Integrated Assessment of the Climate Change Impacts on the Gulf Coast Region
The Gulf Coast region includes five Gulf Coast states. The specific territories covered in the assessment are the Gulf Coastal Plains and coastal waters of southern Texas, southern Louisiana, southern Mississippi, southern Alabama, and western Florida (Fig. 1). The Gulf itself has a surface area of 1.63 million square kilometers (630,000 square miles) and a watershed area of 4.69 million square kilometers (1.81 million square miles) in the United States. This region is one of the nation’s largest ecological systems and is closely linked to a significant portion of the nation’s economy. Energy, fisheries, agriculture, forests, and tourism rank among the most significant sectors of the Gulf Coast region’s economy. The Gulf has five of the nation’s top ten fishing ports. Gulf ports handle one half of the nation’s import-export tonnage and the Gulf produces 72% of the nation’s offshore petroleum production. The Gulf Coast region relies on many natural resources to fuel many important sectors of its economy.