What is this Assessment?
The National Assessment of
the Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change is a landmark
in the major ongoing effort to understand what climate change means for
the US. Climate science is developing rapidly and scientists are
increasingly able to project some changes at the regional scale,
identifying regional vulnerabilities, and assessing potential regional
impacts. Science increasingly indicates that the Earth's climate has
changed in the past and continues to change, and that even greater climate
change is very likely in the 21st century. This Assessment has begun a
national process of research, analysis, and dialogue about the coming
changes in climate, their impacts, and what Americans can do to adapt to
an uncertain and continuously changing climate. This Assessment is built
on a solid foundation of science conducted as part of the United
States Global Change Research Program (USGCRP).
What is this document and
who is the NAST?
This document is the
Assessment Overview, written by the National Assessment
Synthesis Team (NAST). The NAST is a committee of experts
drawn from governments, universities, industry, and non-governmental
organizations. It has been responsible for broad over-sight of
the Assessment, with the Federal agencies of the USGCRP. This
Overview is based on a longer, referenced "Foundation" report,
written by the NAST in cooperation with independent regional and sector
assessment teams. These two national-level, peer-reviewed documents
synthesize results from studies conducted by regional and sector teams,
and from the broader scientific literature.
Why was this Assessment
The Assessment was called
for by a 1990 law, and has been con-ducted under the USGCRP in response to
a request from the President's Science Advisor. The NAST developed the
Assessment's plan, which was then approved by the National
Science and Technology Council, the cabinet-level body of agencies
responsible for scientific research, including global change research, in
the US government.