Assessment of Climate Change in the Southwest United States

Robert Merideth, Mary Black, Sarah LeRoy
Posted on: 7/12/2019 - Updated on: 2/27/2020

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Assessment of Climate Change in the Southwest United States—a contribution to the 2013 National Climate Assessment—is a summary and synthesis of the past, present, and projected future of the region’s climate, emphasizing new information and understandings since publication of the previous national assessment in 2009.

Regional scope

  • The assessment examines what climate and climate change mean for the health and well-being of human populations and the environment throughout the Southwestern United States, an area of about 700,000 square miles.
  • The region includes Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah, vast stretches of coastline, an international border, and the jurisdictions of 182 federally recognized Native American tribes.
  • With its regional perspective, this assessment also provides a foundation for assessments to be made for decision making at finer scales.

Comprehensive approach. The assessment looks at:

  • climate and its effects, on scales ranging from states to watersheds and across ecosystems and regions;
  • links between climate and resource supply and demand;
  • effects on sectors—such as water, agriculture, energy, and transportation— that are critical to the well-being of the region’s inhabitants;
  • the vulnerabilities to climate changes of all facets of the region; and
  • the responses and preparedness plans that society may choose to make.