The National Climate Assessment: Overview and Key Findings

Monday, February 18, 2013
Room 210 (Hynes Convention Center)
Jerry Melillo , Marine Biology Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA
The National Climate Assessment (NCA) is being conducted under the auspices of the Global Change Research Act of 1990. The Act requires a quadrennial report to the President and the Congress that must: (1) integrate, evaluate, and interpret the findings of the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP); (2) analyze the effects of global change on a number of sectors; and (3) analyze current trends in global change, both human-induced and natural, and project major trends for the subsequent 25 to 100 years.

The next NCA report, currently under development, is due out in late 2013, with a draft available for public and expert review in late 2012. In addition to the climate science and “sector” chapters (e.g., natural environment, agriculture, water resources) called for in the Global Change Research Act of 1990, the 2013 report will include chapters on climate-change impacts in the major regions of the United States and its territories, on major crosscutting topics such as climate-change impacts on interactions among energy, water and land use, and on responses to climate change trough mitigation and adaptation actions. Each of the chapters of the 2013 report was authored by a team of experts from diverse backgrounds - academia, government organizations, non-government organizations and the private sector. The report and the larger National Climate Assessment process are being overseen by a sixty-member committee, the National Climate Assessment Development Advisory Committee, established under the Department of Commerce in December 2010 and supported through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

This presentation will provide an overview the process used to design and assemble the 2013 report and will discuss draft report findings. In addition, it will discuss the timetable for the report’s production and a summary of the multiple-step review process expected to be underway at the time of the AAAS Meeting. The presentation will end with a brief discussion of plans for the assessment as a “sustained process’ – what this means and why it is important.