Web- Navigating the National Climate Assessment

The National Climate Assessment is a product of the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), a confederation of thirteen federal agencies. Every four years, Congress requires the USGCRP to prepare an assessment that integrates the most up-to-date research on climate change, and how it will impact different sectors and regions of the U.S.

A draft of the Third National Climate Assessment report was released in early 2013, with the final version being released Tuesday, May 6. It brings together research from more than 300 scientists to highlight what is already happening in the climate system, the current state of the research, and what we expect will happen in the future. The report highlights the most important impacts and where we still have uncertainty and gaps in our knowledge.

The NCA is intended to serve as a resource for American citizens, communities, and businesses that want to understand how changes in the climate system will impact their future. Therefore, the Assessment breaks down how these changes that are happening on a global scale will play out in different parts of the U.S. There are chapters that describe how a changing climate will impact different sectors of the economy: transportation, agriculture, energy, human health and society, water, energy and land use, and environments and ecosystems. The report also has chapters that detail what is changing in eight regions of the country: the Northeast, the Southeast and Carribbean, the Midwest, the Great Plains, the Southwest, the Northwest, Alaska and the Arctic, and Hawaii and the Pacific Islands.

Click here for the report

Quick Links:

Graphics Report Summary      Interactive Webinars
List of Authors for Interviews Regional Content        Additional Links       



NCA Graphics


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Bonus: Skeptical Science animation

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Report Summary

  • The average temperature in the U.S. has increased by about 1.5°F since record keeping began in 1895. More than 80 percent of this increase has occurred since 1980 (through 2012). The most recent decade was the nation’s warmest on record.
  • The changes of the past 50 years are primarily due to human activities, and predominately due to the burning of fossil fuels. Human-induced climate change is projected to continue and accelerate significantly if emissions of heat trapping gasses continue to increase.
  • Rainfall patterns are changing. Precipitation averaged over the entire U.S. has increased since 1900, but some areas have had greater increases than others, and others are drying out. The largest increases have been in the Midwest, southern Great Plains, and Northeast. Parts of the Southeast, the Southwest, and the Rocky Mountain states have experienced decreases.
  • Global sea level has risen by about 8 inches since 1900, and the rate of rise is accelerating. Since 1992, the rate of global sea level rise as measured by satellites has been roughly twice the rate observed over the previous century. Sea level is projected to rise by another 1 to 4 feet by 2100.
  • There is even more evidence to indicate climate change is caused by humans. Observed natural climate influences, such as volcanoes and solar forcing, would have actually led to a slight global cooling by themselves, furthering the evidence that climate change is human-influenced. Also, the observed climate changes over the last 5 years are far higher than the effects of El Nino and La Nina can account for.
  • The effects of higher temperatures can have adverse affects on human health, infrastructure and natural ecosystems. More frequent and long-lasting heat worsens droughts, wildfires, and air pollution risks.
  • The strength, frequency and duration of tropical storms in the North Atlantic have all increased since the 1980s. We have also observed more of the strongest (Category 4 and 5) hurricanes over the same time period. 

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Interactive version here








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Upcoming Webinar

Tuesday, May 6th at 12:00 PM EDT

A panel of authors of the 2014 National Climate Assessment will discuss the findings - especially at the regional level - in a WebEx teleconference presented by Climate Nexus.

JOIN HERE: https://climatenexus.webex.com/climatenexus/onstage/g.php?t=a&d=667816840 
password: NCApanel

Event Number: 667 816 840
As a backup, call 1-855-244-8681 or 650-479-3207, access code: 667 816 840     


  • Dr. Radley Horton, research scientist at Columbia University and the convening lead author of the NCA Northeast region chapter.
  • Dr. Philip Mote, professor at Oregon State University and convening lead author of the NCA Northwest region chapter.
  • Dr. Kristin Dow, professor of geography at the University of South Carolina and  lead author of the NCA Research Agenda for Climate Change Science chapter.
  • Dr. Gregg Garfin, professor at the University of Arizona and convening lead author of the NCA Southwest chapter.
  • Dr. Don Wuebbles, professor of atmospheric science at the University of Illinois and convening lead author of the Climate Science chapter.
  • Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech and lead author of the NCA Climate Change Science chapter.


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List of Authors to Contact for Interview

For quick reference, the primary contacts for each region are listed below. For a full list of authors who are willing to be contacted by the media, click here.




Great Plains






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Regional Impacts

Over the coming months, Climate Central will continue to release localized content based on the information contained in the Third NCA report. If there are any additional graphics or content you would like us to produce for your region, please contact Bernadette Woods Placky at bplacky@climatecentral.org.

Links to Regional Chapters

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Additional Links

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