Climate Change Collection

Climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for a broad range of human and natural systems. Human activities largely determine the evolution of the Earth's climate, which not only impact the next few decades, but the coming centuries and millennia. This collection emphasizes the importance of 21st century choices regarding long-term climate stabilization through improving understanding of the causes and consequences of climate change and expanding the options available to limit the magnitude of climate change.


Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change: Anticipating Surprises ( 2013 )

Climate is changing, forced out of the range of the past million years by levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases not seen in the Earth's atmosphere for a very, very long time. Lacking action by the world's nations, it is clear that the planet will be warmer, sea level will rise, and patterns of rainfall will change. But the future is also partly uncertain -- there is considerable ...[more]


Global Change and Extreme Hydrology: Testing Conventional Wisdom ( 2011 )

Climate theory dictates that core elements of the climate system, including precipitation, evapotranspiration, and reservoirs of atmospheric and soil moisture, should change as the climate warms, both in their means and extremes. A major challenge that faces the climate and hydrologic science communities is understanding the nature of these ongoing changes in climate and hydrology and the apparent anomalies that exist in reconciling their extreme manifestations. ...[more]


Himalayan Glaciers: Climate Change, Water Resources, and Water Security ( 2012 )

Scientific evidence shows that most glaciers in South Asia's Hindu Kush Himalayan region are retreating, but the consequences for the region's water supply are unclear, this report finds. The Hindu Kush Himalayan region is the location of several of Asia's great river systems, which provide water for drinking, irrigation, and other uses for about 1.5 billion people. Recent studies show that at lower elevations, glacial retreat is unlikely to cause ...[more]


Sea-Level Rise for the Coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington: Past, Present, and Future ( 2012 )

Tide gauges show that global sea level has risen about 7 inches during the 20th century, and recent satellite data show that the rate of sea-level rise is accelerating. As Earth warms, sea levels are rising mainly because ocean water expands as it warms; and water from melting glaciers and ice sheets is flowing into the ocean. Sea-level rise poses enormous risks to the valuable infrastructure, development, and wetlands that ...[more]


America's Climate Choices ( 2011 )

Climate change is occurring. It is very likely caused by the emission of greenhouse gases from human activities, and poses significant risks for a range of human and natural systems. And these emissions continue to increase, which will result in further change and greater risks. America's Climate Choices makes the case that the environmental, economic, and humanitarian risks posed by climate change indicate a pressing need for substantial action now ...[more]


Advancing the Science of Climate Change ( 2010 )

Climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for--and in many cases is already affecting--a broad range of human and natural systems. The compelling case for these conclusions is provided in Advancing the Science of Climate Change, part of a congressionally requested suite of studies known as America's Climate Choices. While noting that there is always more to learn and that the scientific process ...[more]


Informing an Effective Response to Climate Change ( 2010 )

Global climate change is one of America's most significant long-term policy challenges. Human activity--especially the use of fossil fuels, industrial processes, livestock production, waste disposal, and land use change--is affecting global average temperatures, snow and ice cover, sea-level, ocean acidity, growing seasons and precipitation patterns, ecosystems, and human health. Climate-related decisions are being carried out by almost every agency of the federal government, as well as many state and local ...[more]


Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change ( 2010 )

Across the United States, impacts of climate change are already evident. Heat waves have become more frequent and intense, cold extremes have become less frequent, and patterns of rainfall are likely changing. The proportion of precipitation that falls as rain rather than snow has increased across the western United States and Arctic sea ice has been reduced significantly. Sea level has been rising faster than at any time in recent ...[more]


Climate Change: Evidence, Impacts, and Choices: Set of 3 Booklets ( 2012 )

What is climate? Climate is commonly thought of as the expected weather conditions at a given location over time. People know when they go to New York City in winter, they should take a heavy coat. When they visit the Pacific Northwest, they should take an umbrella. Climate can be measured as many geographic scales - for example, cities, countries, or the entire globe - by such statistics as average ...[more]


Climate Change Education in Formal Settings, K-14: A Workshop Summary ( 2012 )

Climate change is occurring, is very likely caused by human activities, and poses significant risks for a broad range of human and natural systems. Each additional ton of greenhouse gases emitted commits us to further change and greater risks. In the judgment of the Committee on America's Climate Choices, the environmental, economic, and humanitarian risks of climate change indicate a pressing need for substantial action to limit the magnitude ...[more]


Climate and Social Stress: Implications for Security Analysis ( 2013 )

Climate change can reasonably be expected to increase the frequency and intensity of a variety of potentially disruptive environmental events--slowly at first, but then more quickly. It is prudent to expect to be surprised by the way in which these events may cascade, or have far-reaching effects. During the coming decade, certain climate-related events will produce consequences that exceed the capacity of the affected societies or global systems to manage; ...[more]


Frontiers in Understanding Climate Change and Polar Ecosystems: Summary of a Workshop ( 2011 )

The polar regions are experiencing rapid changes in climate. These changes are causing observable ecological impacts of various types and degrees of severity at all ecosystem levels, including society. Even larger changes and more significant impacts are anticipated. As species respond to changing environments over time, their interactions with the physical world and other organisms can also change. This chain of interactions can trigger cascades of impacts throughout entire ecosystems. ...[more]


Climate Change Education: Goals, Audiences, and Strategies: A Workshop Summary ( 2011 )

The global scientific and policy community now unequivocally accepts that human activities cause global climate change. Although information on climate change is readily available, the nation still seems unprepared or unwilling to respond effectively to climate change, due partly to a general lack of public understanding of climate change issues and opportunities for effective responses. The reality of global climate change lends increasing urgency to the need for effective education ...[more]


Climate Change, the Indoor Environment, and Health ( 2011 )

The indoor environment affects occupants' health and comfort. Poor environmental conditions and indoor contaminants are estimated to cost the U.S. economy tens of billions of dollars a year in exacerbation of illnesses like asthma, allergic symptoms, and subsequent lost productivity. Climate change has the potential to affect the indoor environment because conditions inside buildings are influenced by conditions outside them. Climate Change, the Indoor Environment, and Health addresses the impacts ...[more]


Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the Last 2,000 Years ( 2006 )

In response to a request from Congress, Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the Last 2,000 Years assesses the state of scientific efforts to reconstruct surface temperature records for Earth during approximately the last 2,000 years and the implications of these efforts for our understanding of global climate change. Because widespread, reliable temperature records are available only for the last 150 years, scientists estimate temperatures in the more distant past by analyzing ...[more]


Understanding Earth's Deep Past:Lessons for Our Climate Future ( 2011 )

There is little dispute within the scientific community that humans are changing Earth's climate on a decadal to century time-scale. By the end of this century, without a reduction in emissions, atmospheric CO2 is projected to increase to levels that Earth has not experienced for more than 30 million years. As greenhouse gas emissions propel Earth toward a warmer climate state, an improved understanding of climate dynamics in warm environments ...[more]