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January 11, 2013

Get Ready! The Draft National Climate Assessment Report Available for Public Review

The National Climate Assessment Development Advisory Committee (NCADAC) reached consensus this morning to release its draft National Climate Assessment, a major report on the impacts of climate disruption on the United States. The report will be available online later this afternoon, but I had the opportunity to attend the advisory committee meeting and want to share some key points. John Holdren, Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Jane Lubchenco, Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, also blogged about the draft assessment in a whitehouse.gov post called, “Expanding the Climate Change Conversation.”

The report fulfills the requirements of the Global Change Research Act of 1990, which says an assessment of climate disruption must be provided to the President and Congress every four years. The report is coordinated by the U.S. Global Change Research Program, a 13-agency working group. But it is written by NCADAC, an advisory committee that consists of 60 scientists and other experts.

Interesting tidbits from the report:

  • The U.S. could experience more than 25 days a year with temperatures in the triple digits by 2100 in the high emissions scenario.

Assessment1

[Projected numbers of summer days per year (regional averages) with 16 temperatures greater than 100°F under a lower-emissions scenario in which emissions of 17 heat-trapping gases are substantially reduced (B1) and a higher-emissions scenario in 18 which emissions continue to grow (A2). Historical data are for 1971-2000 (farthest left 19 bar in plots). Projections shown are 30-year averages centered on 2035, 2055, and 2085 20 (bars left to right). Historical data and projections are data from CMIP3. (Figure source: 21 NOAA NCDC / CICS-NC. Data from CMIP3 Daily Statistically Downscaled.)]
Climate disruption will amplify some of the existing health threats the nation now faces. For example, the changes will expand the habitat for the tick that transmits and infects Americans with Lyme disease.

Assessment2

[The maps show the projected change in suitable habitat for the tick that transmits Lyme disease for the 2020s, 2050s, and 2080s. The areas in orange are 4 projected to be newly suitable habitat for the tick, with this expansion including Illinois, 5 Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas, and 6 Nebraska by 2080. Parts of Florida, Mississippi, and Texas are projected to see a 7 reduction in suitable habitat by 2080. (Ogden et al. 2008).]

How can you make a comment?

During the 90-day public review period, local officials, scientists, and citizens can make a comment on the assessment. If you have important considerations and comments on the draft assessment, you can comment via the online comment form.

If you live near one of the following places, you can attend a town hall event or look for other ways to get involved through your local Sierra Club chapters. These events will be a chance for local scientists, elected officials, and citizens to comment on the report.

  • San Diego, CA – January 18, 2013. More information here.
  • Syracuse, NY – January 23, 2013. More information here.
  • Lincoln, NE – February 4, 2013. More information here.
  • Anchorage, AK – February 5, 2013. As a part of Alaska Forum on the Environment, register here.
  • Ann Arbor, MI – February 12, 2013. More information here.
  • Tampa, FL – February 19, 2013. More information here.
  • Portland, OR – March 12, 2013. More information here.

-- Liz Perera, Senior Washington Representative. Liz has a master’s degree in public health.

 

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