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Fifth National Climate Assessment - Read the Report

First National Climate Assessment

The First National Climate Assessment, entitled Climate Change Impacts on the United States: The Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change, was published in 2000 and was a major landmark in the ongoing effort to understand what climate change meant for America. This assessment began 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.

In February 1997, USGCRP and the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) initiated a series of Regional Climate Change Workshops with the goal of examining the vulnerabilities of U.S. regions to climate variability and change. Each workshop was sponsored by one or more government agencies, and was carried out by coordinators from local institutions. The goal was to begin a two-way process of interaction: scientists gained input from stakeholders about their information needs, and stakeholders learned from scientists about climate change projections and possible consequences for the region.

The workshops were a first step in conducting regional assessments, serving to scope key issues and information needs. As a next step, each region was asked to expand upon the ideas and enthusiasm generated in the workshop by conducting a more in-depth, quantitative analysis of key issues (regional assessment), and continuing to engage the network of stakeholders in an ongoing dialogue.

The regional workshop and assessment reports—listed below where available—ultimately coalesced into input for the First National Climate Assessment, which was released in 2000.

Available Regional Workshop and Assessment Reports



Great Lakes

Great Plains (Central)

Gulf Coast

Metro East Coast


Native Peoples/Homeland

New England

Pacific Islands

Pacific Northwest

Rocky Mountain/Great Basin