THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
July 29, 2014
FACT SHEET: Empowering America’s Agricultural Sector and Strengthening Food Resilience through the President’s Climate Data Initiative
“My administration will work with tech innovators and launch new challenges under our Climate Data Initiative, focused initially on rising sea levels and their impact on the coasts, but ultimately focused on how all these changes in weather patterns are going to have an impact up and down the United States…and how do we start preparing for that.” – President Obama, remarks on the California Drought, February 14, 2014.
In March 2014, the Obama Administration unveiled the Climate Data Initiative—a key deliverable of the President’s Climate Action Plan to cut carbon pollution in America, prepare communities for the impacts of climate change, and lead international efforts to address this global challenge. The Climate Data Initiative leverages the Federal Government’s vast and open data resources to stimulate the kinds of innovation and entrepreneurship that can empower America’s communities and businesses to take action against climate change and prepare for the future.
Today, building on the Climate Data Initiative’s initial focus on coastal resilience, the Obama Administration is unveiling the Initiative’s “Food Resilience” theme, aimed at empowering America’s agricultural sector and strengthening the resilience of the global food system in a changing climate.
The National Climate Assessment, released in May, 2014, confirms that climate disruptions to agriculture have been increasing, are projected to become more severe over this century, and that climate-change effects on agriculture will have consequences for food security, both nationally and globally, through changes in crop yields and food prices, as well as effects on food processing, storage, transportation, and retailing.
That’s why the Obama Administration is working to connect farmers, food distributors, and agricultural businesses with the data, tools, and information they need to understand how climate change impacts—such as more intense heat waves, heavier downpours, and severe droughts and wildfires out west—are affecting their operations today and steps they can take to both prepare for and help fight climate change.
To continue momentum under the Climate Data Initiative, the Obama Administration is today renewing the President’s call to America’s private-sector innovators to leverage open government data and other resources to build tools that will make the U.S. and global food systems more resilient against the impacts of climate change. In response to this call, today’s launch includes a number of commitments by Federal agencies and private-sector collaborators to combat climate change and support food resilience through data-driven innovation.
- Convening Agriculture and Technology Leaders at the White House. Today, Senior Obama Administration officials are meeting at the White House with representatives of leading food, agriculture and technology businesses to discuss ways these companies are leveraging open government data, related information tools, and other innovations to improve the resilience of the U.S. and global food system and reduce the contributions of food production to climate change.
- New Features on climate.data.gov. The Obama Administration is today unveiling an expanded climate.data.gov to include new pages and features that make data about the risks of climate change to food production, supply, nutrition, and security more open and accessible to innovators, entrepreneurs, and researchers. Through a collaboration between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and other Federal agency partners, hundreds of datasets, web services, and tools on these topics and more are being made accessible through climate.data.gov, including data from the Census of Agriculture, current and historical data on production, supply, and distribution of agricultural products, and data on climate-change-related risks such as storms, pests, and drought. The Administration is also expanding climate.data.gov to include datasets from climate models, projecting potential future climate impacts.
- Hosting Agriculture-Innovation Workshops.The Obama Administration will host and participate in a series of innovation workshops focused on data-driven innovation at the nexus of climate-change and agriculture, including:
- On July 30, USDA will host two innovation workshops in Washington, DC, one with young and beginning farmers and another with food distributors, to spur the development of creative information-technology tools that can help farmers and those in the food supply chain to prepare for climate-change impacts.
- On August 1, USDA and NYU’s Governance Lab (GovLab) will host an Open Data event in Washington, DC, focused on food resilience and climate change, as well as preparedness for food emergencies. The event will encourage dialogue between government agencies and the businesses and organizations that use their data, in support of the goals of the Climate Data Initiative.
- On August 5, concurrent with the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Government, IBM, and partners of the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition Initiative will host a data-innovation event focused on developing technological innovations based on open data that can help address global food security and nutrition in Africa.
- Principles for Responsible Investment. The United-Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) has formed an investor group made up of Rockefeller & Co. and five European-based institutional investors (PGGM, Aberdeen Asset Management, Hermes, MN, and Nordea) to address the risks from climate change to companies with agricultural supply chains – including in the food, beverage, and apparel sectors. Using data from the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) Water Risk Filter mapping tool and Pricewaterhouse Coopers’ (PwC) ESCHER model, the investor group will engage approximately 50 major companies in constructive dialogue to increase resilience to water risks and foster more informed investment decision-making. PRI and the investor group are launching an Investor Guidance Document and issuing a call to action to support the effort to PRI’s 1260 global signatories representing more than $45 trillion USD in assets.
- Microsoft. In support of the President’s Climate Data Initiative’s, Microsoft and USDA will co-host a series of workshops, webinars, and an app-athon aimed at demonstrating the value of open-data and data-driven tools to boost climate preparedness and resilience in the agricultural sector. Microsoft and USDA will also jointly launch a climate-change-focused Innovation Challenge to inspire the development of new tools and services that harness data available via data.gov, as well as an initial collection of USDA datasets that will be made available through Microsoft’s Azure Marketplace. Microsoft Research will issue a special request for proposals focused on food resilience and climate change and grant 12 months of free cloud-computing resources to 20 awardees whose proposals are submitted by Sept. 15, 2014 through the Azure for Research program.
- Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. Through the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, the U.S. dairy industry is today committing to advance a series of science-based efforts, including additional research to understand and optimize dairy’s role in a resilient, efficient, and sustainable food system, as well as testing and piloting four new Farm Smart modules—energy, feed, nutrient, and herd management—by the end of 2014. Farm Smart is a data-driven online tool that helps dairy farmers assess their farm’s environmental footprint; explore the potential environmental value and cost-effectiveness of on-farm innovations; and communicate progress.
- The U.S. Water Partnership. Recognizing that open data can help inform actions to meet the growing water crisis in regions at home and abroad, the U.S. Water Partnership (USWP) will deploy a web-based portal called “H2InfO” during World Water Week on September 2, 2014, to increase access to high quality US-based water- and drought- information resources. In addition, the U.S. Water Partnership will develop a virtual community of practice to share data, experiences, lessons, and best practices and will convene an in-person technical dialogue for community members and other key public and private stakeholders to create a two-way exchange of expertise on drought preparedness and water resilience.
- IBM. IBM is announcing an expansion of its philanthropic World Community Grid program, which enables members of the public to donate their computer or mobile device’s unused computing power to scientists. The expansion will provide scientists studying climate change topics including staple food crops and water management with free access to dedicated virtual supercomputing resources and a platform to engage the public on their research. Each researcher will have access to up to 100,000 years of computing time, a value of $60m in today’s costs. IBM is inviting researchers to submit project proposals and members of the public to donate their unused computing power to these efforts at worldcommunitygrid.org.
- GoodCompanyVentures. During the summer of 2015,GoodCompanyVentures will launch Climate Ventures 2.0, a project to source, accelerate, and deploy entrepreneurial solutions to climate-change preparedness in collaboration with the Wharton Social Impact Initiative, the Impact Hub, and the MIT Climate CoLab. Over a nine-month period, Climate Ventures 2.0 will provide mentoring, design consulting, and access to capital for 10 high-potential teams working on ongoing climate data innovation challenges, such as those issued by NASA and MIT. Climate Ventures 2.0 will focus on innovations that leverage scientific and government data to enhance climate change preparedness in areas such as food security, agriculture, flood, and drought.
- The Coca-Cola Company. To help reduce the company’s environmental footprint across its value chain, the Coca-Cola Company is committing to rapidly expand the application of the Field-to-Market program and its data-driven tool to quantify water use, fertilizer use, energy use, greenhouse emissions and more. By the end of 2014, Coca-Cola will launch major initiatives with two of its four leading suppliers to implement this commitment. By the end of 2015, Coca-Cola will aim to engage farmers representing 250,000 acres, and by 2020, up to 1 million acres—equating to roughly 50% of the company’s global corn supply.
- World Wildlife Fund. In support of the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF’s) collaboration with the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), WWF is combining detailed agricultural, water, and economic data from its Water Risk Filter to help the PRI’s 1000+ signatories better assess and manage water risks in the agro-commodity supply chains of portfolio companies. WWF will work with leading technology partners to make public and leverage detailed datasets that include more than 15,000 agricultural-crop/water-basin combinations in order to empower industry, financiers, and policy-makers as they work to strengthen global water stewardship, food security, and climate resilience.
- The Agricultural Model Intercomparison & Improvement Program and the Center for Integrated Modeling of Sustainable Agriculture and Nutrition Security. The Agricultural Model Intercomparison & Improvement Program (AgMIP) and the Center for Integrated Modeling of Sustainable Agriculture and Nutrition Security (CIMSANS), in partnership with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), are announcing a new public-private partnership on open data and open-source code modeling to enhance the climate-resilience of food systems. The new partnershipwill secure the resources and expertise necessary to evaluate seven novel nutrition and sustainability metrics of global food systems, including all of the world’s important staple and non-staple foods, through the year 2050.
- Amazon Web Services. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is today launching the Amazon Climate Research Grant program and a call for proposals designed to drive innovativeclimate-change research with a focus on computational analysis. In early September 2014, AWS will award grants of free access to supercomputing resources through Amazon EC2 Spot Instances. By providing grants totaling 50 million core hours, AWS is enabling researchers to accelerate research that can result in an improved understanding of the scope and effects of climate change, and analyses that could suggest potential mitigating actions. Early results of the program will publish in November 2014. Expanding upon AWS’s participation in the Open NASA Earth eXchange (NEX), this program will also accelerate the development of open climate data and software resources. Details can be found here.
- National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center at the University of Maryland. The National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) at the University of Maryland is committing to fund 25 early-career scholars to address critical, actionable research questions on the resilience of food systems to climate change. Advanced Ph.D. students and scholars fewer than two years post-Ph.D. with relevant interests will be invited to apply through an open call. Successful candidates will participate in workshops in which SESYNC and USDA computational experts guide participants in a highly interactive and dynamic process of data discovery, analysis, and visualization, and will be invited to submit proposals for interdisciplinary team projects. SESYNC will fund up to six teams as well as a postdoctoral fellow with expertise in food systems research to undertake and help coordinate research for the program.
- PepsiCo. PepsiCo is announcing the installation of a 1.7 megawatt solar photovoltaic system designed to supply 3.3 million kilowatt hours of renewable energy for the company’s Gatorade manufacturing operations in Tolleson, Arizona. Over the 25 year life of the project, this initiative will prevent the release of approximately 50,000 tons of carbon and other greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. PepsiCo will use data from this solar project to help inform future solar installations and projects as the company works to meet its goal of achieving an absolute reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
- Esri. Esri will work with USDA, GEOGLAM, CGIAR and others to expose and unlock authoritative data as live data feeds across dimensions of agricultural production, risk and trade. In the fall of 2014, Esri will host an Executive White Boarding session to target the development of common information products (maps, apps and templates) needed to address specific needs in the domain of climate, society, and agriculture.
- Michigan Agri-Business Association. In August 2014, the Michigan Agri-Business Association will launch a publicly-available web-based mapping tool for use by the state’s agriculture sector. This platform will incorporate Federal, state, and local data that could prove useful to farmers, rural businesses, conservationists and economic development professionals. Resulting maps will aggregate soil, water, meteorological and infrastructure GIS data that can be compared and visualized to meet the needs of a particular project. It is anticipated that this tool will be particularly useful for planning future agricultural activities in response to climate change in Michigan.
- Sustainable Development Solutions Network and Columbia University Earth Institute. The Sustainable Development Solutions Network is announcing a new initiative on Healthy and Sustainable Diets that will include efforts to build datasets that enable the analysis of food and nutrition security achievements across landscape-level scenarios and rural livelihoods. The Center on Globalization and Sustainable Development (CGSD) in Columbia’s Earth Institute, as a partner in the Agriculture and Food Systems group of the Network, is committing to provide this initiative with tools, research, and policy support to address these challenges in a global context.
- SWIIM System. SWIIM System, Ltd. will develop an application using USDA Quickstats data that will allow users to easily view trends in water use by irrigated agriculture as climate changes occur and as water transfers from agricultural to municipal and industrial (M&I) uses take place. This new application will allow users to explore the consequences of future climate- and water-use scenarios to water available for crop production, and will educate the user on effects of water transfer and climate change on irrigated agriculture on a localized basis. The application will be made available on the SWIIM client page and its parent website. Development is expected to commence in August 2014 and completed within approximately six months.
- Nestle. Nestlé will review and expand the scope of its public commitments on climate change leadership (detailed in the Nestlé in Society report), setting greenhouse-gas reduction targets that are based upon science and incorporating both absolute-carbon and carbon-intensity aspects. Nestlé will also incorporate climate change provisions into its responsible sourcing & traceability program, will engage in further water stewardship programs, and will extend education and training within its Farmer Connect initiative regarding good farming practices and water stewardship. Nestlé’s nutritional profiling tool (which can be used to link nutritional value calculations to calculations of environmental impact) and related data will be made available outside Nestlé through the publication of algorithms for nutritional assessments in peer reviewed scientific journals, the sharing of data on Life Cycle Inventories, and other mechanisms.
- Rock and Wrap it Up. Rock and Wrap It Up! (RWU) is launching an updated Whole Earth Calculator, a simple mobile app that resides on a mobile-friendly website and can be used on both mobile and laptop/desktop devices. Using EPA datasets and based on information from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and USDA, the Whole Earth Calculator converts the total pounds of paper products and plastics that are diverted from landfills into the amount of carbon dioxide that is not produced as a result – and then sends this information to social media (Twitter). The tool can also be used to convert total pounds of donated food into meal equivalents and total CO2-averted equivalents.
- Monsanto. Monsanto is announcing that it will donate a multi-site/multi-year maize breeding trial dataset to open data portals maintained by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the Agricultural Model Intercomparison & Improvement Project (AgMIP). Opening these data will it make it possible for public- and private-sector scientists to improve models being used to understand how climate and water-availability changes will impact crop productivity and therefore food security. Monsanto is also partnering with a number of external scientists in the AgMIP community to improve one of the leading publicly available crop-growth simulation models (AgMaize).
- HabitatSeven and Quandl: HabitatSeven is announcing a partnership with the data platform Quandl to combine Federal climate-impact data with private-sector commodity and supply-chain data. Through this partnership, visualization tools will be developed for private-sector decision makers, investors, and commodity traders to incorporate climate risks and opportunities into commodity prices and resilience strategies.
- The Climate Corporation: The Climate Corporation has launched a free online and mobile service called Climate Basic that provides farmers with hyper-local weather information to help them identify the impact of recent and current weather conditions on their fields. To enable the development of additional data science driven tools and services to help farmers increase production to meet increasing global demand, the company helped found the Open Ag Data Alliance (OADA), an open source software project to ensure farmers have full data access across different agriculture technology platforms. The Climate Corporation is today committing resources to support OADA’s work, as well as code development to enable farmers to fully leverage their data.
- Center for Robust Decision Making on Climate and Energy Policy at the University of Chicago. The Center for Robust Decision Making on Climate and Energy Policy (RDCEP), a research center at the Computation Institute of the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory, is announcing several new tools to expand access to the data and methods used by experts to understand climate change and its impacts. The RDCEP climate emulator, enables users to work in their own web browser with output data from state-of-the-art climate models that typically require powerful supercomputers. ATLAS, which will launch this fall, will enable users to explore climate impact data on global food security and land use. Additional web tools make up RDCEP’s FACE-IT platform, which will be adapted later this year for use by researchers in seven countries, including China, Nigeria, and India, to model and understand local climate risks and vulnerabilities in food supply, agriculture, and economics. Preliminary versions of these applications will be unveiled at the African Food Systems in the Information Age forum in Ibadan, Nigeria, on August 28-30, 2014.
- Kellogg Company and University of Minnesota. The Global Landscapes Initiative at the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment is committing to openly share data and maps that illustrate how climate change affects risks to major crops within the food system. In conjunction with this commitment, Kellogg Company is committing to use these agricultural data and climate-related maps to foster geographically relevant implementation in its global sourcing. Kellogg Company, the Global Landscape Initiative, and other partners will use climate data, research, and assessments to guide education and actions that help create efficient, adaptable, and sustainable supply chains, as well as identify information gaps and needs to improve the resilience of the agricultural sector to climate change.
- American Red Cross and Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre: To better help communities in East and Southern Africa prepare for climate and weather related events, the American Red Cross and the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre are committing to scale up the distribution and use of their participatory games to communicate risk information. This scale-up will bring Climate Centre game designers, trainers, and facilitators to more places served by American Red Cross in the developing world. It will focus initially on a river basin in East or Southern Africa and will help to ensure that communities are better prepared to respond to flood warnings. This experience will be documented and made publicly available on the Climate Centre website and the Global Disaster Preparedness Center website.
- Mars, Incorporated: Mars, Incorporated, will continue to make major investments in science, including in areas such as food safety and plant science, to create resilienceacross its agricultural supply chains, improve safety, quality, resource management, and yields. Mars, Inc. will also continue to invest in renewable energy resources. For example, the company has recently invested in a 200 megawatt wind farm in Lamesa, Texas that will provide energy equal to the needs of its North America offices and factories.
- Walmart. Walmart is committing to the ongoing use of data to help set priorities for future actions to reduce greenhouse gases, including meeting the company’s 2020 goal of driving the production or procurement of 7 billion kWh of renewable energy globally every year and reducing the kWh/sq. ft. energy intensity required to power Walmart’s buildings globally by 20 percent compared to 2010 levels. Walmart will use data-driven tools such as the Sustainability Index to measure, track, and identify hot spots in its overall supply chain and provide buyers with transparency into the key impacts, such as greenhouse gas emissions, of the products they source. In addition, Walmart recently announced a partnership with eight of the largest food companies to help ensure that tomorrow’s food supply is more sustainable, including by bringing an additional eight million acres of farmland into sustainability agriculture programs.
- UN Global Pulse: In May 2014, United Nations Global Pulse hosted its first Big Data Climate Challenge, calling for cutting-edge examples of how scientists, researchers, and citizens are using big data and analytics to address social, economic and environmental challenges. Submissions were received from 40 countries, representing over 20 disciplines, including agriculture. UN Global Pulse will fly winners of the Challenge to the upcoming Climate Summit on September 24th in New York City and their work will be showcased prominently in front of media, decision-makers and civil society. In addition, Global Pulse will work with partners to summarize the results of the Big Data Climate Challenge in a report that maps the intersection of big data and climate change to build global understanding of how big data can reveal critical insights for strengthening resilience, including in the agriculture sector.
Climate Data in Action:
In addition to the food- and agriculture-focused commitments launching today, a host of new and ongoing efforts continue to broadly advance the President’s Climate Data Initiative, including:
- iSeeChange and Berkeley Atmospheric C02 Observation Network collaboration: The public media platform iSeeChange and the Berkeley Atmospheric CO2 Observation Network (BEACO2N) are launching a new collaborative project to develop a pilot citizen-science story-corps to help monitor carbon emissions in the San Francisco Bay area and Oakland. Combining BEACO2N’s network of carbon sensors, most mounted atop local schools and museums in the Bay Area, and iSeeChange’s digital platform and public media partners, the collaboration will create an information network to monitor local carbon emissions, produce stories that effectively match data and local impacts over time, and more. The partnership will kick off its work at the AAAS Citizen Science Workshop scheduled for February 2014.
- UCLA Luskin Center and EDF: The UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation and Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) are releasing the newest version of the Los Angeles Solar and Efficiency Report (LASER)—a data-driven mapping tool designed to help communities identify opportunities to invest in projects that will save households money, create clean energy jobs and strengthen climate resilience. The tool illustrates existing pollution and climate change impacts at a community level, and illustrates “hot spots” ripe for rooftop solar investment and energy efficiency building potential at the parcel level.
- Trust for Public Land: The Trust for Public Land will commit new organizational resources through the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology to help America’s cities lessen their vulnerability to climate-related heat events. Specifically, over the next two years the Trust for Public Land will help fill national gaps in heat-risk spatial data and modeling for cities, expand its Urban Heat Risk Explorer App to new cities, and develop a heat risk reduction GIS toolkit to help cities strategicallytarget green infrastructure for heat resilience.
For more information about steps the Obama Administration is taking to act on climate change, please visit www.whitehouse.gov/climate-change.
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
FACT SHEET: The President’s Climate Data Initiative: Empowering America’s Communities to Prepare for the Effects of Climate Change
“Climate change is a fact. And when our children’s children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with new sources of energy, I want us to be able to say yes, we did.”– President Barack Obama, State of the Union Address, January 28, 2014
Last June, President Obama launched a Climate Action Plan to cut carbon pollution, prepare communities for the impacts of climate change, and lead international efforts to address this global challenge. The plan recognizes that even as we act to curb the carbon pollution that is driving climate change, we must also prepare our citizens and communities for the climate impacts that are already underway across the country.
Delivering on a commitment in the President’s Climate Action Plan, the Obama Administration is today launching the Climate Data Initiative—a broad effort to leverage the Federal Government’s extensive, freely-available climate-relevant data resources to stimulate innovation and private-sector entrepreneurship in support of national climate-change preparedness.
President Obama is committed to ensuring that communities across America have access to the information and tools they need to protect themselves from harm today and potential damage in the future. This means connecting regional and city planners, resource managers, farmers, hospitals, and businesses with data-driven tools to help them better understand, manage, and prepare for the real-world impacts associated with climate change. Maps of future sea-level rise, for instance, can help builders decide where to break ground out of harm’s way, while other online tools can help water utility operators identify potential threats to the local water supply.
Insights gathered from data can help communities and businesses better understand and manage the risks associated with climate change. However, taking data about climate that is collected by satellites and scientific equipment and turning it into easy-to-use information and tools takes analysis, innovation, and cutting-edge technology expertise.
Through the Climate Data Initiative, the Obama Administration is today issuing a call to America’s top private-sector innovators to leverage open government data resources and other datasets to build tools that will make America’s communities more resilient to climate change and to forge cross-sector partnerships to make those tools as useful as possible. In response to this call to action, today’s launch includes a number of commitments by Federal agencies and private-sector partners:
The Climate Data Initiative builds on two significant Administration commitments: (1) to strengthen America’s resilience to climate change, and (2) to make government-held data more accessible to the public, entrepreneurs, researchers, and others as fuel for innovation and economic growth. New steps by the Administration include:
- Launch of climate.data.gov. With leadership from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Administration is launching climate.data.gov—a new climate-focused section of Data.gov, the Federal Government’s open data platform, hosted by the General Services Administration, that will make Federal data about our climate more open, accessible, and useful to citizens, researchers, entrepreneurs, and innovators. Climate.data.gov will initially focus on coastal flooding and sea level rise in its beta phase, and already includes more than 100 curated, high-quality datasets, web services, and tools that can be leveraged by innovators to help communities prepare for the future. Over time, these data and resources will expand to provide information on other climate-relevant threats, such as to human health, energy infrastructure, and our food supply.
- Launch of NASA and NOAA Innovation Challenge on Coastal Vulnerability and Preparedness. Today, NOAA and NASA are launching an innovation challenge to encourage entrepreneurs, technologists, and developers to create and deploy data-driven visualizations and simulations that help people understand their exposure to coastal-inundation hazards and other vulnerabilities. This “Coastal Flooding Challenge” will culminate in a two-day event on April 12-13, 2014, as part of broader activities around the International Space Apps Challenge—a global mass collaboration inviting teams of problem-solvers to leverage publicly available data to design innovative solutions for global challenges.
- Release of New Infrastructure and Geographic Map Data Relevant to Climate-Preparedness. To help communities and citizens plan for the risks of coastal flooding and other climate-change-related impacts, the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of Defense, and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency are releasing today a collection of datasets containing mapping information about hundreds of thousands of the Nation’s infrastructure units and geographical features, including bridges, roads, railroad tunnels, canals, and river gauges. Providing wider access to these data to mission partners and the general public can advance preparedness for climate change impacts and other disasters. These data, which have been reviewed by DHS, DoD, USGS, and NGA and deemed non-sensitive, are being made available via user-friendly mapping services on Geoplatform.gov and Climate.data.gov.
- NOAA Request for Information on Increasing Access to Environmental Data: To increase access to and use of its vast library of environmental data, NOAA has issued a request for information (RFI) seeking comment from industry, non-profits, research laboratories, universities, and private-sector partners to help make NOAA’s vast data holdings available in a rapid, scalable manner to the public. Of the 20 terabytes of data NOAA gathers each day only a small percentage is easily accessible to the public. Through the RFI, American companies will be able to provide potential solutions for NOAA to turn this untapped information into usable products or services. Respondents have until March 24, 2014, to submit a written statement of interest, including a proposed way forward.
- Support for Climate Data & Tools in the President’s Budget. Recognizing the critical importance of data and information to meet the challenge of climate change, the President’s proposed FY15 Budget includes support for State, local, and tribal preparedness efforts, analysis of vulnerabilities of critical infrastructure, and development and dissemination of better information and planning tools, including the Climate Resilience Toolkit and Climate Data Initiative. The Budget also includes a new $1 billion Climate Resilience Fund, within a fully paid for $56 billion Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative, that expands on existing climate-change preparedness programs to ensure we are doing everything we can to support the safety and security of our communities and resources. The Fund will help us better understand and prepare for climate change by investing in research and unlocking data and information, including new sea-level rise analyses.
- Expanding Stakeholder Outreach & Engagement. The White House, NASA, NOAA, and other Federal agencies will convene innovators, community leaders, scientists, communicators, and citizens to identify needs for data and data-driven tools, spur innovative collaborations and partnerships, and get feedback on how to best make data, information tools, and other resources on climate change available and useful to people, businesses, and communities. This process began today with two collaborative stakeholder workshops during which climate and technology experts will brainstorm innovative new climate resilience tools and ways to provide increased data-access to wide audiences. These workshops will precede the public launch.
Private Sector Commitments
- Esri: Providing Communities with Map-Based Planning Tools and Collaboration Platforms. Esri is unveiling a new two-part initiative to help communities more effectively build climate-resilience. First, Esri will develop and publish a series of free and open “maps and apps” developed in partnership with 12 cities that help address the most urgent climate-relevant needs shared among thousands of users of Esri’s ArcGIS platform—such as preparing for droughts, heat waves, or flooding. Second, Esri is announcing today a climate-focused geo-collaboration portal—an online destination to discover, contribute, and share resources critical to confronting the impacts of climate change. Additionally, Esri recently announced, during one of the largest gatherings of GIS developers and in response to the President’s call to action, a Climate Resilience App Challenge to inspire more than 2,500 developers to focus their creative attention on creating mapping and analytical tools that help communities see, understand, and prepare for climate risks. Prizes will be awarded and the resulting apps will be openly shared in July.
- Intel Corporation: Fostering Regional Partnerships and Hosting Hackathons to Boost the Development of Climate Resilience Tools. Intel Corporation, as part of its Code for Good program, is announcing its sponsorship of three regional partnerships including “hackathon” events focused on climate resilience in the Chesapeake Bay, New Orleans, and San Jose. In each location, Intel will join with local partners to convene teams of engineering and computer science students, and other interested local citizens, and challenge them to develop new software applications and tools to make good use of available data sets related to climate -change resilience. Each hackathon will have a focus area tailored to priorities of its host community, with an emphasis on driving a sense of local ownership of the tools that emerge from the event. These tools will be broadly communicated and made available for use in other localities.
- Google: Providing Vast Cloud Computing Resources to Spur Creation of High-Resolution Drought and Flood Mapping, Apps, and Tools for Climate Risk Resilience Google is today announcing it will donate significant cloud computing and storage resources to support the creation of global, high-resolution maps, tools, and data products that will be made freely available to the public to help manage the risks of extreme heat, drought, sea-level rise and flooding. Google is committing to provide one petabyte (1,000 terabytes) of cloud storage to house satellite observations, digital elevation data, and climate and weather model datasets drawn from government open data and contributed by scientists as well as 50 million hours of high performance cloud computing on the Google Earth Engine geospatial analysis platform. To leverage these resources, Google is announcing today new partnerships with the Desert Research Institute, the University of Idaho, and the University of Nebraska to (1) provide drought mapping and monitoring for the entire continental United States in near real-time and (2) model water consumption from vegetation across the entire planet. To better manage climate-related flooding, Google is also challenging the innovation community to leverage these vast cloud computing resources by collaborating in the development of an open and freely available global terrain model at unprecedented resolution – one petabyte of storage could support better than 1 meter resolution which will help the public and planners worldwide better anticipate and map the risks of coastal floods and other disasters. Google is also committing to support analysis and visualization of these scientific data to make information about impacts such as sea-level rise, storm surges, extreme heat, and drought easily accessible to the public.
- CartoDB: Announcing New Grants Program to Support Creation of Data-Driven Tools. CartoDB will launch a grants program to support foundations and nonprofits in creating data-driven tools or efforts with respect to helping communities, companies, or citizens with resilience and preparedness for climate change impacts such as flooding, drought, and heat waves. The company will solicit grant applications and offer between $50 and $3500 for successful applications to be used on CartoDB infrastructure to help make climate resilience apps or projects possible. The money is to be spent in a year, but funded projects are free to reapply in the future.
- Climate Central: Releasing New Web Tools to Assess Local-Scale Sea Level Rise. Climate Central will release a free web tool providing local projections, maps, and assessments of exposure to sea level rise and coastal flooding tabulated for every coastal zip code, municipality, county, and state in the U.S., along with planning, legislative and other geographic districts. Exposure assessments will cover more than 100 demographic, economic, infrastructure and environmental variables using data drawn mainly from federal sources, including NOAA, USGS, FEMA, DOT, DOE, DOI, EPA, FCC and the Census. Climate Central has already developed its Surging Seas Risk Finder tool for Florida, New Jersey, and New York, which is geared toward city, state, and Federal planners, and commits to completing the balance of coastal states this year. Climate Central will conduct at least 100 more informational webinars and briefings with officials, planners and other stakeholders across the country in 2014.
- Microsoft Research: Providing Climate Scientists with New Tools and Computing Resources. Microsoft Research is announcing a new program to provide climate change scientists and decision-makers free access to cloud computing resources to conduct research and analysis of climate data. Microsoft Research will grant 12 months of free cloud computing resources to 40 awardees selected from project proposals submitted by June 15, 2014. Each award provides up to 180,000 hours of free cloud computing time and 20 Terabytes of cloud storage. Microsoft is also announcing a new, free climate data resource, FetchClimate, for retrieving past and present observations and for future climate-prediction information. FetchClimate will continue to be available as a free intelligent environmental information-retrieval service and will now be adaptable as a cloud-based system that can be re-implemented and adapted to the specific needs of new projects.
- Circle of Blue and Qlik: Developing New Tools and Visualizations to Better Understand Climate Impacts. Circle of Blue, a nonprofit news and science organization, has partnered with Qlik, a data-analytics company, to develop a series of tools to improve understanding of water, food, and energy in a changing climate. Today the two organizations will launch an interactive visual dashboard that analyzes and integrates data into displays of current and past levels of water reservoirs in California, and which can be scaled to compare hyper-local data and research with national and global trends. Current data, particularly water-related, is often compartmentalized and not available in comparative, visual formats. This new interactive display application, will help the public, water managers, and researchers, and others to build more resilient communities and ecosystems by helping the nation better understand, monitor, compare and manage its water supplies in this era of climate change.
- 100 Resilient Cities, an effort Launched by the Rockefeller Foundation: Supplying Data on Local Demand and Market Opportunities for Resilience Tools. 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) is working to build urban resilience in 100 member cities around the world and develop the practice of resilience. As cities work to build resilience, they will demand new resilience-building tools from the marketplace. 100RC will provide to the Climate Data Initiative’s stakeholder engagement community with information from their 100 member cities on which types of resilience tools are most needed and could be most useful to inform efforts and direct investment in areas of greatest need, and pool demand for these tools as a signal to innovators of the market opportunity.
- Code for Philly: Using City Buses to Help Monitor Local Climate Change-Related Pollution. Code for Philly, Code for America’s Philadelphia Brigade, is announcing the development of a new mobile sensor network they aim to run on city buses to gather temperature and pollution data across the city, allowing researchers to track the effects of climate change on and its pollutants in areas across an entire city. This data will be combined with OpenTreeMaps, a platform for crowdsourced tree inventory and urban forestry analysis, to determine the value of trees in combating climate change. The data will also be openly available so developers can incorporate and convey information on local pollution and heat levels in real time to citizens.
- The World Bank: Launching New Initiative for Global Use of Open Data for Climate and Disaster Resilience. The World Bank is launching today a new Field Guide that serves as a model for how communities around the globe can best leverage open data for resilience to disasters and climate change impacts. As part of the World Bank’s Open Data for Resilience Initiative (OpenDRI), the Field Guide builds on work active across more than 20 countries to map millions of buildings and urban infrastructure; open more than 1,000 geospatial datasets to the public; and spur the development of innovative applications based on those data. The OpenDRI Field Guide will be presented at stakeholder workshops and events across the globe. Additionally, to establish a versatile framework for free access to risk data, the World Bank will share the Field Guide and other resources with at least 24 partner countries by 2016.
- Antioch University New England: Creating New Academic Center for Climate Preparedness and Resilience. Antioch University New England (AUNE) is announcing the creation of a new Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience, to be launched later this year. The Center will expand on a decade of AUNE’s climate adaptation research and modeling efforts, community engagement/technical assistance, and professional science sustainable development and climate change education. The launch of the new Center will include a convening in May, 2014, in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, of municipal, county and regional leaders on the frontlines of climate change adaptation, from the upper Chesapeake Bay watershed to Maine, to leverage the data-driven expertise of a wide range of organizations and individuals.
- MIT Climate CoLab: Crowdsourcing Solutions to Global Climate Change Preparedness. The Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT) Center for Collective Intelligence runs the Climate CoLab, an online platform to crowdsource solutions for what to do about global climate change. Over 10,000 people from around the world have registered as members and have submitted more than 400 proposals in contests ranging from how to generate electricity with fewer harmful emissions, to how to increase public understanding about climate change. The MIT Climate CoLab recently launched two global crowdsourcing contests, in line with the White House Climate Data Initiative, to generate solutions to climate change preparedness and resilience: (1) What can be done to adapt to the impacts of climate change? and (2) How can crowdsourcing provide more efficient disaster risk management? To help the public understand the potential impacts of climate change, MIT Climate CoLab’s platform also includes computer simulation models to predict phenomena such as temperature change and sea level rise.
- EcoHack: Launching New Hackahton Climate Data Track. EcoHack, an annual hackathon focused on tackling real scientific and environmental challenges through code, visualization, and hardware hacking, will launch and promote a new dedicated track to support climate data and application hacks. The event will take place this year on May 9 – 10th in New York City, San Francisco, and São Paulo, Brazil. At each of the three locations, organizers will work to identify one or more high-impact climate-relevant products or outcomes resulting from the hackathons—with the goal of creating a finished visualization, app, or website to help expand the reach and impact of these tools.
- Alliance for Water Efficiency: Over the next three years, Alliance for Water Efficiency will provide assistance to communities across the country to help them achieve water use reductions or expand water conservation programs, through webinars, workshops, and new tools. This includes AWE’s Water Conservation Tracking Tool, which enables utilities to evaluate the water savings, costs, and benefits of a variety of conservation programs, and track savings over time. AWE is also announcing it will build over the next three years an Outdoor Water Savings Research Program to produce actionable data on the potential and actual water savings from outdoor conservation measures. AWE will work with at least ten communities to customize and distribute its online Household Water Calculator, which empowers citizens to make better decisions about their water use through data, allowing consumers to calculate their own water use and compare it to a neighboring and water-efficient home, and then receive a personalized efficiency plan to help them use water more wisely.
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
FACT SHEET: What Climate Change Means for Regions across America and Major Sectors of the Economy
“…Science, accumulated and reviewed over decades, tells us that our planet is changing in ways that will have profound impacts on all of humankind…those who are already feeling the effects of climate change don’t have time to deny it—they’re busy dealing with it.”
— President Barack Obama, Remarks at Georgetown University, June 25, 2013.
Today, delivering on a major commitment in the President’s Climate Action Plan, the Obama Administration is unveiling the third U.S. National Climate Assessment—the most comprehensive scientific assessment ever generated of climate change and its impacts across every region of America and major sectors of the U.S. economy.
The findings in this National Climate Assessment underscore the need for urgent action to combat the threats from climate change, protect American citizens and communities today, and build a sustainable future for our kids and grandkids.
Developed over four years by hundreds of the Nation’s top climate scientists and technical experts—and informed by thousands of inputs from the public and outside organizations gathered through town hall meetings, public-comment opportunities, and technical workshops across the country, the third National Climate Assessment represents the most authoritative and comprehensive knowledge base about how climate change is affecting America now, and what’s likely to come over the next century.
And, for the first time, to ensure that American citizens, communities, businesses, and decision makers have easy access to scientific information about climate change impacts that are most relevant to them, the U.S. National Climate Assessment is being released in an interactive, mobile-device-friendly, digital format on www.globalchange.gov.
Today’s announcement is a key deliverable of the Climate Action Plan launched by President Obama last June—which lays out concrete steps to cut carbon pollution, prepare America’s communities for climate-change impacts, and lead international efforts to address this global challenge. The Plan acknowledges that even as we act to reduce the greenhouse-gas pollution that is driving climate change, we must also empower the Nation’s communities, businesses, and individual citizens with the information they need to cope with the changes in climate that are already underway.
Climate-Change Impacts in Regions across America:
• Northeast – Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and District of Columbia: “Sixty-four million people are concentrated in the Northeast. The high-density urban coastal corridor from Washington, DC, north to Boston is one of the most developed environments in the world, containing a massive, complex, and long-standing network of supporting infrastructure. The Northeast also has a vital rural component.” Communities in the Northeast “are affected by heat waves, more extreme precipitation events, and coastal flooding due to sea level rise and storm surge.” (NCA Highlights: Northeast; NCA Highlights: Overview)
• Southeast and Caribbean –Virginia, W. Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, S. Carolina, N. Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Louisiana, and the Caribbean Islands: The Southeast and Caribbean region “is home to more than 80 million people and some of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas… The Gulf and Atlantic coasts are major producers of seafood and home to seven major ports that are also vulnerable. The Southeast is a major energy producer of coal, crude oil, and natural gas.” “Decreased water availability, exacerbated by population growth and land-use change, causes increased competition for water in this region. There are also increased risks associated with extreme events such as hurricanes.” (NCA Highlights: Southeast & Caribbean; NCA Highlights: Overview)
• Midwest – Minnesota, Michigan, Iowa, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, and Wisconsin: “The Midwest’s agricultural lands, forests, Great Lakes, industrial activities, and cities are all vulnerable to climate variability and climate change.” “Longer growing seasons and rising carbon dioxide levels increase yields of some crops, although these benefits have already been offset in some instances by occurrence of extreme events such as heat waves, droughts, and floods.” (NCA Highlights: Midwest; NCA Highlights: Overview
• Great Plains – Wyoming, N. Dakota, S. Dakota, Montana, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas: The Great Plains region “experiences multiple climate and weather hazards, including floods, droughts, severe storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, and winter storms. In much of the Great Plains, too little precipitation falls to replace that needed by humans, plants, and animals. These variable conditions already stress communities and cause billions of dollars in damage. Climate change will add to both stress and costs.” “Rising temperatures lead to increased demand for water and energy and impacts on agricultural practices.” (NCA Highlights: Great Plains; NCA Highlights: Overview)
• Southwest – California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado: “The Southwest is the hottest and driest region in the United States. Climate changes pose challenges for an already parched region that is expected to get hotter and, in its southern half, significantly drier. Increased heat and changes to rain and snowpack will send ripple effects throughout the region… and its critical agriculture sector.” “Drought and increased warming foster wildfires and increased competition for scarce water resources for people and ecosystems.” (NCA Highlights: Southwest; NCA Highlights: Overview)
• Northwest – Idaho, Oregon, and Washington: “The Northwest’s economy, infrastructure, natural systems, public health, and agriculture sectors all face important climate change related risks. Impacts on infrastructure, natural systems, human health, and economic sectors, combined with issues of social and ecological vulnerability, will unfold quite differently in largely natural areas, like the Cascade Range, than in urban areas like Seattle and Portland or among the region’s many Native American Tribes.” “Changes in the timing of streamflow related to earlier snowmelt reduce the supply of water in summer, causing far-reaching ecological and socioeconomic consequences.” (NCA Highlights: Northwest; NCA Highlights: Overview)
• Alaska: “Over the past 60 years, Alaska has warmed more than twice as rapidly as the rest of the United States…The state’s largest industries, energy production, mining, and fishing—are all affected by climate change.” “Rapidly receding summer sea ice, shrinking glaciers, and thawing permafrost cause damage to infrastructure and major changes to ecosystems. Impacts on Alaska Native communities increase.” (NCA Highlights: Alaska; NCA Highlights: Overview)
• Hawaii and Pacific Islands: The U.S. Pacific Islands region “includes more than 2,000 islands spanning millions of square miles of ocean. Rising air and ocean temperatures, shifting rainfall patterns, changing frequencies and intensities of storms and drought, decreasing streamflows, rising sea levels, and changing ocean chemistry will threaten the sustainability of globally important and diverse ecosystems…as well as local communities, livelihoods, and cultures.” “Increasingly constrained freshwater supplies, coupled with increased temperatures, stress both people and ecosystems and decrease food and water security.” (NCA Highlights: Hawaii and the Pacific Islands; NCA Highlights: Overview)
• Coasts: “More than 50% of Americans – 164 million people – live in coastal counties, with 1.2 million added each year… Humans have heavily altered the coastal environment through development, changes in land use, and overexploitation of resources. Now, the changing climate is imposing additional stresses…” “Coastal lifelines, such as water supply infrastructure and evacuation routes are increasingly vulnerable to higher sea levels and storm surges, inland flooding, and other climate-related changes.” (NCA Highlights: Coasts; NCA Highlights: Overview)
Climate-Change Impacts on Key Sectors of Society and the U.S. Economy
• Health: “Climate change threatens human health and well-being in many ways, including through impacts from increased extreme weather events, wildfire, decreased air quality, threats to mental health, and illnesses transmitted by food, water, and disease carriers such as mosquitoes and ticks. Some of these health impacts are already underway in the United States. Climate change will, absent other changes, amplify some of the existing health threats the Nation now faces. Certain people and communities are especially vulnerable, including children, the elderly, the sick, the poor, and some communities of color. Public health actions, especially preparedness and prevention, can do much to protect people from some of the impacts of climate change. Early action provides the largest health benefits.” (NCA Highlights: Human Health)
• Transportation: “The impacts from sea level rise and storm surge, extreme weather events, higher temperatures and heat waves, precipitation changes, Arctic warming, and other climatic conditions are affecting the reliability and capacity of the U.S. transportation system in many ways. Sea level rise, coupled with storm surge, will continue to increase the risk of major coastal impacts on transportation infrastructure, including both temporary and permanent flooding of airports, ports and harbors, roads, rail lines, tunnels, and bridges. Extreme weather events currently disrupt transportation networks in all areas of the country; projections indicate that such disruptions will increase. Climate change impacts will increase the total costs to the Nation’s transportation systems and their users, but these impacts can be reduced through rerouting, mode change, and a wide range of adaptive actions.” (NCA Highlights: Transportation)
• Energy: “Extreme weather events are affecting energy production and delivery facilities, causing supply disruptions of varying lengths and magnitudes and affecting other infrastructure that depends on energy supply. The frequency and intensity of certain types of extreme weather events are expected to change. Higher summer temperatures will increase electricity use, causing higher summer peak loads, while warmer winters will decrease energy demands for heating. Net electricity use is projected to increase. Changes in water availability, both episodic and long-lasting, will constrain different forms of energy production. In the longer term, sea level rise, extreme storm surge events, and high tides will affect coastal facilities and infrastructure on which many energy systems, markets, and consumers depend. As new investments in energy technologies occur, future energy systems will differ from today’s in uncertain ways. Depending on the character of changes in the energy mix, climate change will introduce new risks as well as new opportunities.” (NCA Highlights: Energy Supply and Use)
• Water: “Climate change affects water demand and the ways water is used within and across regions and economic sectors. The Southwest, Great Plains, and Southeast are particularly vulnerable to changes in water supply and demand. Changes in precipitation and runoff, combined with changes in consumption and withdrawal, have reduced surface and groundwater supplies in many areas. These trends are expected to continue, increasing the likelihood of water shortages for many uses. Increasing flooding risk affects human safety and health, property, infrastructure, economies, and ecology in many basins across the United States… Increasing resilience and enhancing adaptive capacity provide opportunities to strengthen water resources management and plan for climate-change impacts.” (NCA Highlights: Water)
• Agriculture: “Climate disruptions to agriculture have been increasing and are projected to become more severe over this century. Some areas are already experiencing climate-related disruptions, particularly due to extreme weather events. While some U.S. regions and some types of agricultural production will be relatively resilient to climate change over the next 25 years or so, others will increasingly suffer from stresses due to extreme heat, drought, disease, and heavy downpours. From mid-century on, climate change is projected to have more negative impacts on crops and livestock across the country – a trend that could diminish the security of our food supply… Climate change effects on agriculture will have consequences for food security, both in the U.S. and globally, through changes in crop yields and food prices and effects on food processing, storage, transportation, and retailing. Adaptation measures can help delay and reduce some of these impacts.” (NCA Highlights: Agriculture)
• Ecosystems: “Ecosystems and the benefits they provide to society are being affected by climate change. The capacity of ecosystems to buffer the impacts of extreme events like fires, floods, and severe storms is being overwhelmed. Climate change impacts on biodiversity are already being observed in alteration of the timing of critical biological events such as spring bud burst, and substantial range shifts of many species. In the longer term, there is an increased risk of species extinction. Events such as droughts, floods, wildfires, and pest outbreaks associated with climate change (for example, bark beetles in the West) are already disrupting ecosystems. These changes limit the capacity of ecosystems, such as forests, barrier beaches, and wetlands, to continue to play important roles in reducing the impacts of extreme events on infrastructure, human communities, and other valued resources… Whole-system management is often more effective than focusing on one species at a time, and can help reduce the harm to wildlife, natural assets, and human well-being that climate disruption might cause.” (NCA Highlights: Ecosystems)
• Oceans: “Ocean waters are becoming warmer and more acidic, broadly affecting ocean circulation, chemistry, ecosystems, and marine life. More acidic waters inhibit the formation of shells, skeletons, and coral reefs. Warmer waters harm coral reefs and alter the distribution, abundance, and productivity of many marine species. The rising temperature and changing chemistry of ocean water combine with other stresses, such as overfishing and coastal and marine pollution, to alter marine-based food production and harm fishing communities… In response to observed and projected climate impacts, some existing ocean policies, practices, and management efforts are incorporating climate change impacts. These initiatives can serve as models for other efforts and ultimately enable people and communities to adapt to changing ocean conditions.” (NCA Highlights: Oceans)
Climate Trends in America
• Temperature: “U.S. average temperature has increased by 1.3°F to 1.9°F since record keeping began in 1895; most of this increase has occurred since about 1970. The most recent decade was the Nation’s warmest on record. Temperatures in the United States are expected to continue to rise. Because human-induced warming is superimposed on a naturally varying climate, the temperature rise has not been, and will not be, uniform or smooth across the country or over time.” (NCA Highlights: Climate Trends)
• Extreme Weather: “There have been changes in some types of extreme weather events over the last several decades. Heat waves have become more frequent and intense, especially in the West. Cold waves have become less frequent and intense across the Nation. There have been regional trends in floods and droughts. Droughts in the Southwest and heat waves everywhere are projected to become more intense, and cold waves less intense everywhere.” (NCA Highlights: Climate Trends)
• Hurricanes: “The intensity, frequency, and duration of North Atlantic hurricanes, as well as the frequency of the strongest (Category 4 and 5) hurricanes, have all increased since the early 1980s. The relative contributions of human and natural causes to these increases are still uncertain. Hurricane-associated storm intensity and rainfall rates are projected to increase as the climate continues to warm.” (NCA Highlights: Climate Trends)
• Severe Storms: “Winter storms have increased in frequency and intensity since the 1950s, and their tracks have shifted northward over the United States. Other trends in severe storms, including the intensity and frequency of tornadoes, hail, and damaging thunderstorm winds, are uncertain and are being studied intensively.” (NCA Highlights: Climate Trends)
• Precipitation: “Average U.S. precipitation has increased since 1900, but some areas have had increases greater than the national average, and some areas have had decreases. More winter and spring precipitation is projected for the northern United States, and less for the Southwest, over this century.” (NCA Highlights: Climate Trends)
• Heavy Downpours: “Heavy downpours are increasing nationally, especially over the last three to five decades. Largest increases are in the Midwest and Northeast. Increases in the frequency and intensity of extreme precipitation events are projected for all U.S. regions.” (NCA Highlights: Climate Trends)
• Frost-free Season: “The length of the frost-free season (and the corresponding growing season) has been increasing nationally since the 1980s, with the largest increases occurring in the western United States, affecting ecosystems and agriculture. Across the United States, the growing season is projected to continue to lengthen.” (NCA Highlights: Climate Trends)
• Ice Melt: “Rising temperatures are reducing ice volume and surface extent on land, lakes, and sea. This loss of ice is expected to continue. The Arctic Ocean is expected to become essentially ice free in summer before mid-century.” (NCA Highlights: Climate Trends)
• Sea Level: “Global sea level has risen by about 8 inches since reliable record keeping began in 1880. It is projected to rise another 1 to 4 feet by 2100.” (NCA Highlights: Climate Trends)
• Ocean Acidification: “The oceans are currently absorbing about a quarter of the carbon dioxide emitted to the atmosphere annually and are becoming more acidic as a result, leading to concerns about intensifying impacts on marine ecosystems.” (NCA Highlights: Climate Trends)