In 2015, drought impacts in the Western United States cost an estimated $4.5 billion. Impacts included the fallowing of hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland, excess groundwater pumping, and the exacerbation of wildfire conditions, which contributed to fires that caused the highest annual total of U.S. acreage burned since record-keeping began in 1960. As these impacts become more prevalent under a changing climate, preparedness, including an early-warning system for drought conditions, is increasingly important in many parts of the United States. The...
Since 1989, the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) has submitted annual reports to Congress called Our Changing Planet. The reports describe the status of USGCRP research activities, provide progress updates, and document recent accomplishments
In particular, Our Changing Planet highlights progress and accomplishments in interagency activities. These highlights represent the broad spectrum of USGCRP activities that extend from Earth system observations, modeling, and fundamental research through synthesis and assessment, decision support, education, and public engagement. Highlights describe the state of science at the time of publication of each yearly report, and may not reflect more recent advances in understanding. The date of publication of the source report is noted on each highlight page.
USGCRP agencies are at the center of a new initiative to advance climate education, literacy, and training in the United States. Led by OSTP, the interagency Climate Education and Literacy Initiative aims to connect students and citizens with the best-available scientific information about climate change. Agencies will apply their individual expertise to this unified Federal effort—for example:
The National Park Service will develop a
The Nation’s energy infrastructure is vulnerable to a range of climate impacts, particularly in areas prone to severe storms or water shortages. These impacts may be exacerbated or mitigated by other systemic factors, such as increasing energy demands, infrastructure interdependencies, and changes in technology, demographics, land use and land cover, and regional industries and economies. Although existing models can capture some of these factors, there is a growing need for modeling frameworks and tools that can explore their collective behaviors.
“Indicators” are variables that can be used to measure the status or trend of a system. Indicators of climate-related global change—whether ecological, physical, or societal—can be used to track and communicate key aspects of the changing environment, point out vulnerabilities, and inform decision making at local, state, and national levels.
A pilot set of climate indicators is being developed collaboratively by USGCRP agencies including NASA, NOAA, EPA, USDA, DOE, DOD’s U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), CDC, and DOI. The
Drought is a significant hazard for the United States, with potentially severe and long-lasting impacts on the Nation’s economy and food and water supplies. USGCRP agencies are advancing our understanding of the causes and consequences of drought, an FY 2015 interagency research priority (see Section 4). They are also collaborating in efforts to support drought preparedness and recovery, such as the National Drought Resilience Partnership (a deliverable of the President’s Climate Action Plan) and the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS).
Indicators are measurements or calculations that represent the status, trend, or performance of a system (e.g., the economy, agriculture, air quality). USGCRP, with the participation of 9 of its 13 member agencies—NOAA, NASA, EPA, USDA, DOE, DOD’s U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), HHS’s