Sea level rise presents a significant climate change adaptation challenge for California. The state has over 3400 miles of coastline, millions of coastal residents, and an economy dependent on coastal natural resources. Higher sea levels threaten residents, public and private development, critical infrastructure, and natural resources with increased risk of flooding, inundation, storm damage, shoreline erosion, saltwater intrusion, and beach loss.
Coastal flood damage and adaptation costs under 21st century sea-level rise are assessed on a global scale taking into account a wide range of uncertainties in continental topography data, population data, protection strategies, socioeconomic development and sea-level rise. Uncertainty in global mean and regional sea level was derived from four different climate models from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5, each combined with three land-ice scenarios based on the published range of contributions from ice sheets and glaciers.
Major cities in the arid and semi-arid areas of the Western US have developed a Regional Climate Adaptation Planning Alliance to develop a common regional approach to adaptation planning – including a collective vision of resilience, planning frameworks and information sharing opportunities. This Alliance is founded on its members’ shared goal to make climate change adaptation a priority at the local level and the collective understanding that successful climate change adaptation requires regional collaboration.
The fact that climate is changing has become increasingly clear over the past decade. Recent evidence suggests that the associated changes in temperature and precipitation are already adversely affecting population health.The future burden of disease attributable to climate change will depend in part on the timeliness and effectiveness of the interventions implemented.
Focus of this report
Since the early years of the 21st century, and in particular since 2007, the U.S. has been awakening rapidly to the fact that climate change is underway and that even if stringent efforts are undertaken to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, adaptation to the unavoidable impacts from the existing commitment to climate change is still needed and needs to be begun now.
As defined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, adaptation includes a set of actions to moderate harm or exploit beneficial opportunities in response to climate change. To date, little research has addressed public policy options to frame the nation’s approach to adapt to a changing climate. In light of scientific evidence of extreme and unpredictable climate change, prudent policy requires consideration of what to do if markets and people fail to anticipate these changes, or are constrained in their ability to react.
Local governments are on the front line of efforts to address climate-related impacts. Recognizing this, there is a growing movement to develop and deliver tools, resources, and services to support local communities’ climate adaptation initiatives. There is, however, limited understanding of what specific types of resources exist and how well these resources match the needs of local practitioners.
An architecture of government adaptation programs is presented. Components include leadership, institutional organization, stakeholder involvement, climate change information, appropriate use of decision analysis techniques, explicit consideration of barriers to adaptation, funding for adaptation, technology development and diffusion, and adaptation research. This architecture is a useful heuristic for identifying, evaluating, and reevaluating the needs of decision makers as they improve management of climate-sensitive resources in a changing environment.
NOAA's Integrated Ecosystem Assessment (IEA) program supports Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM), a new era of ocean stewardship, by providing a next generation tool and helping transfer scientific knowledge to management particularly with respect to oceanographic, climatic, ecological and other environmental conditions. As of 2016, the program is implemented in 5 regions across the United States - Alaska, California Current, Gulf of Mexico, Pacific Islands, and the Northeast.
OceanAdapt is a collaboration between the Pinsky Lab of Rutgers University and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to provide information about the impacts of changing climate and other factors on the distribution of marine life to the National Climate Assessment, fisheries communities, policymakers, and to others. This website hosts an annually updated database of scientific surveys in the United States and provides tools for exploring changes in marine fish and invertebrate distributions. We are continually working to expand the site with new data and visualization tools.