Dear Adaptation Mavens,
It seems like I’m finally hearing a lot more about climate change in the media in the past few weeks. Is there really this much new information coming out all of a sudden? What’s up?
Dear Fellow Maven,
Is it sunspots? Is it the medieval warming? Is it spring fever?
Nope, it’s probably the U.S. National Climate Assessment! The Mavens have also noticed an uptick in press coverage about climate change and we’re always happy to see people with this issue at the front of their minds. The Assessment is mandated by Congress under the Global Change Research Act of 1990 and requires that every four years the U.S. government create a consolidated appraisal of what we know about climate change and what it means for all of us. It’s kind of like a national security assessment, but considering climate change, not foreign powers.
The first assessment happened in 2000. And because it is mandated to be a quadrennial assessment, the next one came out in 2009... Keeping right on track, the latest one has been released this year (2014)!
The document, based on regional and sectoral technical inputs completed over a year ago, discusses the implications of climate change on various sectors (water, energy, transportation, agriculture, forestry, ecosystems, human health, urban systems and infrastructure) and geographic regions (Northeast, Southeast, Caribbean, Midwest, Great Plains, Southwest, Northwest, Alaska and the Arctic, Hawaii and U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands, Oceans, and Coastal regions). It also directly addresses mitigation and adaptation, not to mention the ubiquitous future research agenda.
The flurry of press is happening because the comment period on a draft version of the report, made available in January, closed in mid-April. The final, formal, official release of the real deal was May 6th.
The Assessment isn’t necessarily cutting edge (like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change or IPCC, it includes only research that came out before a pre-specified date) but it is a great diving-in point for anyone who wants to get a lay of the land for climate change impacts and action in the U.S. If the Assessment makes you hungry for more, you can peruse the corresponding technical input documents for their wealth of cited literature.
No doubt we’ll be hearing even more about the effects of climate change we’re already experiencing as well as those that may be coming soon to the real world near you. We hope you’ll use this information (and the media attention) to further your adaptation action efforts.
The Assessment contains information that can be used for:
- Increasing your personal understanding of the implications of climate change in your daily life,
- Vulnerability Assessments,
- Adaptation Planning,
- Developing monitoring metrics to see if your adaptation and mitigation actions are effective,
- Amazing your family and friends at cocktail parties!
Give it a look when it comes out and remember to say thank you to the hundreds of authors involved in its creation, including many of your fellow CAKE users! It is a climate community product.
Thanks for keep your eyes and ears open to climate change!
The Adaptation Mavens
Adaptation Mavens. (2014, May). Trending Now! [Web column]. Retrieved from CAKE (http://cakex.org/community/advice/trending-now)