September 19, 2011
The National Climate Assessment Physical Climate Indicators Workshop Report is now available in its final published format here.
The National Climate Assessment (NCA) convened a workshop on
â€œPhysical Climate Indicatorsâ€ from 29 to 30 March, 2011 as part of a series on â€œMonitoring
Climate Change and its Impactsâ€. The overarching goal of this workshop was to
identify a few broad categories of potential physical climate indicators using
a set of priorities developed by the NCA, and to provide a clear justification
for how they would inform the Nation about climate change. Additional goals
included providing input on the overall NCA framework for selecting the
indicators and suggesting methodologies to construct indicators. Although one
of the workshop goals was to address the status of current observational networks
to support indicators, this was not a main focus of any single discussion. The
nearly 60 participants, primarily from federal agencies, received a white paper
in advance of the workshop that detailed the NCA vision for a coordinated suite
of climate-related physical, ecological, and societal indicators. The intent of
these â€œnational indicators of changeâ€ is to develop a way to evaluate and
communicate over time both the rate of change in impacts and the capacity to respond
to climate drivers. These indicators will be tracked as a part of ongoing,
long-term assessment activities, with adjustments as necessary to adapt to changing
conditions and understanding. An initial framework was provided to workshop
participants to ensure that everyone understood the proposed audience, scope,
and purpose of the indicators. A common lexicon was defined since indicator terminology
varies widely. In addition, several potential approaches to grouping the
indicators were presented.
The NCA Report Series
summarizes regional, sectoral, and process-related workshops and discussions
being held as part of the third NCA process. This workshop focused on monitoring
changes in the physical climate system, as part of a series that includes
workshops on the impacts of climate change on ecosystems and socioeconomic systems.
The workshop was held in Washington, D.C. on March 29-30, 2011. Volume 5b of
the NCA Report Series summarizes the discussions and outcomes of this workshop.
A list of planned and completed reports in the NCA Report Series can be found online