I just attended a free webinar from the Union of Concerned Scientists on the draft National Climate Assessment (NCA) that is slated for publication next year. Two thoughts are primary in my head: 1) oy, do I have a lot to read! and 2) I think I need a drink. I’m not sure in which order those should be taken. Possibly together.
The NCA is an enormous undertaking by hundreds of scientists and organizations to assess the current state of the climate and the known and predicted impacts of climate change on our country across a wide range of regions, economic sectors, and ecosystems. The first assessment was was completed in 1990, and there have been a few since then. With each iteration of the NCA, the evidence is becoming increasingly clear that climate change is very real, is clearly accelerating due to human activities, and impacts are already being seen and in some cases are being seen far more quickly- as in the case of Arctic sea ice reductions, 2012 having set a new record for minimum ice area- than we had expected. Truly, truly serious stuff.
The webinar gave a great overview and compelling slides- most of which were straight out of the document- about the realities of climate change and how it is likely to impact our resources and society. I’ve only just started to delve into this document but I have to say, there is a ton of excellent information in here! Im going to start with the summary, Chapter 2 on impacts, the chapter on the Northwest, and the Appendix which looks to provide an excellent primer on climate science. Perhaps an upcoming action will be a book report of sorts summarizing key findings. In the meantime, I’m off to do my reading and I encourage you to check it out!
Oh and one last thing- check out the Union of Concerned Scientists’ website– although the overview webinar was today, there are several regional webinars with more specific info about how climate change related to specific regions, and the Climate Research Group who authors the NCA is offering a series of town halls throughout 2013 to reach out to the public on the plan.