The sea ice surrounding Antarctica has increased in extent and concentration from the late 1970s, when satellite-based measurements began, until 2015. Although this increasing trend is modest, it is surprising given the overall warming of the global climate and the region. Indeed, climate models, which incorporate our best understanding of the processes affecting the region, generally simulate a decrease in sea ice. Moreover, sea ice in the Arctic has exhibited pronounced declines over the same period, consistent with global climate model simulations. For these reasons, the behavior of Antarctic sea ice has presented a conundrum for global climate change science. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine held a workshop in January 2016 to bring together scientists with different sets of expertise and perspectives to further explore potential mechanisms driving the evolution of recent Antarctic sea ice variability and to discuss ways to advance understanding of Antarctic sea ice and its relationship to the broader ocean-climate system. This publication summarizes the presentations and discussions from the workshop.
Access a range of climate-related reports issued by government agencies and scientific organizations. Browse the reports listed below, or filter by scope, content, or focus in the boxes above. To expand your results, click the Clear Filters link.
This user-friendly summary is based on the 2015 report “City of Long Beach Climate Resiliency Assessment Report" and “Appendices” prepared by the Aquarium of the Pacific at the request of Mayor Robert Garcia. The report includes clear infographics that describe current and projected conditions in the city. It also describe what the city is currently doing and what else the city and its residents can do.
A private group, the Climate Leadership Council, describes "How a new climate strategy can strengthen our economy, reduce regulation, help working-class Americans, shrink government & promote national security." The group of conservative elder statesmen that authored the statement call it the first time leading Republicans have put forth a concrete, market-based climate solution. Their recommendations are built on four pillars: (1) a gradually increasing carbon tax, (2) carbon dividends for all Americans, (3) border carbon adjustments, and (4) significant regulatory rollback.
New U.S. regional sea level scenarios developed by NOAA and its partners will give coastal communities better, more localized data to help them plan for and adapt to the risk of rising sea levels to their economies and infrastructure.
This report summarizes findings from a workshop held in El Paso, Texas, on July 13, 2016. The El Paso-Juárez-Las Cruces region is home to approximately 2.4 million people, most of whom are living in or near the urban centers of Ciudad Juárez (Chihuahua), El Paso, and Las Cruces (New Mexico). These cities share characteristics, such as a high proportion of residents of Hispanic origin, median income below the U.S. national average, and a range of climate-related environmental issues that include drought, flooding, air pollution, dust storms, and frequent occurrences of extremely high temperatures during the late spring and early summer. With hotter temperatures and more frequent and persistent heat waves projected for the El Paso-Juárez-Las Cruces region, it is critical to develop more robust systems of institutions, social learning, and partnerships to understand risks and strengthen public health resilience.
These state summaries were produced to meet a demand for state-level information in the wake of the Third U.S. National Climate Assessment, released in 2014. The summaries cover assessment topics directly related to NOAA’s mission, specifically historical climate variations and trends, future climate model projections of climate conditions during the 21st century, and past and future conditions of sea level and coastal flooding. Click on each state to see key messages, figures, and and a summary of climate impacts in your state.
This report is part of a series of six case studies that explore lessons that are being learned by climate collaboratives from around the United States that are bringing together local governments and other stakeholders at the regional level to both reduce carbon pollution (mitigation) and prepare for the impacts of climate change (adaptation). Each case study explores the history and development structure and decision-making methods, funding sources, roles, and initiatives of each of these climate collaboratives. A synthesis report also explores lessons that can be learned by comparing the efforts of each collaborative on climate policy in their regions. These case studies were supported by a grant from the Kresge Foundation. In developing these case studies, the Georgetown Climate Center collaborated with the Alliance of Regional Collaboratives for Climate Adaptation (ARCCA).
NOAA Fisheries and its partners have developed Regional Action Plans (RAPs) to guide implementation of the NOAA Fisheries Climate Science Strategy in five regions: Northeast, Southeast, Gulf of Mexico, Alaska, Western Region, and Pacific Islands. The goal of each RAP is to provide decision makers with the information they need to reduce impacts and increase resilience of valuable marine resources and the people who depend on them. The RAPs identify priority needs and specific actions NOAA Fisheries and partners will take over the next five years to implement the seven objectives of the NOAA Fisheries Climate Science Strategy.
The National Health Security Strategy of the United States calls on people and their communities to prepare for the threats to health that come with disasters and emergencies, to be ready to protect themselves, and to remain resilient in the face of such threats. The strategy defines resilience as “the sustained ability of communities to withstand, adapt to, and recover from adversity.” How can communities best incorporate resilience into their approaches and practices, especially in light of the potential consequences of climate change? This resource—prepared especially for community-based groups—provides information from the fields of psychology and other social sciences to help communities better understand and prepare for the adverse effects of climate change
Climate Ready Boston is an ongoing initiative to help the people and city of Boston to plan for the future impacts of climate change and develop resilient solutions. Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh describes the challenge and the city's commitment in the report's introduction: "Climate change poses a greater threat to some Bostonians. The very young and very old, people who do not speak English, and those with low incomes or medical illnesses or disabilities are all at elevated risk. By ensuring that our solutions are built together with those communities and in response to their needs, climate action will help us build a more equitable city. Furthermore, because climate change knows no borders, we will work with neighboring municipalities to address the regional impacts we face together." The Climate Ready Boston website offers proposed solutions and information specific to a range of locales. It also offers a presentation and report on Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Projections for Boston.
This report sets out the broad scope of cultural resources in relation to climate change and identifies major directions of action in cultural resources and climate change for the National Park Service (NPS). These directions in turn will help shape and support collaboration with cultural resource and climate change partners both nationally and internationally. The strategy connects cultural resources to the four areas of NPS climate change response identified in the agency's Climate Change Response Strategy released in 2010: science, adaptation, mitigation, and communication. Approaches and methods from other NPS guidance documents, tools and supporting information, and many park- and partner-based case studies are incorporated throughout.
This report documents the efforts of seven partnerships to build resilience of natural resources in the United States. These partnerships demonstrate the benefits of using existing collaborative, landscape-scale conservation approaches to address climate change and other resource management challenges. Their goal is to build and maintain an ecologically connected network of terrestrial, coastal, and marine conservation areas that are likely to be resilient to climate change, demonstrating some ability to support a broad range of fish, wildlife, and plants under changing conditions.
This report examines efforts to develop and implement climate-adaptation projects in 17 cities across the United States. It also presents interviews and insights from Thought Leaders in the field of climate adaptation.
The study analyzed efforts underway, motivations for action, and how communities went from planning to implementation. The report provides insights into the practice of climate change adaptation, including suggestions for supporting community-based champions who are working to reduce their communities’ vulnerability to climate change impacts.
This report documents that the average temperature in 2015 was over one degree higher than pre-industrial times and that the period 2011–2015 was the warmest five-year period on record, consistent with established warming trends. The report further documents that in 2015 another milestone was reached, with globally averaged CO2 levels of 400 parts per million (ppm). The year 2016 is on track to be even warmer and will be the first year in which CO2 at the Mauna Loa Observatory remains above 400 ppm all year, and for many generations to come.
The probability of extreme climate events since 2011, especially those involving extreme high temperatures, has been substantially increased by climate change, often by a factor of 10 or more. The single most significant event in humanitarian terms, with over 250,000 lives lost, was the 2011–2012 famine in the Horn of Africa, where drought was a major factor.
This guide describes how Climate Central's Surging Seas web tool can be used to support activities that receive points within the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Community Rating System (CRS) program. It is informed by conversations with local CRS coordinators and implementers, and with FEMA CRS representatives. The guide provides step-by-step instructions on how to access and obtain information and downloads from the Surging Seas tool that could be utilized within specific CRS activities in FEMA’s Coordinator’s Manual (FIA-15/2013).
Since 2010, United Nations Environment (UNEP) has produced annual Emissions Gap Reports based on requests by countries for an independent scientific assessment of how actions and pledges by countries affect the global greenhouse gas emissions trend, and how this compares to emissions trajectories consistent with the long-term goal of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The difference has become known as the emissions gap. In addition to estimating the emissions gap, the reports focus on key options for achieving the emissions reductions necessary to bridge the gap, and provide an assessment of how these can be accelerated and scaled up. Countries have found these emissions gap assessments useful in informing the political process. This seventh Emissions Gap Report is based on requests by countries for an update that focuses on some of the key issues emerging with the adoption of the Paris Agreement and its specific long-term temperature goal.
Climate Ready DC is the District’s strategy to make the city more resilient to future climate change. It is based on the best available climate science and was developed through consultation with leading experts within and outside of the District government.
This report promotes a relatively simple solution to the problem of increasing heat and air pollution in cities: plant more trees. Trees cool the air by casting shade and releasing water vapor, and their leaves can filter out fine particulate matter (PM)—one of the most dangerous forms of air pollution, generated from burning biomass and fossil fuels.
The report documents analysis that tree planting efforts could improve the health of millions of people, and that trees are as cost-effective as many other common solutions. The report also shows that most of the cooling and filtering effects created by trees are fairly localized, so densely populated cities—as well as those with higher overall pollution levels—tend to see the highest overall return on investment (ROI) from tree plantings.
This handbook summarizes the current state of National Park Service (NPS) climate adaptation and key approaches currently in practice or considered for climate change adaptation in coastal areas in order to guide adaptation planning in coastal parks. The chapters focus on policy, planning, cultural resources, natural resources, facility management, and communication/education. The handbook highlights processes, tools, and examples that are applicable to many types of NPS plans and decisions. One chapter includes a case study of Hurricane Sandy response and recovery strategies, including changes to infrastructure. Another chapter features practical coastal infrastructure information, including cost per unit length of constructed features (including seawalls, beach nourishment, and nature-based features). The level of detail varies by topic depending on the state of research and practice in that field.
This report provides educators and advisors information, perspective, and resources to help farmers in the Midwest and Northeast prepare for, cope with, and recover from the adverse impacts of a changing climate. Developed collaboratively by scientists, conservationists, and educators, the report translates the best available climate science into usable resources for making climate-informed decisions. Flexible and adaptive management are key to reduce risk, increase resilience to potential disruptions, and even take advantage of opportunities presented by climate change. The Adaptation Workbook provides a structured process to consider potential climate change impacts, management challenges and opportunities, and climate adaptation responses.
This report describes key accomplishments and highlights opportunities for federal agencies and stakeholders to work together on a shared climate resilience agenda. The report builds on lessons learned and outlines three major areas where opportunities exist for innovation, economic growth, and collaboration: through application of science-based data and tools, support for community resilience initiatives, and integration of climate resilience into federal agency missions, operations, and culture.
Climate change affects human health by making extreme heat more common, more severe, and last longer. That is expected to continue into the future. This handbook explains the connection between climate change and extreme heat events, and outlines actions citizens can take to protect their health during extreme heat. This resource builds on the 2006 Excessive Heat Events Guidebook from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and includes up-to-date climate information from recent climate assessment reports, such as the 2014 Third National Climate Assessment, the 2016 Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States, and EPA’s 2016 Climate Change Indicators in the United States.
This Web toolkit raises airport operator awareness about vulnerabilities caused by significant weather events. The toolkit helps airports develop more robust contingency and recovery plans, in addition to their airport emergency plans. The toolkit focuses on events that are “rare but plausible”; that is, events that may have happened in the distant past, or in adjacent geographic areas, but are not common event types at the airport itself, and therefore may not be in the forefront of the airport managers’ minds.
Blacksburg's Climate Action Plan represents both a short- and long-term set of strategies to pursue to reach the community’s energy and climate action goals. The long-range goal, established by Town Council in 2007, is to reduce community-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. Blacksburg’s Climate Action Plan is divided into six chapters covering the major sectors of the community responsible for Blacksburg’s greenhouse gas emissions. Citizens' priority strategies are reflected in each of the sector chapters in three ways: a set of “Individual Actions” that citizens can choose to adopt in their own lives, shorter time-horizon “Let’s Get Started” strategies, and longer-term “Looking Ahead” strategies.
This two-part report is the result of workshops convened in 2015 and 2016. The Part 1 report documents participants' efforts to develop frames of reference and rationale for creation of an offshore finfish aquaculture industry in southern California.
This two-part report is the result of workshops convened in 2015 and 2016. The Part 2 reports documents the second workshop, which brought federal and state coastal managers together with statutory authorities for review and permitting of marine aquaculture in federal waters off the coast of southern California with scientists and other stakeholders.
As climate changes and ocean temperatures rise, the abundance, distribution, and life cycles of fish in federally managed ocean fisheries may change too. Federal agencies managing ocean fisheries have limited information to determine exactly how climate change might harm specific fish populations, and may not always understand the potential effects. To better manage climate-related risks, the report recommends (1) the development of guidance on how to incorporate climate information into the fisheries management process, and (2) finalizing Regional Action Plans for implementing the NOAA Fisheries Climate Science Strategy that incorporate performance measures for tracking achievement of the Strategy’s Objectives.
This annual report details the progress made in reducing costs and ramping up deployments of clean energy technologies. In particular, the report highlights the progress of five clean energy technologies: wind turbines, solar technologies for both utility-scale and distributed photovoltaic (PV), electric vehicles, and light-emitting diodes (LEDs). The report also highlights emerging technologies that the Department of Energy believes have the potential to transform our energy sector over the next five to ten years. These include fuel-efficient technologies for heavy trucks, smart building controls, and vehicle lightweighting. Along with updates in these areas, the report also highlights the accomplishments and potential of fuel cells, industrial energy management, grid-scale batteries, and big area additive manufacturing.
The cold temperatures of Alaska have led to the storage of vast quantities of soil and vegetation carbon, yet high-latitude ecosystems are potentially more vulnerable to higher temperature changes than ecosystems in the temperate zone. In particular, these increases in temperature may expose the substantial stores of carbon in the region to loss from more wildfire and permafrost thaw, which could turn the ecosystems of Alaska into a net carbon source. The assessment of Alaska ecosystem carbon stocks and fluxes, as well as methane fluxes, as reported here was conducted to better understand the baseline and projected carbon distributions and potential responses to a rapidly changing environment.
This report features observed trend data on 37 climate indicators, including U.S and global temperatures, ocean acidity, sea level, river flooding, droughts, and wildfires. It documents rising temperatures, shifting patterns of snow and rainfall, and increasing numbers of extreme climate events, such as heavy rainstorms and record high temperatures. Many of these observed changes are linked to the rising levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, caused by human activities.
This document provides final guidance for federal agencies on how to consider the impacts of their actions on global climate change in their National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) reviews, providing a framework for agencies to consider both the effects of a proposed action on climate change, as indicated by its estimated greenhouse gas emissions, and the effects of climate change on a proposed action. The memorandum applies to all types of proposed federal agency actions that are subject to NEPA analysis and guides agencies on how to address the greenhouse gas emissions from federal actions and the effects of climate change on their proposed actions within the existing NEPA regulatory framework.
Climate change impacts ecosystems in many ways, from effects on species to phenology to wildfire dynamics. Assessing the potential vulnerability of ecosystems to future changes in climate is an important first step in prioritizing and planning for conservation. Although assessments of climate change vulnerability commonly are done for species, fewer have been done for ecosystems. To aid regional conservation planning efforts, this report assesses climate change vulnerability for ecosystems in the Southeastern United States and Caribbean.
This guide provides a step-by-step approach for incorporating climate change information into new or existing conservation plans in coastal environments. The guide’s six steps draw from existing strategic conservation planning frameworks, but focus on climate considerations and key resources specifically relevant to the coastal environment, including coastal watersheds.
Communities and nations of the 21st century face a great challenge: to protect people from the harm caused by an increasingly volatile climate. The damaging impacts of climate change will grow as the climate changes and adaptation fails to keep pace, unless societies take steps to increase their resilience through aggressive action on both climate mitigation and adaptation.
This report focuses on adaptation, where choosing among possible actions is often not straightforward or intuitive, and highlights 15 principles for decision makers to use to prioritize investments in climate change adaptation.
An analysis of 45 years of U.S. Forest Service records from the western U.S. show that the number of large fires on Forest Service land is increasing dramatically. The area burned by these fires is also growing at an alarming rate.
This draft climate science action plan for the U.S. Northeast was released for public comment in May 2016. It outlines a strategy and specific actions for increasing understanding of, preparing for, and responding to climate change effects on the region’s ocean species—including marine and anadromous fish, invertebrates, marine mammals, sea turtles, and seabirds—and the people that depend on them. The comment period for this draft ended on July 29, 2016; the report will be updated and published when finalized.