Volume 5, Issue 6
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In this issue:
- Our Changing Planet: USGCRP releases annual report on global change research
- Major new steps by the Administration to respond to climate change:
- The U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit
- The Climate Education and Literacy Initiative
- Ecosystems and water resources on Climate.Data.gov
- Federal agencies release their Sustainability and Adaptation Plans
- Preparing for climate change in Hampton Roads
- IPCC Synthesis Report confirms urgency of climate threat
- New research frontiers: the urban carbon cycle
- plus, more carbon cycle science news
- Crowdsourcing climate: citizen science, indicators, and the National Climate Assessment
- Report-out from recent climate and health events:
- National Academy of Sciences meeting on modeling
- Town hall at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting
- Evaluating the National Climate Assessment: workshop report
- Upcoming events featuring the National Climate Assessment
- USGCRP remembers Rick Piltz
latest edition of Our Changing Planet, USGCRP's annual report to Congress, illustrates the Program's significant progress in meeting our mandate and fulfilling the 2012-2021 Strategic Plan. The report, which was released in late October, gives an overview of the Federal global change research enterprise and upcoming research priorities, with plain-language highlights spotlighting recent efforts to advance science and support societal needs. Among the many highlights in the report, a few examples include:
- New satellite missions to measure global change
- Progress in forecasting near-term climate
- Understanding natural and human factors in the carbon cycle
- Modeling climate impacts on agriculture and the agro-economy
- Delivering the 2014 National Climate Assessment (NCA)
- Supporting climate preparedness and resilience in the Federal Government
- Building capacity among climate change interpreters in informal education settings
View the report to learn more.U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit, a suite of science-based resources and real-world case studies to help communities prepare for and respond to the impacts of climate change. Concurrent with the Toolkit’s release, a task force of state, local, and tribal leaders submitted their recommendations for how the Federal Government can support resilience in American communities.
- Read the full news story to learn more about the Toolkit and the task force recommendations
A new Administration initiative announced this month aims to “lift America’s game” in climate education, literacy, and training. Led by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Climate Education and Literacy Initiative will connect students and citizens with the best-available scientific information about climate change.
- Read the full news story to learn more about the Initiative and how USGCRP agencies are contributing
Lastly, Climate.Data.gov was recently expanded to include open government data and geospatial tools related to water and ecosystems. These freely available resources and a series of associated initiatives are intended to spur innovation and help environmental planners, natural resource managers, and businesses that depend on ecosystem services make informed decisions on the ground.
- Read the blog post by White House Science Advisor John Holdren
- Read the full news story to learn more about the Plans and climate-related risks identified by Federal agencies like NASA, the Department of Defense, and the National Park Service
- View the Adaptation Plans via our library of Federal Adaptation Resources
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its Synthesis Report in early November, confirming that warming in the climate system is unequivocal and, if left unaddressed, will increase the likelihood of pervasive, irreversible damage to the environment and society. The report emphasizes that options are available to limit climate change and adapt to its impacts.
- Read the full news story to learn more about the report’s findings
- Visit the IPCC website to view the report and the summary for policy makers
- Read the full news story to learn more about understanding human–carbon interactions in cities
More carbon cycle science news:
- The 29th meeting of the Carbon Cycle Scientific Steering Group (CCSSG) was convened by the U.S. Carbon Cycle Science Program Office on November 18–19, in Arlington, VA. Members of the CCSSG and the CCIWG discussed emerging coordinated research on urban carbon; carbon observation and monitoring systems; and carbon dynamics related to land use change, the ocean, and the Arctic. The meeting also involved planning for the second State of the Carbon Cycle Report (SOCCR-2), which will build on the first SOCCR that was published in 2007 as USGCRP’s Synthesis and Assessment Product (SAP) 2.2.
- CCIWG members participated in NASA’s Carbon Monitoring System (CMS) Science Team Meeting and Applications Workshop, held November 12–14 in Bethesda, MD. The meeting included updates on CMS goals, discussions of Science Team results, introduction of new Science Team members and projects, and progress reports from working groups. Interagency collaboration was highlighted at the meeting and featured in conversations around the need for a National Carbon Monitoring System.
- To keep up with carbon cycle science news and find related research opportunities, visit carboncyclescience.us.
The vision for the sustained National Climate Assessment involves identifying a set of indicators—or physical, ecological, and societal variables—that track climate changes, impacts, and responses. In cooperation with the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars and the Federal Community of Practice for Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science, USGCRP recently held a public roundtable (November 18) and an invitation-only workshop (November 19) to explore how crowd-based approaches like citizen science can contribute to indicator networks and the sustained assessment. Citizen science refers to the engagement of non-professionals in scientific investigations—asking questions, collecting data, or interpreting results.At the roundtable (webcast available here), representatives from USGCRP agencies delivered keynote speeches highlighting the ways in which their agencies and USGCRP as a whole engage in citizen science efforts. Leaders in the field from agencies and from outside the government contributed to a lively panel discussion, addressing questions about public participation in science from the international scale to the K–12 level. The subsequent workshop afforded a hands-on opportunity to tackle practical questions, including:
- Which indicators could benefit from the incorporation of citizen science—10 years from now, five years from now, and today?
- What existing citizen science projects can be leveraged? Are there opportunities for new uses of citizen science?
- How can citizen science and indicators be used together to help a range of audiences better understand climate change?
The results of the workshop will be reported at the upcoming Citizen Science Association Conference and in a workshop report to be released in 2015.webcasts and presentations available here). The meeting brought together environmental health researchers, climate modelers, and public health experts and practitioners to explore new approaches to modeling the human health risks of future climate change. The discussions were constructive and turned frequently to how USGCRP can support the development and improvement of climate and health models.
On November 18, USGCRP’s Climate Change and Human Health Group (CCHHG) held a town hall at the American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting in New Orleans. Members of the CCHHG presented information on the latest relevant Federal efforts, including the Climate Data Initiative, the Sustainable Climate Resilient Health Care Facilities Initiative, and a live demonstration of the Climate Resilience Toolkit. In addition, a panel of Federal grantees discussed their research and data needs within the context of their ongoing projects. The event received a large turnout, and attendees expressed strong interest in USGCRP efforts ranging from improving and refining data, to circumpolar health considerations in the Arctic, to engagement around the developing USGCRP Climate and Health Assessment. Beyond the town hall, the 2014 National Climate Assessment was well integrated in the APHA meeting’s scientific sessions, with NCA figures and quotations supporting many of the climate-related presentations.
This past June, 70 people representing Federal agencies, NCA authors, the NCA and Development Advisory Committee, the USGCRP National Coordination Office, the NOAA NCA Technical Support Unit, the NCA partners network (NCAnet), users of the NCA, and evaluation experts convened in Arlington, VA, to discuss frameworks for evaluating the National Climate Assessment. Through participatory voting exercises, plenary panels, and small group discussions, participants provided input on methods that USGCRP can consider in developing an evaluation plan for the 2014 NCA report and the sustained assessment. The newly available workshop report summarizes discussions about a number of topics, including overarching principles for evaluation, audiences for an evaluation, what to evaluate, how to evaluate, and who might participate.
Already in December, USGCRP National Climate Assessment staff and NCA report authors have participated in conferences of the American Anthropological Association and ACES – A Community on Ecosystem Services. NCA staff and authors will be at several more conferences this winter. Sessions that feature the Assessment and related efforts are listed below, although some NCA authors may be presenting individual talks and posters assigned to other sessions.
American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting
San Francisco, CA
- December 15, 1:40 – 3:40 pm PST | Climate Literacy: The National Climate Assessment as a Resource for Decision Making and Education at Multiple Scales (Oral)
- December 16, 8:00 - 10:00 am PST | Climate Literacy: Effective Responses and Solutions through Best Practices in Communication, Partnerships, and Networks I (Oral)
- December 16, 10:20 am - 12:20 pm PST | Climate Literacy: Effective Responses through Best Practices in Communication, Partnerships, and Networks II (Oral)
- December 16, 1:40 - 6:00 pm PST | Climate Literacy: Effective Responses and Solutions through Best Practices in Communication, Partnerships, and Networks III (Posters)
- December 16, 4:00 – 6:00 pm PST | The Third National Climate Assessment: Remaining Climate Science Questions (Oral)
- December 19, 8:00 am – 12:20 pm PST | Climate Indicators: Developing and Testing Indicators to Convey Information to Support Decisions (Posters)
- December 19, 4:00 – 6:00 pm PST | Climate Indicators: Developing and Testing Indicators to Convey Information to Support Decisions (Oral)
- January 5, 11:00 am–5:30 pm MST | The 2014 US National Climate Assessment: Science, Policy, and the Future – Part I, Part II, Part III
- January 28, 10:30 am – 12:00 pm | From Climate and Energy Literacy to Impact
Citizen Science Association Conference
San Jose, CA
- February 11-12 | Look for the poster on “Tracking a Changing Climate” (see Crowdsourcing Climate, above)
- February 15, 1:30 - 4:30 pm | National Climate Assessment: Resource for Climate Literacy and Making Decisions
For more information, see the NCAnet Partners calendar.
- Read the full news story and remembrances from USGCRP staff
[no-lexicon]The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) coordinates and integrates Federal research on changes in the global environment and their implications for society. USGCRP began as a presidential initiative in 1989 and was mandated by Congress in the Global Change Research Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-606), which called for "a comprehensive and integrated United States research program which will assist the Nation and the world to understand, assess, predict, and respond to human-induced and natural processes of global change."
The National Climate Assessment (NCA) is conducted under the auspices of the Global Change Research Act of 1990, which requires a report to the President and Congress every four years that evaluates, integrates, and interprets USGCRP findings. The NCA aims to incorporate advances in the understanding of climate science into larger social, ecological, and policy systems, thereby providing integrated analyses of impacts and vulnerability, helping the Federal Government to prioritize climate science investments, and delivering science that can be used by communities throughout our Nation to plan for a more sustainable and environmentally sound future.[/no-lexicon]