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 related to climate—which may be physical, ecological, or societal—can be used to understand how environmental conditions are changing, assess risks and vulnerabilities, and help inform resiliency and planning for climate impacts.
The goals of this site are to support the sustained National Climate Assessment, provide an opportunity for USGCRP agencies to showcase examples from their existing indicators efforts, and highlight indicators of change in diverse sectors and across the Federal Government. The indicators featured on this site, though not representative of all potential indicators of climate change, communicate some key aspects, such as temperatures over land and at sea, greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere, the extent of Arctic sea ice, and related effects in sectors like public health and agriculture. All of the indicators show climate-related trends over time and meet established criteria related to data quality. Similar to the findings and figures in the 2014 National Climate Assessment, the indicators and their underlying datasets are documented and publicly accessible in USGCRP’s Global Change Information System.

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