Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The New National Climate Assessment and Related Resources

Earlier today, May 6, 2014, the new National Climate Assessment (NCA) was released. There's an event being webcasted from the Whitehouse right now (until 4:00 pm EDT). That's here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/live

The NCA has a few different access points online. It's a massive document with lots of rich multimedia. For accessing the NCA itself, you might start on http://www.globalchange.gov which provides links to various pieces of the report.

NOAA has also put together a page specifically for educators: http://www.climate.gov/teaching/2014-national-climate-assessment-resources-educators. This nicely breaks out the NCA's Report Findings, and I've cut and pasted that below. 
  • Report Finding 1: Global climate is changing and this is apparent across the United States in a wide range of observations. The global warming of the past 50 years is primarily due to human activities, predominantly the burning of fossil fuels. Learn More
  • Report Finding 2: Some extreme weather and climate events have increased in recent decades, and new and stronger evidence confirms that some of these increases are related to human activities. Learn More
  • Report Finding 3: Human-induced climate change is projected to continue, and it will accelerate significantly if global emissions of heat-trapping gasses continue to increase. Learn More
  • Report Finding 4: Impacts related to climate change are already evident in many sectors and are expected to become increasingly disruptive across the nation throughout this century and beyond. Learn More
  • Report Finding 5: Climate change threatens human health and well-being in many ways, including through more extreme weather events and wildfire, decreased air quality, and diseases transmitted by insects, food and water. Learn More
  • Report Finding 6: Infrastructure is being damaged by sea level rise, heavy downpours, and extreme heat; damages are projects to increase with continued climate change. Learn More
  • Report Finding 7: Water quality and water supply reliability are jeopardized by climate change in a variety of ways that affect ecosystems and livelihoods. Learn More
  • Report Finding 8: Climate disruptions to agriculture have been increasing and are projects to become more severe over this century. Learn More
  • Report Finding 9: Climate change poses particular threats to Indigenous Peoples' health, well-being, and ways of life. Learn More
  • Report Finding 10: Ecosystems and the benefits they provide to society are being affected by climate change. The capacity of ecosystems to buffer the impacts of extreme events like fires, floods, and severe storms is being overwhelmed. Learn More
  • Report Finding 11: Ocean waters are becoming warmer and more acidic, broadly affecting ocean circulation, chemistry, ecosystems, and marine life. Learn More
  • Report Finding 12: Planning for adaptation (to address and prepare for impacts) and mitigation (to reduce future climate change, for example by cutting emissions) is becoming more widespread, but current implementation efforts are insufficient to avoid increasingly negative social, environmental, and economic consequences. Learn More

Note that the NCA has much of it's info broken down by region, so you can focus on what's most relevant where you are. 

There's also a series of related videos found here: http://vimeo.com/channels/nca. I've embedded the Health Chapter Video below.

All of this is brand new today, so I've not had much chance to explore (though I did look at earlier public drafts). If you find things especially helpful for learning and teaching about climate change, it'd be nice to share it in the comments below.

About the Author

Don Duggan-Haas is Director of Teacher Programs at the PaleontologicalResearch Institution in Ithaca. Along with colleagues Robert Ross and Warren Allmon, he authored The Science Beneath the Surface: A VeryShort Guide to the Marcellus Shale.

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