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Interagency efforts are supporting preparedness and safety measures for critical transportation infrastructure. Dust storms in the Southwest can create dangerous and deadly driving conditions, reducing visibility to near zero with very little warning. Interstate 10 is especially vulnerable to dangerous dust-related driving conditions as it passes through a dry lake bed west of Lordsburg near the Arizona border. To help reduce dust-related risks, the NOAA Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISA) program and the DOT Federal Highway Administration coordinated with the National Weather...
Cities & Infrastructure
Coordinated experiments run across major Earth system models help improve model projections and advance climate science understanding. Projections of the future state of the Earth system can differ significantly across models, with various potential sources of uncertainty. To better understand the sources of difference and where fundamental scientific understanding can be improved, the Earth system modeling community uses a set of experiments run across many models known as the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP). CMIP is an ongoing effort, now in its sixth phase (CMIP6), and is...
Modeling
Scientists are using satellites to collect detailed data on forest change in remote parts of Alaska and the Arctic. Rapid warming in the Arctic and boreal regions of Alaska is affecting boreal forests and tundra ecosystems in a number of ways. Higher temperatures and changes in precipitation have led to a higher incidence of wildfire and increased tree mortality from drought, insects, and disease. Increases in the length of the growing season and the amount of energy produced by vegetation have also been observed. While tracking how climate changes are affecting vegetation in these vast...
Arctic Ecosystems & Biodiversity Land Use & Land Cover Observations
USGCRP co-led an international group of funders and implementers in initiating development of a collaborative research action. The Belmont Forum is an international partnership between national research funding agencies and international science organizations focused on advancing transdisciplinary global change science and accelerating its application. Its Collaborative Research Actions (CRAs) combine natural science, social science, and stakeholder perspectives to produce knowledge for understanding and responding to global environmental change. In November 2017, the Belmont Forum approved a...
International
Strong engagement efforts help ensure that USGCRP assessment products are relevant and accessible to users. USGCRP recently finalized the fourth installment of the National Climate Assessment (NCA4). Volume I (the Climate Science Special Report , see Highlight 16) was released in November 2017, and Volume II ( Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States ) was released in late 2018. A technical input to the sustained assessment process, the Second State of the Carbon Cycle Report (SOCCR2), was also released in late 2018. To ensure that these assessments provide relevant, usable science...
National Climate Assessment
Collaboration across the modeling community supports critical experiments and scientific advancement. U.S. climate modeling centers play a central role in understanding and predicting global change on seasonal to centennial timescales. They are engaged in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP), which produces climate projections underpinning the assessments conducted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the U.S. National Climate Assessment. Models developed by these centers are designed for different purposes, from providing operational forecast information to...
Modeling
Climate and health assessment information has been shared widely through a number of platforms and formats, including a Spanish translation of the report overview. In April 2016, the USGCRP released The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment , a groundbreaking report detailing the major risks and vulnerabilities to human health posed by climate change. Since its release, the report has received over 270,000 visits to its website and over 20,000 downloads. Much of this success is the result of outreach efforts by the USGCRP and member agencies...
Human Health
Earth system models allow researchers to evaluate the size and strength of various influences on the climate system and identify the human contribution to the warming trend. Earth system models allow researchers to distinguish “internal” climate variability (natural climate cycles) from the effects of “external” influences on the climate, both human and natural (including variations in incoming solar energy, volcanic eruptions, and greenhouse gas emissions from human activities). Model simulations of natural variability from the late 1800s to the present (see figure, orange curves) do not...
Modeling
Analysis of the costs and benefits of switching to paddy rice production suggests that farmers could increase profits while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Drainage of organic soils for agriculture has resulted in widespread soil subsidence (sinkage relative to surrounding areas) and increased greenhouse gas emissions. The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta in California, once an expansive wetland, was drained and converted to agricultural production in the mid-1800s, and has since experienced subsidence rates that are among the highest in the world. Upland crops there are grown on rapidly...
Agriculture & Food Mitigation
An observing campaign on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is improving understanding of influences on recent ice loss and the implications for future sea level rise. Antarctica holds the largest reservoir of ice on Earth and is significant contributor to sea level rise. The West Antarctic Ice Sheet, once considered relatively stable, has shed an increasing amount of ice into the surrounding ocean in recent years as the climate in the region has warmed rapidly [ 1 ] [ 2 ]. The ice sheet would cause significant sea level rise if it collapses completely, but scientists do not yet understand when or...
Antarctica Observations Physical Climate