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.
During late 2016, the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS), the National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC), the Midwestern Regional Climate Center (MRCC), and other regional partners convened four stakeholder meetings in the Midwest Drought Early Warning System (DEWS). Each of these meetings included a historical drought overview and climate outlook for the region, discussion of critical drought- related needs and challenges, exploration of available tools, local drought planning and management approaches, and strategy development to improve drought early warning and resiliency in the Midwest.
Each year the Global Risks Report works with experts and decision makers across the world to identify and analyze the most pressing risks that we face. As the pace of change accelerates, and as risk interconnections deepen, this year’s report highlights the growing strain we are placing on many of the global systems we rely on. The top risks listed in this year's report, which reflect the concerns of global industry leaders, include extreme weather events, natural disasters, and failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation—ranked first, second, and fifth in likelihood and second, third, and fourth in impact, respectively.
This BAMS special report presents assessments of how human-caused climate change may have affected the strength and likelihood of individual extreme events. This sixth edition of explaining extreme events of the previous year (2016) from a climate perspective is the first of these reports to find that some extreme events were not possible in a pre-industrial climate.
The Arctic shows no sign of returning to reliably frozen region of recent past decades. Despite relatively cool summer temperatures, observations in 2017 continue to indicate that the Arctic environmental system has reached a "new normal," characterized by long-term losses in the extent and thickness of the sea ice cover, the extent and duration of the winter snow cover and the mass of ice in the Greenland Ice Sheet and Arctic glaciers, and warming sea surface and permafrost temperatures. Issued annually since 2006, the Arctic Report Card is a timely and peer-reviewed source for clear, reliable, and concise environmental information on the current state of different components of the Arctic environmental system relative to historical records. The report is intended for a wide audience, including scientists, teachers, students, decision makers, and the general public interested in the Arctic environment and science.
Delaware is especially vulnerable to the effects of sea level rise (SLR) due to its flat topography, low mean elevation, and significant community development and infrastructure investments along the coast. Rates of relative SLR measured at tide gauges in and around Delaware are approximately twice the rate of global mean SLR. This report provides critical information on future sea level rise for Delaware's decision makers: it can help readers gain a comprehensive understanding of risk and the likelihood of worsening coastal flooding. In addition to the report, the Delaware Geological Survey worked with others to release an updated series of coastal inundation maps that depict the extent of potential inundation from current average high tide (MHHW level) to seven feet above in one-foot increments. These maps can be used as a planning tool for understanding potential future effects of sea level rise or storm surge.
As a key part of the Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4), the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) oversaw the production of this stand-alone report of the state of science relating to climate change and its physical impacts. The Climate Science Special Report (CSSR) is designed to be an authoritative assessment of the science of climate change, with a focus on the United States, to serve as the foundation for efforts to assess climate-related risks and inform decision making about responses.
As Volume 1 of NCA4, CSSR serves several purposes, including providing (1) an updated and detailed analysis of the findings of how climate change is affecting weather and climate across the United States; (2) an executive summary and 15 chapters that provide the basis for the discussion of climate science found in the second volume of NCA4; and (3) foundational information and projections for climate change, including extremes, to improve “end-to-end” consistency in sectoral, regional, and resilience analyses within the second volume. CSSR integrates and evaluates the findings on climate science and discusses the uncertainties associated with these findings. It analyzes current trends in climate change, both human-induced and natural, and projects major trends to the end of this century. As an assessment and analysis of the science, CSSR provides important input to the development of other parts of NCA4, and their primary focus on the human welfare, societal, economic and environmental elements of climate change. Much of the underlying report is written at a level more appropriate for a scientific audience, though the Executive Summary is intended to be accessible to a broader audience.
Sea level rise was a major topic of the annual meeting of the National Academy of Engineering held on October 9–10, 2016, and the second day featured a forum on sea level rise adaptation. This summary of the forum, which also incorporates material from Robert J. Nicholls’ plenary presentation, outlines a rich and challenging set of problems for engineers, scientists, and those who work with them.
This report focuses on identifying, developing, and implementing strategies to increase the power system’s resilience in the face of events that can cause large-area, long-duration outages: blackouts that extend over multiple service areas and last several days or longer. Resilience is not just about lessening the likelihood that these outages will occur; it is also about limiting the scope and impact of outages when they do occur, restoring power rapidly afterwards, and learning from these experiences to better deal with events in the future.
This Technical Report presents results from a large set of sectoral impact models that quantify and monetize climate change impacts in the U.S., with a primary focus on the contiguous U.S., under moderate and severe future climates. The report summarizes and communicates the results of the second phase of quantitative sectoral impacts analysis under the Climate Change Impacts and Risk Analysis (CIRA) project. The effort is intended to inform the fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4) of the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP). The goal of this work is to estimate climate change impacts and economic damages to multiple U.S. sectors (e.g., human health, infrastructure, and water resources) under different scenarios. Though this report does not make policy recommendations, it is designed to inform strategies to enhance resiliency and protect human health, investments, and livelihoods.
This guidebook results from the culmination of a year of dialogue among diverse stakeholders in southeastern Connecticut who defined challenges and solutions from extreme weather, climate change, and shifting social and economic conditions. Participants included representatives from nine municipalities, public and private utilities, public health departments, chambers of commerce, major employers, conservation organizations, academic institutions, community non-profits, and state agencies, among others. The dialogue captured six themed planning sectors (water, food, ecosystem services, transportation, energy, and regional economy) in a process that used surface and integrated solutions to address singular and multiple challenges across planning sectors. The guidebook provides a quick reference resource to help shape and inform actions that will advance a regional resilience framework for southeastern Connecticut; an accompanying Summary of Findings captures the project's final outcomes and conclusions, as well as providing a comprehensive account of the objectives, process, and details.
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.
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 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.
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 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).
With insight from 26 campus and stakeholder advisors, the support of the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service’s Transportation Division, and input from regional food supply chain businesses throughout the region, this 68-page report details the process used to assess the Chicago region food system and findings through the three-year participatory research effort. It includes eleven sections with 17 figures to illustrate key concepts, along with extensive supporting materials. The report presents three innovations with proofs of concept that could be applied widely in the region and beyond to improve food distribution, both in rural and urban regions.
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.
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 guide provides basic assistance to electric utilities and other stakeholders in assessing vulnerabilities to climate change and extreme weather and in identifying an appropriate portfolio of resilience solutions. The guide is also part of a broader DOE effort to inform preparedness, resilience planning, and response initiatives.
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 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.
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.
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.
In 2014, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Association to Preserve Cape Cod, the Cape Cod Commission, and the Massachusetts Environmental Trust, began an evaluation of the potential effects of sea-level rise on water table altitudes and depths to water on central and western Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Researchers found that the potential does exist for groundwater inundation in some areas, but the effects of sea-level rise on depths to water and infrastructure likely will not be substantial on a regional level.
This assessment strengthens and expands our understanding of climate-related health impacts by providing a more definitive description of climate-related health burdens in the United States. It builds on the 2014 National Climate Assessment and reviews and synthesizes key contributions to the published literature. The findings represent an improvement in scientific confidence in the link between climate change and a broad range of threats to public health, while recognizing populations of concern and identifying emerging issues. The overall findings underscore the significance of the growing risk climate change poses to human health in the United States.
A multi-agency team of researchers developed this Department of Defense report to provide regionalized sea level and extreme water level scenarios for the years 2035, 2065, and 2011 for 1,774 military sites worldwide. The information included in the report is meant to assist decision makers and others in making robust choices to manage their risk of future sea level and extreme water levels.
The SECURE Water Report identifies climate change as a growing risk to Western water management and cites warmer temperatures, changes to precipitation, snowpack and the timing and quality of streamflow runoff across major river basins as threats to water sustainability. Water supply, quality and operations; hydropower; groundwater resources; flood control; recreation; and fish, wildlife and other ecological resources in the Western states remain at risk.
The State of Maine is experiencing shifts in atmospheric and oceanographic conditions that put it at the precipice of abrupt climate change. This report—part of the Department of Homeland Security's Regional Resiliency Assessment Program (RRAP)—focuses on the local and regional consequences of climate disruptions and their impacts on critical infrastructure in the Casco Bay region, the most developed and populous region in Maine. The report identifies vulnerabilities that may potentially affect the region’s ability to maintain its critical infrastructure systems and recover from the impacts of climate change.
The Arctic is changing at a startling pace. Understanding the role of freshwater in these changes—both how Arctic freshwater systems are affected by climate change, and how changes to the Arctic freshwater system will affect other environmentally relevant processes—is critical to understanding how these changes will affect the lives of people living in the Arctic and beyond. This report is intended to inform the non-expert reader about these changes to the freshwater systems in the Arctic, and their implications.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency produced this publication with assistance from federal, state, local, and academic partners. It is designed to help community officials, emergency managers, meteorologists, and others plan for and respond to excessive heat events. The guidebook highlights best practices that have been employed to save lives during excessive heat events in different urban areas. Originally published in June 2006, its Appendix A—a list of federal resources—was updated in March 2016.
As climate has warmed over recent years, a new pattern of more frequent and more intense weather events has unfolded across the globe. Climate models simulate such changes in extreme events, and some of the reasons for the changes are well understood. Warming increases the likelihood of extremely hot days and nights, favors increased atmospheric moisture that may result in more frequent heavy rainfall and snowfall, and leads to evaporation that can exacerbate droughts.
Event attribution can answer questions about how much climate change influenced the probability or intensity of a specific type of weather event. As event attribution capabilities improve, they could help inform choices about assessing and managing risk, and in guiding climate adaptation strategies. This report examines the current state of science of extreme weather attribution, and identifies ways to move the science forward to improve attribution capabilities.
This fact sheet presents recent climate change investigations of the U.S. Geological Survey in New England using selected recent publications that highlight the broad spectrum of expertise and commitment to understanding the relations of climate change and water resources in the region.
Rapidly rising seas threaten to drown tidal marshes and diminish the benefits provided to people and wildlife by these valuable coastal ecosystems. Increasingly, government agencies and non-government organizations are harnessing the power of computer-based models of marsh ecosystems to inform management and policy strategies to sustain tidal marshes. This report covers the entire modeling lifecycle, from developing a modeling approach and working with data to communicating modeling results. While some of the information pertains specifically to the northeastern United States, the report is also intended as a useful resource for modeling of marsh migration in other regions. The report is available online, with a printer-friendly version also available for download.
Drought threatens our country’s natural resources, economy, and overall health. Increasingly, NOAA is charged with providing and improving information that helps stakeholders at all levels manage water resources in a more resilient and climate-smart manner. Working with input from farmers, ranchers, natural resource managers, and other drought-impacted industries and populations, NOAA research has worked to improve drought monitoring and prediction for better planning and mitigation of impacts.