message 4: Vulnerable Ecosystems

Coastal ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to climate change because many have already been dramatically altered by human stresses; climate change will result in further reduction or loss of the services that these ecosystems provide, including potentially irreversible impacts.

Figure 25.8

Coastal ecosystems provide a suite of valuable benefits (ecosystem services) on which humans depend for food, economic activities, inspiration, and enjoyment. This schematic illustrates many of these services situated in a Pacific or Caribbean island setting, but many of them can also be found along mainland coastlines.

Figure 25.9

These maps show expected future land change in coastal Louisiana under two different sea level rise scenarios without protection or restoration actions. Red indicates a transition from land (either wetlands or barrier islands) to open water. Green indicates new land built over previously open water. Land loss is influenced by factors other than sea level rise, including subsidence, river discharge and sediment load, and precipitation patterns. However, all these factors except sea level rise were held constant for this analysis. The panel on the left shows land change with a sea level rise of 10.6 inches between 2010 and 2060, while the one on the right assumes 31.5 inches of sea level rise for the same period. These amounts of sea level rise are within the projected ranges for this time period (Ch. 2: Our Changing Climate). (Figure source: State of Louisiana, reprinted with permission 120).

Key Message 5: The State of Coastal Adaptation

Leaders and residents of coastal regions are increasingly aware of the high vulnerability of coasts to climate change and are developing plans to prepare for potential impacts on citizens, businesses, and environmental assets. Significant institutional, political, social, and economic obstacles to implementing adaptation actions remain.

RESPONSE STRATEGIES

Introduction

People make choices every day about risks and benefits in their lives, weighing experience, information, and judgment as they consider the impacts of their decisions on themselves and the people around them. Similarly, people make choices that alter the magnitude of impacts resulting from current and future climate change. Using science-based information to anticipate future changes can help society make better decisions about how to reduce risks and protect people, places, and ecosystems from climate change impacts. Decisions made now and in the future will influence society’s resilience to impacts of future climate change.

In recognition of the significance of these decisions, the National Climate Assessment presents information that is useful for a wide variety of decisions across regions and sectors, at multiple scales, and over multiple time frames. For the first time, the National Climate Assessment includes chapters on Decision Support, Mitigation, and Adaptation, in addition to identifying research needs associated with these topics.

As with other sections of this report, the linkages across and among these chapters are extremely important. There are direct connections between mitigation decisions (about whether and how to manage emissions of heat-trapping gases) and how much climate will change in the future. The amount of change that occurs will in turn dictate the amount of adaptation that will be required.

In the Decision Support chapter, a variety of approaches to bridge the gap between scientific understanding and decision-making are discussed, leading to the conclusion that there are many opportunities to help scientists understand the needs of decision-makers, and also to help decision-makers use available tools and information to reduce the risks of climate change. The Mitigation chapter describes emissions trajectories and assesses the state of mitigation activities. Policies already enacted and other factors lowered U.S. emissions in recent years, but achievement of a global emissions path consistent with the lower scenario (B1) analyzed in this assessment will require strenuous action by all major emitters. The Adaptation chapter assesses current adaptation activities across the United States in the public and private sectors, and concludes that although a lot of adaptation planning is being done, implementation lags significantly behind the scale of anticipated changes.

This report concludes with chapters on Research Needs to improve future climate and global change assessments and on the Sustained Assessment Process, which describes the rationale for ongoing assessment activity to achieve greater efficiency and better scientific and societal outcomes.

26. Decision Support

Key Messages
Key Message 1: Decision Support

Decisions about how to address climate change can be complex, and responses will require a combination of adaptation and mitigation actions. Decision-makers – whether individuals, public officials, or others – may need help integrating scientific information into adaptation and mitigation decisions.

Key Message 2: Decision Support

To be effective, decision support processes need to take account of the values and goals of the key stakeholders, evolving scientific information, and the perceptions of risk.

Key Message 3: Decision Support

Many decision support processes and tools are available. They can enable decision-makers to identify and assess response options, apply complex and uncertain information, clarify tradeoffs, strengthen transparency, and generate information on the costs and benefits of different choices.

Key Message 4: Decision Support

Ongoing assessment processes should incorporate evaluation of decision support tools, their accessibility to decision-makers, and their application in decision processes in different sectors and regions.

Key Message 5: Decision Support

Steps to improve collaborative decision processes include developing new decision support tools and building human capacity to bridge science and decision-making.

Table 26.1

Examples of Decisions at Different Scales

 

Scale Examples
Individuals A farmer decides whether to adopt no-till agricultural practices.
Individuals A private firm decides whether to invest in solar or wind energy.
Organizations A city develops a plan to increase resiliency to coastal floods in light of projections for sea level rise.
Communities A government agency plans incentives for renewable energy to meet greenhouse gas reduction goals
National Governments A national government develops its positions for international climate negotiations, including what commitments the government should make with respect to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
International Institutions A United Nations agency designs a long-term strategy to manage increased flows of refugees who are migrating in part due to desertification related to climate change.
Figure 26.1

Decisions take place within a complex context. Decision support processes and tools can help structure decision-making, organize and analyze information, and build consensus around options for action.

Figure 26.2

Boundary processes facilitate the flow of information and sharing of knowledge between decision-makers and scientists/technical experts. Processes that bring these groups together and help translate between different areas of expertise can provide substantial benefits.

Figure 26.3

This illustration highlights several stages of a well-structured decision-making process(Figure source: adapted from NRC 20108 and Willows and Connell 2003 26).

Figure 26.4

This figure highlights the importance of incorporating both experts’ assessment of the climate change risk and general public perceptions of this risk in developing risk management strategies for reducing the negative impacts of climate change. As indicated by the arrows, how the public perceives risk should be considered when experts communicate data on the risks associated with climate change so the public refines its understanding of these risks. As the arrows indicate, the general public’s views must also be considered in addition to experts’ judgments when developing risk management strategies that achieve decision-makers’ desired objectives. Climate change policies that are implemented will, in turn, affect both expert assessment and public perception of this risk in the future, as indicated by the feedback loop from risk management to these two boxes.

Table 26.2

Examples of Decisions and Tools Used

Many decision support tools apply climate science and other information to specific decisions and issues; several online clearinghouses describe these tools and provide case studies of their use (for example, CAKE 2012;39 CCSP 2005;84 NatureServe 201285). Typically, these applications integrate observed or modeled data on climate and a resource or system to enable users to evaluate the potential consequences of options for management, investment, and other decisions. These tools apply to many types of decisions; examples of decisions and references for further information are provided in Table 26.2.

 

Topic Example Decision(s) Further Information and Case Studies
Water resources Making water supply decisions in the context of changes in precipitation, increased temperatures, and changes in water quality, quantity, and water use Means et al. 2010;86 International Upper Great Lakes Study 2012;24 State of Washington 2012;87 “Denver Water Case Study” (below); Ch. 3: Water
Infrastructure Designing and locating energy or transportation facilities in the coastal zone to limit the impacts of sea level rise Ch. 11: Urban; Ch. 10: Energy, Water, and Land
Ecosystems and biodiversity Managing carbon capture and storage, fire, invasive species, ecosystems, and ecosystem services Byrd et al. 2011;88 Labiosa et al. 2009;89 USGS 2012a, 2012b, 2012c;90,91 Figure 26.5
Human health Providing public health warnings in response to ecosystem changes or degradation, air quality, or temperature issues Ch. 9: Human Health
Regional climate change response planning Develop plans to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases in multiple economic sectors within a state “Washington State’s Climate Action Team” (below)

ClimateChangeImpacts2014Table26.2Continued.png

Figure 26.5

The Santa Cruz Watershed Ecosystem Portfolio Model is a regional land-use planning tool that integrates ecological, economic, and social information and values relevant to decision-makers and stakeholders. The tool is a map-based set of evaluation tools for planners and stakeholders, and is meant to help in balancing disparate interests within a regional context. Projections for climate change can be added to tools such as this one and used to simulate impacts of climate change and generate scenarios of climate change sensitivity; such an application is under development for this tool (Figure source: USGS 2012 90).

Figure 26.6

Scenario planning is an important component of decision-making. This “cone of uncertainty” is used to depict potential futures in Denver Water’s scenario planning exercises. (Figure source: adapted from Waage 2010 122).

27. Mitigation

Key Messages
Key Message 1: Mitigation

Carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere by natural processes at a rate that is roughly half of the current rate of emissions from human activities. Therefore, mitigation efforts that only stabilize global emissions will not reduce atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, but will only limit their rate of increase. The same is true for other long-lived greenhouse gases.

Key Message 2: Mitigation

To meet the lower emissions scenario (B1) used in this assessment, global mitigation actions would need to limit global carbon dioxide emissions to a peak of around 44 billion tons per year within the next 25 years and decline thereafter. In 2011, global emissions were around 34 billion tons, and have been rising by about 0.9 billion tons per year for the past decade. Therefore, the world is on a path to exceed 44 billion tons per year within a decade.

Key Message 3: Mitigation

Over recent decades, the U.S. economy has emitted a decreasing amount of carbon dioxide per dollar of gross domestic product. Between 2008 and 2012, there was also a decline in the total amount of carbon dioxide emitted annually from energy use in the United States as a result of a variety of factors, including changes in the economy, the development of new energy production technologies, and various government policies.

Key Message 4: Mitigation

Carbon storage in land ecosystems, especially forests, has offset around 17% of annual U.S. fossil fuel emissions of greenhouse gases over the past several decades, but this carbon “sink” may not be sustainable.

Key Message 5: Mitigation

Both voluntary activities and a variety of policies and measures that lower emissions are currently in place at federal, state, and local levels in the United States, even though there is no comprehensive national climate legislation. Over the remainder of this century, aggressive and sustained greenhouse gas emission reductions by the United States and by other nations would be needed to reduce global emissions to a level consistent with the lower scenario (B1) analyzed in this assessment.

Figure 27.1

Figure shows human-induced changes in the global carbon dioxide budget roughly since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Emissions from fossil fuel burning are the dominant cause of the steep rise shown here from 1850 to 2012. (Global Carbon Project 2010, 201210).

Figure 27.2

This graph depicts the changes in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions over time as a function of five driving forces: 1) the amount of CO2 produced per unit of energy (CO2 intensity); 2) the amount of energy used per unit of gross domestic product (energy intensity); 3) structural changes in the economy; 4) per capita income; and 5) population. Although CO2 intensity and especially energy intensity have decreased significantly and the structure of the U.S. economy has changed, total CO2 emissions have continued to rise as a result of the growth in both population and per capita income. (Baldwin and Sue Wing, 201321).

Figure 27.3

Graph shows annual average greenhouse gas emissions from land use including livestock and crop production, but does not include fossil fuels used in agricultural production. Forests are a significant “sink” that absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. All values shown are for 2008, except wetlands, which are shown for 2003. (Pacala et al. 2007;27 USDA 201126).

Table 27.1

A number of existing federal laws and regulations target ways to reduce future climate change by decreasing greenhouse gas emissions emitted by human activities

Sample Federal Mitigation Measures

 

Measures Examples
Greenhouse Gas Regulations Emissions Standards for Vehicles and Engines
-- For light-duty vehicles, rules establishing standards for 2012-2016 model years and 2017-2025 model years.
-- For heavy- and medium-duty trucks, a rule establishing standards for 2014-2018 model years.
Carbon Pollution Standard for New Power Plants
-- A proposed rule setting limits on CO2 emissions from future power plants.
Stationary Source Permitting
-- A rule setting greenhouse gas emissions thresholds to define when permits under the New Source Review Prevention of
Significant Deterioration and Title V Operating Permit programs are required for new and modified industrial facilities.
Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program
-- A program requiring annual reporting of greenhouse gas data from large emission sources and suppliers of products that emit
greenhouse gases when released or combusted.
Other Rules and Regulations with Climate Co-Benefits Oil and Natural Gas Air Pollution Standards
-- A rule revising New Source Performance Standards and National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for certain
components of the oil and natural gas industry.
Mobile Source Control Programs
-- Particle control regulations affecting mobile sources (especially diesel engines) that reduce black carbon by controlling direct
particle emissions.
-- The requirement to blend increasing volumes of renewable fuels.
National Forest Planning
-- Identification and evaluation of information relevant to a baseline assessment of carbon stocks.
-- Reporting of net carbon stock changes on forestland.
Standards and Subsidies Appliance and Building Efficiency Standards
-- Energy efficiency standards and test procedures for residential, commercial, industrial, lighting, and plumbing products.
-- Model residential and commercial building energy codes, and technical assistance to state and local governments, and nongovernmental
organizations.
Financial Incentives for Efficiency and Alternative Fuels and Technology
-- Weatherization assistance for low-income households, tax incentives for commercial and residential buildings and efficient
appliances, and support for state and local efficiency programs.
-- Tax credits for biodiesel and advanced biofuel production, alternative fuel infrastructure, and purchase of electric vehicles.
-- Loan guarantees for innovative energy or advanced technology vehicle production and manufacturing; investment and production
tax credits for renewable energy.
Funding of Research, Development, Demonstration, and Deployment -- Programs on clean fuels, energy end-use and infrastructure, CO2 capture and storage, and agricultural practices.
Federal Agency Practices and Procurement
-- Executive orders and federal statutes requiring federal agencies to reduce building energy and resource consumption intensity and
to procure alternative fuel vehicles.
-- Agency-initiated programs in most departments oriented to lowering energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.
Table 27.2

Most states and Native communities have implemented programs to reduce greenhouse gases or adopt increased energy efficiency goals

 

Examples of greenhouse gas policies include: URL
Greenhouse Gas Reporting and Registries 65 http://www.c2es.org/us-states-region.../ghg-reporting
Greenhouse Gas Emissions Targets 66 http://www.c2es.org/us-states-region...ssions-targets
CO2 Controls on Electric Power plants 67 http://www.edf.org/sites/default/fil...s-03132012.pdf
Low-Carbon Fuel Standards 68 http://www.c2es.org/us-states-region...-fuel-standard
Climate Action Plans 69 http://www.c2es.org/us-states-region...ps/action-plan
Cap and Trade Programs 70 http://arb.ca.gov/cc/capandtrade/capandtrade.htm
Regional Agreements 71 http://www.c2es.org/us-states-region...nitiatives#WCI
Tribal Communities 72 http://www.epa.gov/statelocalclimate/tribal
States have also taken a number of energy measures, motivated in part by greenhouse gas concerns. For example:  
Renewable Portfolio Standards 73 http://www.dsireusa.org/documents/su...ps/RPS_map.pdf
Energy Efficiency Resource Standards 74 http://www.dsireusa.org/documents/su...s/EERS_map.pdf
Property Tax Incentives for Renewables 75 http://www.dsireusa.org/documents/summarymaps/

28. Adaptation

Key Messages
Key Message 1: Adaptation

Substantial adaptation planning is occurring in the public and private sectors and at all levels of government; however, few measures have been implemented and those that have appear to be incremental changes.

Key Message 2: Adaptation

Barriers to implementation of adaptation include limited funding, policy and legal impediments, and difficulty in anticipating climate-related changes at local scales.

Key Message 3: Adaptation

There is no “one-size fits all” adaptation, but there are similarities in approaches across regions and sectors. Sharing best practices, learning by doing, and iterative and collaborative processes including stakeholder involvement, can help support progress.

Key Message 4: Adaptation

Climate change adaptation actions often fulfill other societal goals, such as sustainable development, disaster risk reduction, or improvements in quality of life, and can therefore be incorporated into existing decision-making processes.

Key Message 5: Adaptation

Vulnerability to climate change is exacerbated by other stresses such as pollution, habitat fragmentation, and poverty. Adaptation to multiple stresses requires assessment of the composite threats as well as tradeoffs among costs, benefits, and risks of available options.

Key Message 6: Adaptation

The effectiveness of climate change adaptation has seldom been evaluated, because actions have only recently been initiated and comprehensive evaluation metrics do not yet exist.

Table 28.1

Examples of Individual Federal Agency Actions to Promote, Implement, and Support Adaptation at Multiple Scales*

*Material provided in table is derived directly from Agency representatives and Agency websites. These are select examples and should not be considered all-inclusive.

 

Agency Component Action Description
All Federal Agencies   Developed Adaptation Plans as part of their annual Strategic Sustainability Performance Plans The 2012 Strategic Sustainability Performance Plans for Federal agencies contain specific sections on adaptation. Agencies are required to evaluate climate risks and vulnerabilities to manage both short- and long-term effects on missions and operations.
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Climate-Ready States and Cities Initiative Through their first climate change cooperative agreements in 2010, CDC awarded $5.25 million to ten state and local health departments to assess risks and develop programs to address climate change related challenges.
Department of Agriculture (USDA)   Integrating climate change objectives into plans and networks USDA is using existing networks such as the Cooperative Extension Service, the Natural Resource Conservation Districts, and the Forest Service’s Climate Change Resource Center to provide climate services to rural and agricultural stakeholders.
USDA Forest Service Developed a National Roadmap for Responding to Climate Change and a Guidebook for Developing Adaptation Options, among many resources The National Roadmap was developed in 2010 to identify short- and long-term actions to reduce climate change risks to the nation’s forests and grasslands. The Guidebook builds on this previous work and provides science-based strategic and tactical approaches to adaptation.
Department of Commerce (DOC) NOAA Supporting research teams and local communities on adaptation-related issues and develops tools and resources Through the Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISAs) program, develop collaboration between researchers and managers to better manage climate risks. Through the Regional Climate Centers (RCCs) and the Digital Coast partnership, deliver science to support decision-making.
Department of Defense (DoD)   Developed a DoD Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap DoD released its initial Department-level Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap in 2012. The Roadmap identifies four goals that serve as the foundation for guiding the Department’s response to climate change that include using a robust decision making approach based onthe best available science.
DoD U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Civil Works Program Developed climate change adaptation plan; making progress in priority areas including vulnerability assessments and development of policy and guidance The USACE Civil Works Program initial climate change adaptation plan in 2011 has a goal to reduce vulnerabilities and improve resilience of water resources infrastructure impacted by climate change. Vulnerability assessments and pilot projects are in progress. Other guidance is underway.
DoD Department of the Navy Developed road maps for adaptation in the Arctic and across the globe The Navy Arctic Roadmap (November 2009) promotes maritime security and naval readiness in a changing Arctic. The Climate Change Roadmap (May 2010) examines broader issues of climate change impacts on Navy missions and capabilities globally.
Department of Energy (DOE)   Develop higher spatial and temporal scales of climate projections and integrate adaptation and climate considerations into integrated assessments Develops community-based, high-resolution (temporal and spatial) models for climate projections and integrated assessment models that increasingly reflect multi-sectoral processes and interactions, multiple stressors, coupled impacts, and adaptation potential.
DOE   Developed climate change adaptation plan, and completed comprehensive study of vulnerabilities to the energy sector of climate change and extreme weather The 2013 DOE Report “U.S. Energy Sector Vulnerabilities to Climate Change and Extreme Weather” examines current and potential future impacts of climate trends and identifies activities underway and potential opportunities to enhance energy system climate preparedness and resilience.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Works with communities across the Nation to help them prioritize their activities to reduce risks FEMA released a Climate Change Adaptation Policy Statement establishing the Agency’s approach to supporting the Department in ensuring resilience to disasters in the face of climate change. FEMA’s action areas focus on developing actionable “future risk” tools, enabling state and local adaptation, and building resilience capabilities.
Department of the Interior (DOI) Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Developed a FWS climate change strategic plan (2010) and established a network of Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) Established a framework to help ensure the sustainability of fish, wildlife, plants, and habitats in the face of climate change. Created a network of 22 LCCs to promote shared conservation goals, approaches, and resource management planning and implementation across the United States.
DOI U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Established a network of Climate Science Centers (CSCs) DOI operates a National Climate Change and Wildlife Center and eight regional CSCs, which provide scientific information and tools that land, water, wildlife, and cultural resource managers and other stakeholders can apply to anticipate, monitor, and adapt to climate change.
DOI National Park Service (NPS) Climate Change Response Strategy (2010), Climate Change Action Plan (2012), and Green Parks Plan (2012) NPS actions span climate change science, adaptation, mitigation, and communication across national parks, including exhibits for park visitors, providing climate trend information for all national parks, risk screening and adaptation for coastal park units, and implementing scenario planning tools.
DOI Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Rapid Ecoregional Assessments (REAs) REAs synthesize information about resource conditions and trends within an ecoregion; assess impacts of climate change and other stressors; map areas best-suited for future development; and establish baseline environmental conditions, against which to gauge management effectiveness.
Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Developed Risk Assessment Model for transportation decisions DOT worked with five local and state transportation authorities to develop a conceptual Risk Assessment Model to identify which assets are: a) most exposed to climate change threats and/or b) associated with the most serious potential consequences of climate change threats. Completed November 2011.
DOT   Comprehensive study of climate risks to Gulf Coast transportation infrastructure followed by in-depth study of Mobile, AL Phase 1 of the 2008 study assessed transportation infrastructure vulnerability to climate change impacts across the Gulf. Phase 2, to be completed in 2013, focuses on Mobile, AL. This effort will develop transferable tools for transportation planners.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)   Established the Climate Ready Estuaries program, the Climate Ready Water Utilities initiative, and a tribal climate change adaptation planning training program These selected EPA initiatives provide resources and tools to build the capacity of coastal managers, water utilities, and tribal environmental professionals to plan for and implement adaptation strategies.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)   Initiated NASA’s Climate Adaptation Science Investigator (CASI) Workgroup to partner NASA scientists, engineers, and institutional stewards The CASI team builds capacity to address climate change at NASA facilities by down-scaling facility-specific climate hazard information and projections; conducting customized climate research for each location; and leading resilience and adaptation workshops that spur community-based responses.
Figure 28.1

Status of State Climate Adaptation Plans. (Figure source: redrawn from C2ES 201337)

Table 28.2

Examples of State-Level Adaptation Activities*

*This list contains selected examples of state-level adaptation activities and should not be considered all-inclusive.

 

State Adaptation Action
Alaska Alaska Climate Change Impact Mitigation Program provides funds for hazard impact assessments to evaluate climate change related impacts, such as coastal erosion and thawing permafrost.39
California Building standards mandating energy and water efficiency savings, advancing both adaptation and mitigation; State Adaptation Plan calls for 20% reduction in per capita water use.40
Florida Law supporting low water use landscaping techniques.41
Hawaii Water code that calls for integrated management, preservation, and enhancement of natural systems.42
Kentucky Action Plan to Respond to Climate Change in Kentucky: A Strategy of Resilience, which identifies six goals to protect ecosystems and species in a changing climate.43
Louisiana Comprehensive Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast 2012 includes both protection and restoration activities addressing land loss from sea level rise, subsidence, and other factors over the next 50 years.44
Maine The Maine Sand Dune Rules require that structures greater than 2,500 square feet be set back at a distance that is calculated based on the future shoreline position and considering two feet of sea level rise over the next 100 years.45
Maryland Passed Living Shorelines Act to reduce hardened shorelines throughout the state;46 passed “Building Resilience to Climate Change” policy which establishes practices and procedures related to facility siting and design, new land investments, habitat restoration, government operations, research and monitoring, resource planning, and advocacy.
Montana Maintains a statewide climate change website to help stakeholders access relevant and timely climate information, tools, and resources.
New Mexico The Active Water Resource Management program allows for temporary water rights changes in real time in case of drought.47
Pennsylvania Enacted polices to encourage the use of green infrastructure and ecosystem-based approaches for managing storm water and flooding. 9
Rhode Island Requires public agencies considering land-use applications to accommodate a 3- to 5-foot rise in sea level.
Texas Coordinated response to drought through National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS); RISAs (Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program [SCIPP], Climate Assessment for the Southwest [CLIMAS]); and state and private sector partners through anticipatory planning and preparedness (for example, implemented in 2011 drought).48
Table 28.3

Examples of Local and Regional Adaptation Activities*

*This table includes select examples of local and regional adaptation activities and should not be considered all-inclusive.

 

Local or Regional Government Adaptation Action
Satellite Beach, FL Collaboration with the Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program led to efforts to try to incorporate sea level rise projections and policies into the city’s comprehensive growth management plan.54
Portland, OR Updated the city code to require on-site stormwater management for new development and re-development. Provides a downspout disconnection program to help promote on-site stormwater management .61
Lewes, DE In partnership with Delaware Sea Grant, ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, the University of Delaware, and state and regional partners, the City of Lewes undertook a stakeholder-driven process to understand how climate adaptation could be integrated into the hazard mitigation planning process. Recommendations for integration and operational changes were adopted by the City Council and are currently being implemented.62
Groton, CT Partnered with federal, state, regional, local, non-governmental, and academic partners through the EPA’s Climate Ready Estuaries program to assess vulnerability to and devise solutions for sea level rise.63
San Diego Bay, CA Five municipalities partnered with the port, the airport, and more than 30 organizations with direct interests in the Bay’s future to develop the San Diego Bay Sea Level Rise Adaptation Strategy. The strategy identified key vulnerabilities for the Bay and adaptation actions that can be taken by individual agencies, as well as through regional collaboration.9
Chicago, IL Through a number of development projects, the city has added 55 acres of permeable surfaces since 2008 and has more than four million square feet of green roofs planned or completed.64
King County, WA Created King County Flood Control District in 2007 to address increased impacts from flooding through activities such as maintaining and repairing levees and revetments, acquiring repetitive loss properties, and improving countywide flood warnings.65
New York City, NY Through a partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the city is updating FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps based on more precise elevation data. The new maps will help stakeholders better understand their current flood risks and allow the city to more effectively plan for climate change.66
Southeast Florida Climate Change Compact Joint commitment among Broward, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, and Monroe Counties to partner in reducing heat-trapping gas emissions and adapting to climate impacts, including adaptation in transportation, water resources, natural resources, agriculture, and disaster risk reduction. Notable policies emerging from the Compact include regional collaboration to revise building codes and land development regulations to discourage new development or post-disaster redevelopment in vulnerable areas.67
Phoenix, AZ; Boston, MA; Philadelphia, PA; and New York, NY Climate change impacts are being integrated into public health planning and implementation activities that include creating more community cooling centers, neighborhood watch programs, and reductions in the urban heat island effect.9,68,69
Boulder, CO; New York, NY; and Seattle, WA Water utilities in these communities are using climate information to assess vulnerability and inform decision-making.61
City of Philadelphia In 2006, the Philadelphia Water Department began a program to develop a green stormwater infrastructure, intended to convert more than one-third of the city’s impervious land cover to “Greened Acres”: green facilities, green streets, green open spaces, green homes, etc., along with stream corridor restoration and preservation.5
Table 28.4

Examples of Non-governmental Adaptation Efforts and Services*

*This list contains examples of non-governmental organizations providing the identified services and should not be considered all-inclusive or a validation of actions claimed by the organizations.

 

Types of Adaptation Efforts and Services Examples of Organizations Providing Services
Adaptation planning assistance, including creation of guides, tools, and templates Center for Climate Strategies, ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, International Institute for Sustainable Development, Natural Resources Defense Council, The Nature Conservancy, World Resources Institute, World Wildlife Fund
Networking and best practice exchange C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, Adaptation Network, Center for Clean Air Policy, Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange, ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, Institute for Sustainable Communities, Urban Sustainability Directors Network, World Business Council for Sustainable Development
Climate information providers Union of Concerned Scientists, Urban Climate Change Research Network, Stockholm Environment Institute–U.S. Center
Policy, legal, and institutional support Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (formerly Pew Center on Global Climate Change), Georgetown Climate Center
Aggregation of adaptation-pertinent information Carbon Disclosure Project, Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange, Georgetown Climate Center
Table 28.5

Examples of Private Sector Actions to Adapt to Climate Risks as Reported to the Carbon Disclosure Project*

* This list contains examples of private sector actions to adapt to climate risks as reported to the Carbon Disclosure Project and should not be considered all-inclusive or a validation of actions claimed by the organizations.

 

Company Sector Climate Risk Examples of Actions Undertaken
Coca-Cola Company Consumer Staples Changes in physical climate parameters; Changes in other climate-related developments Coca-Cola is working around the world to replenish the water used in finished beverages by participating in locally relevant water projects that support communities and nature. Since 2005, the Coca-Cola system has engaged in more than 320 projects in 86 countries. The range of community projects includes watershed protection; expanding community drinking water and sanitation access; water for productive use, such as agricultural water efficiency; and education and awareness programs. (http://www.thecoca-colacompany.com/c...rtnership.html)
ConAgra Foods, Inc. Consumer Staples Company experienced weather-related sourcing challenges, such as delayed tomato harvesting due to unseasonably cool weather, and difficulty sourcing other vegetables due to above normal precipitation. As part of its business continuity planning, ConAgra Foods has analyzed its supply risk to develop strategic partnerships with suppliers, minimize sole-sourced ingredients, and identify alternate suppliers and contract manufacturers to minimize production disruptions in the instance of an unexpected disruption in supply. (http://company.conagrafoods.com/phoe...es_Environment)
Constellation Brands Consumer Staples Changes in physical climate parameters; Changes in other climate-related developments Constellation has already taken adaptation actions, particularly in California where water availability is an issue, to manage or adapt to these risks. Constellation is working with numerous organizations to help fund industry-based research to determine potential climate change impacts on vineyard production.
Munich Re Reinsurance Changes in regulation; Changes in physical climate parameters; Changes in other climate-related developments Since 2007, a Group-wide climate change strategy covering all aspects of climate change – for example, weather-related impacts, regulatory impacts, litigation and health risks, etc. – has supported their core corporate strategy. The strategy is based on five pillars: mitigation, adaptation, research, in-house carbon dioxide reduction, and advocacy. (http://www.munichre.com/en/group/foc...e/default.aspx)
Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) Utilities Changes in regulation; changes in physical climate parameters; Changes in other climate-related developments PG&E’s adaptation strategies for potential increased electricity demand include expanded customer energy efficiency and demand response programs and improvements to its electric grid. PG&E is proactively tracking and evaluating the potential impacts of reductions to Sierra Nevada snowpack on its hydroelectric system and has developed adaptation strategies to minimize them. Strategies include maintaining higher winter carryover reservoir storage levels, reducing conveyance flows in canals and flumes in response to an increased portion of precipitation falling as rain, and reducing discretionary reservoir water releases during the late spring and summer. PG&E is also working with both the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the California Department of Water Resources to begin using the USGS Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System (PRMS) watershed model, to help manage reservoirs on watersheds experiencing mountain snowpack loss. (http://www.pge.com/about/environment/commitment/)
SC Johnson & Son, Inc. Household Products Changes in physical climate parameters SC Johnson is adjusting to the various physical risks that climate change imposes through a diversified supplier and global manufacturing base. In March 2009, SC Johnson announced a broad ingredient communication program. SC Johnson assesses risks along each ingredient’s supply chain to ensure that the company is sourcing from a geographically diverse supplier base. In addition to evaluating product ingredients, SC Johnson has also diversified its operations around the world, allowing it to maintain business continuity in the face of a regional climate change related disruption. (http://www.scjohnson.com/en/commitment/overview.aspx)
Spectra Energy, Inc. Energy Changes in regulation; Changes in physical climate parameters; Changes in other climate-related developments Spectra Energy uses a corporate-wide risk analysis framework to ensure the oversight and management of its four major risk categories: financial, strategic, operational, and legal risks. Physical risks posed by climate change fall within these categories and the company uses risk management committees to ensure that all material risks are identified, evaluated, and managed prior to financial approvals of major projects. (http://www.spectraenergy.com/Sustainability/)
Figure 28.2

“Risk Disk” depicts three pathways by which risks posed by climate change can affect business, such as through core operations, the value chain, and broader changes in the economy and infrastructure. (Figure source: redrawn from C2ES 200874).

Figure 28.3

Generalized Adaptation Process (Figure source: adapted from NRC 201011).

Table 28.6

Summary of Adaptation Barriers

 

Barrier References Specific Examples
Climate Change Information and Decision-Making 7,8,10,11,14,17,31,32,42,59,68,69,72,82,90,93,104,109,110,111,112
  • Uncertainty about future climate impacts and difficulty in interpreting the cause of individual weather events
  • Disconnect between information providers and information users
  • Fragmented, complex, and often confusing information
  • Lack of climate education for professionals and the public
  • Lack of usability and accessibility of existing information
  • Mismatch of decision-making timescales and future climate projections
Lack of Resources to Begin and Sustain Adaptation Efforts 8,13,42,51,54,59,81,82,111,112,113,114
  • Lack of financial resources / no dedicated funding
  • Limited staffing capacity
  • Underinvestment in human dimensions research
Fragmentation of Decision-Making 8,14,31,32,51,68,115,116
  • Lack of coordination within and across agencies, private companies, and nongovernmental organizations
  • Uncoordinated and fragmented research efforts
  • Disjointed climate related information
  • Fragmented ecosystem and jurisdictional boundaries
Institutional Constraints 8,13,42,51,54,97,113,117,118,119
  • Lack of institutional flexibility
  • Rigid laws and regulations
  • No legal mandate to act
  • Use of historical data to inform future decisions
  • Restrictive management procedures
  • Lack of operational control or influence
Lack of Leadership 30,96,112,113,119,120,121
  • Lack of political leadership
  • Rigid and entrenched political structures
  • Polarization
Divergent Risk Perceptions, Cultures, and Values 51,71,82,116,117,120,122
  • Conflicting values/risk perceptions
  • Little integration of local knowledge, context, and needs with traditional scientific information
  • Cultural taboos and conflict with cultural beliefs
  • Resistance to change due to issues such as risk perception
Figure 28.4

Adaptation Activity

Figure 28.5

U.S. Drought Monitor Map accessed on August 20, 2012. The U.S. Drought Monitor is produced in partnership between the national Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Map courtesy of NDMC-UNL.

Figure 28.6

Northwoods Climate Change Response Framework Region (Figure Source: USDA Forest Service 2012159).

29. Research Needs

30. Sustained Assessment

APPENDICIES

Appendix 1: Process

Introduction

The National Climate Assessment (NCA) supports the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) and its Strategic Plan1 in multiple ways. The Strategic Plan focuses on climate science that informs societal objectives; the USGCRP program and the NCA help build an information base to support climaterelated decisions, including decisions to reduce human contributions to future climate change, and to adapt to changes that are occurring now and are projected in the future. In order to facilitate the integration of federal science investments with academic, public, and private sector climate change research, the Third NCA process focused on building strong relationships with stakeholders and experts outside the government. Early in the process, the National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee (NCADAC) and NCA Coordination Office developed a strategy to engage a broad range of the American public. Open participation, communication, and feedback have been integral to the preparation of this farreaching assessment.2

NCA Goal and Vision

As established by the NCADAC,3 the overarching goal of the NCA process is to enhance the ability of the United States to anticipate, mitigate, and adapt to changes in the global environment that are increasingly linked to human activities. The vision is to advance an inclusive, broad-based, and sustained process for developing, assessing, and communicating scientific knowledge of the impacts, risks, vulnerabilities, and response options associated with a changing global climate, and to support informed decision-making across the United States.

Legislative Foundations

The NCA is conducted under the auspices of the Global Change Research Act (GCRA) of 1990.4 The mandate for the U.S. Global Change Research Program as a whole is: “To provide for development and coordination of a comprehensive and integrated United States research program which will assist the Nation and the world to understand, assess, predict, and respond to human-induced and natural processes of global change.” Section 106 of the GCRA requires a report to the President and the Congress every four years that integrates, evaluates, and interprets the findings of the USGCRP; analyzes the effects of global change on the natural environment, agriculture, energy production and use, land and water resources, transportation, human health and welfare, human social systems, and biological diversity; and analyzes current trends in global change, both human-induced and natural, and projects major trends for the subsequent 25 to 100 years. Institutional Foundations

U.S. Global Change Research Program

USGCRP is a federation of the research components of 13 federal departments and agencies that supports the largest investment in climate and global change research in the world. USGCRP coordinates research activities across agencies and establishes joint funding priorities for research. USGCRP’s Strategic Plan, adopted in 2012, focuses on four major goals: advance science, inform decisions, conduct sustained assessments, and communicate and educate.1 The USGCRP agencies maintain and develop observations, monitoring, data management, analysis, and modeling capabilities that support the nation’s response to global change. The agencies that comprise the USGCRP are:

U.S. Department of Agriculture
U.S. Department of Commerce
U.S. Department of Defense
U.S. Department of Energy
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
U.S. Department of the Interior
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of Transportation
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
National Science Foundation
The Smithsonian Institution
U.S. Agency for International Development

The Subcommittee on Global Change Research (SGCR) oversees USGCRP’s activities. SGCR operates under the direction of the National Science and Technology Council’s (NSTC) Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Sustainability (CENRS) and is overseen by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). The SGCR coordinates interagency activities through the USGCRP National Coordination Office (NCO) and interagency working groups (IWGs).

National Climate Assessment (NCA) Components

The Interagency NCA Working Group (INCA) is comprised of representatives of the 13 government agencies listed above, plus additional agencies that have chosen to engage in supporting the NCA activities. INCA is responsible for coordinating, developing, and implementing interagency activities for the NCA, providing critical input to identify and support future NCA products, and developing interagency assessment capacity at the national and regional scales. Through INCA, the agencies have supported the development of the 30 chapters and the process to create the Third NCA report in a variety of ways.

The National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee (NCADAC) is a 60-member federal advisory committee established by the Department of Commerce on behalf of USGCRP. Forty-four non-federal NCADAC members represent the public, private, and academic sectors; 16 nonvoting ex-officio members represent the USGCRP agencies, the Department of Homeland Security, the SGCR, and the White House Council on Environmental Quality. The NCADAC charter charges the group with developing the Third NCA report and with providing recommendations about how to sustain an ongoing assessment process. The NCADAC selected the authors of the individual chapters and coordinated many of the assessment activities leading to this report. This included NCADAC meetings and more than 20 NCADAC subcommittee working groups on specific assessment needs (for example, regional and sectoral integration, engagement and communication, indicators, and international linkages). An Executive Secretariat of 12 individuals (a subset of the full committee) helps to coordinate the activities of the full committee.

The NCA Coordination Office is a part of the USGCRP National Coordination Office in Washington, D.C. The office is supported and funded through an interagency agreement with the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR). A team of UCAR staff and federal detailees (agency employees as-signed to the NCA Coordination Office) with expertise in planning, writing, and coordinating collaborative climate and environmental science and policy activities provides support for the development of the NCA report and sustained assessment.

The NCA Technical Support Unit (TSU) is funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and is located at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, NC. The TSU staff provides multiple kinds of support to the NCA, including climate science research, data management, web design, graphic design, technical and scientific writing and editing, publication production, and meeting support.

The National Climate Assessment Network (NCAnet) consists of more than 100 partner organizations that work with the NCA Coordination Office, NCADAC, report authors, and USGCRP agencies to engage producers and users of assessment information.5 Partners extend the NCA process and products to a broad audience through the development of assessmentrelated capacities and products, such as collecting and synthesizing data or other technical and scientific inputs into the NCA, disseminating NCA report findings to a wide range of users, engaging producers and users of assessment information, supporting NCA events, and producing communications materials related to the NCA and its report findings.

Figure 1

ClimateChangeImpacts2014Appendix1Figure1.png

Creating the Third NCA Report
Process Development

The NCA Engagement Strategy provides a vision for participation, outreach, communication, and education processes that help make the NCA process and products accessible and useful to a wide variety of audiences. The overall goal of engagement is to create a more effective and successful NCA – improving the processes and products of the effort so that they are credible, salient, and legitimate and building the capacity of participants to engage in the creation and use of NCA products in decision-making. 2 The strategy describes a number of mechanisms through which scientific and technical experts, decision-makers, and members of the general public might learn about and participate in the NCA process.

As part of the assessment process, a series of 14 process workshops helped establish consistent assumptions and methodologies. The resulting reports provide a consistent foundation for the technical input teams and chapter authors.

The NCA Coordination Office organized listening sessions, symposia, and sessions at professional society meetings during the development of the NCA report and sustained assessment process. These sessions provided updates on the NCA process, solicited broad input from subject matter experts, and collected feedback on the approach, topics, and methodologies under consideration.

Figure 2

This graphic illustrates the activities and products that were developed during the Third NCA report development process

ClimateChangeImpacts2014Appendix1Figure2.png

Technical Input Reports

A public Request for Information6 resulted in submission of more than 500 technical input documents authored by more than 800 individuals from academia, industry, and government, including 25 technical inputs7 sponsored by USGCRP agencies. These inputs included documents and data sets for review and consideration by the author teams that developed the NCA report. Technical input authors used a variety of mechanisms to engage stakeholders in the scoping, writing, and review of their documents, including workshops, web-based seminars, and public comment periods, among other methods.

In addition, the Technical Support Unit climate science team developed nine peer-reviewed regional climate scenario documents (one for each of the eight regions and one for the contiguous United States),8 providing a scientific consensus view of historical climate trends and projections under the IPCC Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES) A2 and B1 scenarios. 9 A separate interagency committee developed four peer-reviewed sea level rise scenarios.10 These scenarios were used by chapter authors as underpinnings for their impact assessments.

Third NCA Report Draft Development and Review

The NCADAC selected two to three convening lead authors and approximately six lead authors for each chapter, based on criteria that included expertise, experience, geography, and ensuring a variety of perspectives. They included authors from the public and private sectors, non-governmental organizations, and universities. Beginning in December 2011, each of the author teams met multiple times by phone, web, and in person to produce and refine drafts of their chapters. Traceable ccounts developed for each chapter provide transparent information about the authors’ decision processes, scientific certainty, and their level of confidence related to the key findings of their respective chapters. All authors served in a volunteer capacity.

After reviewing the draft Third NCA report, the NCADAC released it for public review and comment on January 14, 2013.11 Concurrently, the NCA underwent an independent expert review by the National Research Council, a part of the National Academies. A three-month review period allowed individuals and groups to examine the draft and provide comments aimed at improvement. The comments were provided using a secure online comment system to ensure that all comments were captured and appropriately addressed.

Regional town hall meetings, conducted by the NCA Coordination Office (one per region, plus coasts) and by NCAnet partners (three additional meetings), brought together authors, NCADAC members, and members of the public to discuss the NCA process and encourage participants to submit comments on the draft report. Report authors, NCADAC members, NCA staff, and NCAnet partners organized, spoke at, and participated in sessions at professional society meetings, web-based seminars, community meetings, and other events similarly aimed at providing an overview of the draft report and encouraging comments.12

By the time the public comment period closed on April 12, 2013, the online comment system received 4,161 comments from 644 government, non-profit, and commercial sector employees, educators, students, and the general public. Chapter author teams and the NCADAC amended the draft report in response to comments and prepared written responses to each comment received, and external review editors evaluated the adequacy of the responses to the comments on each chapter. As the result of a NCADAC consensus decision, the entire review process was “blind”, that is, NCADAC members and authors did not know the identity of commenters when responding to each comment. The public comments (including commenters’ identities) and the chapter authors’ responses to those comments were posted online with the final report. The National Research Council provided a second review of the report, and the NCADAC considered this review in developing a final draft for submission to federal agencies for review in fall 2013.

NCA Final Report

Any adjustments to the NCADAC’s Fall 2013 draft as a result of the government review process were made with the authors’approval, and the NCADAC approved the final form of the report in Spring 2014. Having been accepted and finalized following government review, the report is now provided as the assessment by the Federal Government of the United States, pursuant to the requirements of the Global Change Research Act. A number of products derived from the report support the outreach activities following the report release.

Engagement Activities

What follows is a sample of activities convened in support of the development of the Third NCA Report. A full list of activities is available online at http://assessment.globalchange.gov. NCADAC Meetings: All meetings were open the public. The presentations, documents, and minutes for each NCADAC meeting are available online at http://www.nesdis.noaa.gov/ NCADAC/Meetings.html.
• April 4-6, 2011, Washington, DC http://www.nesdis.noaa.gov/NCADAC/Ap...4_Meeting.html
• May 20, 2011, Teleconference
• August 16-18, 2011, Arlington, VA

• November 16-17, 2011, Boulder, CO
• April 10, 2012, Teleconference
• June 14-15, 2012, Washington, DC
• August 15, 2012, Teleconference
• September 27, 2012, Teleconference
• November 14-15, 2012, Silver Spring, MD
• January 11, 2013, Teleconference
• May 13, 2013, Teleconference
• July 9-10, 2013, Washington, DC
• November 18, 2013, Teleconference
• February 20-21, 2014, Washington, DC
• Spring 2014, Final approval of the Third NCA via teleconference

Process and Methodology Workshops

Reports from these workshops are available online at http://www.globalchange.gov/what-we-...eeting-reports.
• Midwest Regional Workshop, February 2010, Chicago, IL
• Strategic Planning Workshop, February 2010, Chicago, IL
• Scoping the Product(s) and Work Plan for the Third National Assessment, June 2010, Washington, DC [no report available]
• Communications Scoping Meeting, July 2010, Washington, DC [no report available]
• International Scoping Meeting, August 2010, Washington, DC [no report available]
• Knowledge Management Workshop, September 2010, Reston, VA
• Regional Sectoral Workshop, November 2010, Reston, VA
• Ecological Indicators Workshop, November 2010, Washington, DC
• Scenarios Workshop, December 2010, Arlington, VA
• Climate Change Modeling and Downscaling Workshop,
December, 2010, Arlington, VA
• Valuation Techniques and Metrics Workshop, January 2011, Arlington, VA
• Vulnerability Assessments Workshop, January 2011, Atlanta, GA
• Physical Climate Indicators Workshop, March 2011, Washington, DC
• Societal Indicators Workshop, April 2011, Washington, DC

Agency-Sponsored Technical Input Development Workshops

• Monitoring Changes in Extreme Storm Statistics: State of Knowledge, July 2011, Asheville, NC
• Forestry Sector Stakeholder Workshop, July 2011, Atlanta, GA
• Land Use and Land Cover Stakeholder Workshop, November 1011, Salt Lake City, UT
• Energy Supply and Use Workshop, November 2011, Washington, DC
• Energy, Water, Land Planning Meeting, November 2011, Washington, DC
• Urban Infrastructure and Vulnerabilities Workshop, November 2011, Washington, DC
• Trends and Causes of Observed Changes in Heat Waves, Cold Waves, Floods, and Drought, Nov. 2011, Asheville, NC
• Trends in Extreme Winds, Waves, and Extratropical Storms along the Coasts, January 2012, Asheville, NC
• Ecosystems, Biodiversity, and Ecosystem Services Workshop, January 2012, Palo Alto, CA
• Water Sector Technical Input Workshop, January 2012, Washington, DC
• Coastal Zone Stakeholders Meeting, January 2012, Charleston, SC
• Climate Change and Health Workshop - Southeast, February 2012, Charleston, SC
• Rural Communities Workshop, Feb. 2012, Charleston SC
• Climate Change and Health Workshop - Northwest, February 2012, Seattle, WA

Listening Sessions

• Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, April 2011, Seattle, WA
• American Water Resource Association Spring Specialty Conference, April 2011, Baltimore, MD
• International Symposium on Society and Resource Management, June 2011, Madison, WI
• Annual Soil and Water Conservation Society Conference, July 2011, Washington, DC
• Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting, August 2011, Austin, TX
• American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting, January 2012, New Orleans, LA

Regional Town Hall Meetings

• Hawai‘i & Pacific Islands Town Hall, December 2012, Honolulu, HI
• Southwest Regional Town Hall, January 2013, San Diego, CA
• Northeast Regional Town Hall, January 2013, Syracuse, NY
• Great Plains Regional Town Hall, February 2013, Lincoln, NE
• Alaska Regional Town Hall, February 2013, Anchorage, AK
• Midwest Regional Town Hall, February 2013, Ann Arbor, MI
• Southeast Regional Town Hall, February 2013, Tampa, FL
• Northwest Regional Town Hall, March 2013, Portland, OR
• Oceans and Coasts Town Hall, April 2013, Washington, DC

NCAnet Partners Activities

The NCAnet Partners meet monthly (since January 2012) in Washington, DC; teleconference and web conference capabilities allow participants to join remotely. NCAnet Partners hosted more than 25 events around the country for the public and stakeholders throughout the NCA process. A list of partners, minutes from meetings, and a list of events and resulting products is available at http://ncanet.usgcrp.gov.

References

1. USGCRP, 2012: The National Global Change Research Plan 2012–2021: A Strategic Plan for the U.S. Global Change Research Program. 132 pp., The U.S. Global Change Research Program, Washington, D.C. [Available online at http://downloads.globalchange.gov/st...-plan-2012.pdf ]

2. NCADAC, 2011: National Climate Assessment (NCA) Engagement Strategy, 27 pp., National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee, Washington, DC. [Available online at http://www.globalchange.gov/images/N...gy_5-20-11.pdf ]

3. ——, 2011: National Climate Assessment Strategy – Summary, 3 pp., National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee, Washington, DC. [Available online at http://www.globalchange.gov/images/N...gy_5-20-11.pdf ]

4. GCRA, 1990: Global Change Research Act (Public Law 101-606, 104 Stat. 3096-3104), signed on November 16, 1990. [Available online at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/STATUTE...104-Pg3096.pdf ]

5. USGCRP: NCAnet: Building a network of networks to support the National Climate Assessment. [Available online at http://ncanet.usgcrp.gov/ ]

6. DOC, 2011: Technical Inputs and Assessment Capacity on Topics Related to 2013 U.S. National Climate Assessment. Wednesday, July 13, 2011, 76, 41217-41219. [Available online at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011...2011-17379.htm ]

7. USGCRP, cited 2013: National Climate Assessment: Available Technical Inputs. [Available online at http://www.globalchange.gov/what-we-...echnicalinputs ]

8. ——, cited 2013: Scenarios for Climate Assessment and Adaptation: Climate. [Available online at http://scenarios.globalchange.gov/scenarios/climate ]

9. IPCC, 2000: Special Report on Emissions Scenarios. A Special Report of Working Group III of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, 570 pp. [Available online at http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/sres/...ndex.php?idp=0 ]

10. USGCRP, cited 2013: Scenarios for Climate Assessment and Adaptation: Sea Level. [Available online at http://scenarios.globalchange.gov/scenarios/sea-level ]

11. NCADAC: Federal Advisory Committee Draft Climate Assessment. National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee. [Available online at http://ncadac.globalchange.gov ]

12. USGCRP: National Climate Assessment: Opportunities for Engagement. [Available online at http://www.globalchange.gov/what-we-...nca-activities ]

Appendix 2: Information Quality

Summary of Information Quality Assurance Process for the Third National Climate Assessment Report

Throughout the process of drafting this National Climate Assessment, guidance was provided to contributors, authors, federal advisory committee members, and staff regarding the requirements of the Information Quality Act (IQA).

In September 2011, Preliminary Guidance on Information Quality Assurance in Preparing Technical Input for the National Climate Assessment (NCA)1 was made available on the U.S. Global Change Research Program’s (USGCRP) website along with other information for those interested in submitting technical input to the NCA in response to the Request for Information posted in the Federal Register on July 13, 2011.2 This frequently asked questions-style document provided preliminary guidance regarding information quality for use by teams who submitted Expressions of Interest and Technical Inputs for use in the NCA.

In November 2011, the National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee (NCADAC) approved the General Principles Used in the Development of Guidance for Assuring Information Quality in the National Climate Assessment.3 The Principles were used by the NCADAC to draft guidance for all Convening Lead Authors (CLAs), Lead Authors, Review Editors, NCADAC, and Government Agencies and Reviewers to assure that information used in the NCA production was of appropriate quality relative to its intended use.

Two tools were developed – a set of questions and a flowchart – to assist the authors and reviewers in determining whether and how to use potential source material in the NCA within the requirements of the IQA. These tools (collectively, Guidance on Information Quality Assurance to Chapter Authors of the National Climate Assessment: Question Tools) were approved by the NCADAC and introduced to the CLAs at workshops. They have been available on the USGCRP website since February 2012.4 The Guidance requires consideration of the following criteria for each source of information used in the Third NCA Report:

  • Utility: Is the particular source important to the topic of your chapter?
  • Transparency and traceability: Is the source material identifiable and publicly available?
  • Objectivity: Why and how was the source material created? Is it accurate and unbiased?
  • Information integrity and security: Will the source material remain reasonably protected and intact over time?
References

1. USGCRP, 2011: Frequently Asked Questions – Sept 2011; Preliminary Guidance on Information Quality Assurance in Preparing Technical Input for the National Climate Assessment, 5 pp., U.S. Global Change Research Program. [Available online at http://globalchange.gov/images/NCA/n...urance-faq.pdf ]

2. DOC, 2011: Technical Inputs and Assessment Capacity on Topics Related to 2013 U.S. National Climate Assessment. Wednesday, July 13, 2011, 76, 41217-41219. [Available online at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011...2011-17379.htm ]

3. USGCRP, 2011: General Principles; Used in the Development of Guidance for Assuring Information Quality in the National Climate Assessment, 2 pp., U.S. Global Change Research Program. [Available online at http://www.globalchange.gov/images/N...2011-11-16.pdf ]

4. USGCRP, 2012: Guidance on Information Quality Assurance to Chapter Authors of the National Climate Assessment: Question Tools, 5 pp., U.S. Global Change Research Program. [Available online at http://downloads.usgcrp.gov/NCA/Ques...---2-21-12.pdf ]

Appendix 3: Climate Science

Cover Page
Convening Lead Authors

John Walsh, University of Alaska Fairbanks
Donald Wuebbles, University of Illinois

Lead Authors

Katharine Hayhoe, Texas Tech University
James Kossin, NOAA National Climatic Data Center
Kenneth Kunkel, CICS-NC, North Carolina State Univ., NOAA National Climatic Data Center
Graeme Stephens, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Peter Thorne, Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center
Russell Vose, NOAA National Climatic Data Center
Michael Wehner, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Josh Willis, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Contributing Authors

David Anderson, NOAA National Climatic Data Center
Viatcheslav Kharin, Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis, Environment Canada
Thomas Knutson, NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory
Felix Landerer, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Tim Lenton, Exeter University
John Kennedy, UK Meteorological Office
Richard Somerville, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Univ. of California, San Diego

Recommended Citation for Chapter

Walsh, J., D. Wuebbles, K. Hayhoe, J. Kossin, K. Kunkel, G. Stephens, P. Thorne, R. Vose, M. Wehner, J. Willis, D. Anderson, V. Kharin, T. Knutson, F. Landerer, T. Lenton, J. Kennedy, and R. Somerville, 2014: Appendix 3: Climate Science Supplement. Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment, J. M. Melillo, Terese (T.C.) Richmond, and G. W. Yohe, Eds., U.S. Global Change Research Program, 735-789. doi:10.7930/J0KS6PHH.

Supplemental Messages

1. Although climate changes in the past have been caused by natural factors, human activities are now the dominant agents of change. Human activities are affecting climate through increasing atmospheric levels of heat-trapping gases and other substances, including particles.

2. Global trends in temperature and many other climate variables provide consistent evidence of warming planet. These trends are based on a wide range of observations, analyzed by many independent research groups around the world.

3. Natural variability, including El Niño events and other recurring patterns of ocean-atmosphere interactions, influences global and regional temperature and precipitation over timescales ranging from months up to a decade or more.

4. Human-induced increases in atmospheric levels of heat-trapping gases are the main cause of observed climate change over the past 50 years. The “fingerprints” of human-induced change also have been identified in many other aspects of the climate system, including changes in ocean heat content, precipitation, atmospheric moisture, and Arctic sea ice.

5. Past emissions of heat-trapping gases have already committed the world to a certain amount of future climate change. How much more the climate will change depends on future emissions and the sensitivity of the climate system to those emissions.

6. Different kinds of physical and statistical models are used to study aspects of past climate and develop projections of future change. No model is perfect, but many of them provide useful information. By combining and averaging multiple models, many clear trends emerge.

7. Scientific understanding of observed temperature changes in the United States has greatly improved, confirming that the U.S. is warming due to heat-trapping gas emissions, consistent with the climate change observed globally.

8. Many other indicators of rising temperatures have been observed in the United States. These include reduced lake ice, glacier retreat, earlier melting of snowpack, reduced lake levels, and a longer growing season. These and other indicators are expected to continue to reflect higher temperatures.

9. Trends in some types of extreme weather events have been observed in recent decades, consistent with rising temperatures. These include increases in heavy precipitation nationwide, especially in the Midwest and Northeast; heat waves, especially in the West; and the intensity of Atlantic hurricanes. These trends are expected to continue. Research on climate change’s effects on other types of extreme events continues.

10. Drought and fire risk are increasing in many regions as temperatures and evaporation rates rise. The greater the future warming, the more these risks will increase, potentially affecting the entire United States.

11. Summer Arctic sea ice extent, volume, and thickness have declined rapidly, especially north of Alaska. Permafrost temperatures are rising and the overall amount of permafrost is shrinking. Melting of land- and sea-based ice is expected to continue with further warming.

12. Sea level is already rising at the global scale and at individual locations along the U.S. coast. Future sea level rise depends on the amount of warming and ice melt around the world as well as local processes like changes in ocean currents and local land subsidence or uplift.

This appendix provides further information and discussion on climate science beyond that presented in Ch. 2: Our Changing Climate. Like the chapter, the appendix focuses on the observations, model simulations, and other analyses that explain what is happening to climate at the national and global scales, why these changes are occurring, and how climate is projected to change throughout this century. In the appendix, however, more information is provided on attribution, spatial and temporal detail, and physical mechanisms than could be covered within the length constraints of the main chapter.

As noted in the main chapter, changes in climate, and the nature and causes of these changes, have been comprehensively discussed in a number of other reports, including the 2009 assessment: Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States1 and the global assessments produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. This appendix provides an updated discussion of global change in the first few supplemental messages, followed by messages focusing on the changes having the greatest impacts (and potential impacts) on the United States. The projections described in this appendix are based, to the extent possible, on the CMIP5 model simulations. However, given the timing of this report relative to the evolution of the CMIP5 archive, some projections are necessarily based on CMIP3 simulations. (See Supplemental Message 5 for more on these simulations and related future scenarios).

Supplemental Message 1

Although climate changes in the past have been caused by natural factors, human activities are now the dominant agents of change. Human activities are affecting climate through increasing atmospheric levels of heat-trapping gases and other substances, including particles.

The Earth’s climate has long been known to change in response to natural external forcings. These include variations in the energy received from the sun, volcanic eruptions, and changes in the Earth’s orbit, which affects the distribution of sunlight across the world. The Earth’s climate is also affected by factors that are internal to the climate system, which are the result of complex interactions between the atmosphere, ocean, land surface, and living things (see Supplemental Message 3). These internal factors include natural modes of climate system variability, such as the El Niño/Southern Oscillation.

Natural changes in external forcings and internal factors have been responsible for past climate changes. At the global scale, over multiple decades, the impact of external forcings on temperature far exceeds that of internal variability (which is less than 0.5°F).2 At the regional scale, and over shorter time periods, internal variability can be responsible for much larger changes in temperature and other aspects of climate. Today, however, the picture is very different. Although natural factors still affect climate, human activities are now the primary cause of the current warming: specifically, human activities that increase atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other heat-trapping gases and various particles that, depending on the type of particle, can have either a heating or cooling influence on the atmosphere.

The greenhouse effect is key to understanding how human activities affect the Earth’s climate. As the sun shines on the Earth, the Earth heats up. The Earth then re-radiates this heat back to space. Some gases, including water vapor (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), ozone (O3), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O), absorb some of the heat given off by the Earth’s surface and lower atmosphere. These heat-trapping gases then radiate energy back toward the surface, effectively trapping some of the heat inside the climate system. This greenhouse effect is a natural process, first recognized in 1824 by the French mathematician and physicist Joseph Fourier3 and confirmed by British scientist John Tyndall in a series of experiments starting in 1859.4 Without this natural greenhouse effect (but assuming the same albedo, or reflectivity, as today), the average surface temperature of the Earth would be about 60°F colder.

Today, however, the natural greenhouse effect is being artificially intensified by human activities. Burning fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas), clearing forests, and other human activities produce heat-trapping gases. These gases accumulate in the atmosphere, as natural removal processes are unable to keep pace with increasing emissions. Increasing atmospheric levels of CO2, CH4, and N2O (and other gases and some types of particles like soot) from human activities increase the amount of heat trapped inside the Earth system. This human-caused intensification of the greenhouse effect is the primary cause of observed warming in recent decades.

Carbon dioxide has been building up in the Earth’s atmosphere since the beginning of the industrial era in the mid-1700s. Emissions and atmospheric levels, or concentrations, of other important heat-trapping gases – including methane, nitrous oxide, and halocarbons – have also increased because of human activities. While the atmospheric concentrations of these gases are relatively small compared to those of molecular oxygen or nitrogen, their ability to trap heat is extremely strong. The human-induced increase in atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases is the main reason the planet has warmed over the past 50 years and has been an important factor in climate change over the past 150 years or more.

Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are currently increasing at a rate of 0.5% per year. Atmospheric levels measured at Mauna Loa in Hawai‘i and at other sites around the world reached 400 parts per million in 2013, higher than the Earth has experienced in over a million years. Globally, over the past several decades, about 78% of carbon dioxide emissions has come from burning fossil fuels, 20% from deforestation and other agricultural practices, and 2% from cement production. Some of the carbon dioxide emitted to the atmosphere is absorbed by the oceans, and some is absorbed by vegetation.

About 45% of the carbon dioxide emitted by human activities in the last 50 years is now stored in the oceans and vegetation. The remainder has built up in the atmosphere, where carbon dioxide levels have increased by about 40% relative to preindustrial levels.

Methane levels in the atmosphere have increased due to human activities, including agriculture, with livestock producing methane in their digestive tracts, and rice farming producing it via bacteria that live in the flooded fields; mining coal, extraction and transport of natural gas, and other fossil fuel-related activities; and waste disposal including sewage and decomposing garbage in landfills. On average, about 55% to 65% of the emissions of atmospheric methane now come from human activities. 14,15 Atmospheric concentrations of methane leveled off from 1999-2006 due to temporary decreases in both human and natural sources,14,15 but have been increasing again since then. Since preindustrial times, methane levels have increased by 250% to their current levels of 1.85 ppm.

Other greenhouse gases produced by human activities include nitrous oxide, halocarbons, and ozone.

Nitrous oxide levels are increasing, primarily as a result of fertilizer use and fossil fuel burning. The concentration of nitrous oxide has increased by about 20% relative to pre-industrial times.

Halocarbons are manufactured chemicals produced to serve specific purposes, from aerosol spray propellants to refrigerant coolants. One type of halocarbon, long-lived chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), was used extensively in refrigeration, air conditioning, and for various manufacturing purposes. However, in addition to being powerful heat-trapping gases, they are also responsible for depleting stratospheric ozone. Atmospheric levels of CFCs are now decreasing due to actions taken by countries under the Montreal Protocol, an international agreement designed to protect the ozone layer. As emissions and atmospheric levels of halocarbons continue to decrease, their effect on climate will also shrink. However, some of the replacement compounds are hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are potent heattrapping gases, and their concentrations are increasing.

Over 90% of the ozone in the atmosphere is in the stratosphere, where it protects the Earth from harmful levels of ultraviolet radiation from the sun. In the lower atmosphere, however, ozone is an air pollutant and also an important heat-trapping gas. Upper-atmosphere ozone levels have decreased because of human emissions of CFCs and other halocarbons. However, lower-atmosphere ozone levels have increased because of human activities, including transportation and manufacturing. These produce what are known as ozone precursors: air pollutants that react with sunlight and other chemicals to produce ozone. Since the late 1800s, average levels of ozone in the lower atmosphere have increased by more than 30%.16 Much higher increases have been observed in areas with high levels of air pollution, and smaller increases in remote locations where the air has remained relatively clean.

Human activities can also produce tiny atmospheric particles, including dust and soot. For example, coal burning produces sulfur gases that form particles in the atmosphere. These sulfur-containing particles reflect incoming sunlight away from the Earth, exerting a cooling influence on Earth’s surface.

Another type of particle, composed mainly of soot, or black carbon, absorbs incoming sunlight and traps heat in the atmosphere, warming the Earth.

In addition to their direct effects, these particles can affect climate indirectly by changing the properties of clouds. Some encourage cloud formation because they are ideal surfaces on which water vapor can condense to form cloud droplets. Some can also increase the number, but decrease the average size of cloud droplets when there is not enough water vapor compared to the number of particles available, thus creating brighter clouds that reflect energy from the sun away from the Earth, resulting in an overall cooling effect. Particles that absorb energy encourage cloud droplets to evaporate by warming the atmosphere. Depending on their type, increasing amounts of particles can either offset or increase the warming caused by increasing levels of greenhouse gases. At the scale of the planet, the net effect of these particles is to offset between 20% and 35% of the warming caused by heat-trapping gases.

The effects of all of these greenhouse gases and particles on the Earth’s climate depend in part on how long they remain in the atmosphere. Human-induced emissions of carbon dioxide have already altered atmospheric levels in ways that will persist for thousands of years. About one-third of the carbon dioxide emitted in any given year remains in the atmosphere 100 years later. However, the impact of past human emissions of carbon dioxide on the global carbon cycle will endure for tens of thousands of years. Methane lasts for approximately a decade before it is removed through chemical reactions. Particles, on the other hand, remain in the atmosphere for only a few days to several weeks. This means that the effects of any human actions to reduce particle emissions can show results nearly immediately. It may take decades, however, before the results of human actions to reduce long-lived greenhouse gas emissions can be observed. Some recent studies17 examine various means for reducing near-term changes in climate, for example, by reducing emissions of short-lived gases like methane and particles like black carbon (soot). These approaches are being explored as ways to reduce the rate of short-term warming while more comprehensive approaches to reducing carbon dioxide emissions (and hence the rate of long-term warming) are being implemented.

In addition to emissions of greenhouse gases, air pollutants, and particles, human activities have also affected climate by changing the land surface. These changes include cutting and burning forests, replacing natural vegetation with agriculture or cities, and large-scale irrigation. These transformations of the land surface can alter how much heat is reflected or absorbed by the surface, causing local and even regional warming or cooling. Globally, the net effect of these changes has probably been a slight cooling influence over the past 100 years.

Considering all known natural and human drivers of climate since 1750, a strong net warming from long-lived greenhouse gases produced by human activities dominates the recent climate