Indicators are observations or calculations that can be used to track conditions and trends. For example, businesses might look at the unemployment index as one of a number of indicators representing the condition of the economy. Similarly, indicators of
climate change can communicate key aspects of the changing environment, point out vulnerabilities, and inform decisions about policy, planning, and resource management.
Indicators are an important part of the vision for the sustained National Climate Assessment (NCA). A preliminary set of indicators, intended as a prototype for evaluation by scientists and user communities, will inform the development of a more comprehensive, dynamic system encompassing climate changes, impacts, and responses. Uniting and building on efforts from across USGCRP agencies, this proposed system will support future NCA reports and provide scientific data that can help decision makers understand and respond to climate change.