The Assessments Program funds several activities to help connect science and decision making through scientific assessments, facilitate the ongoing engagement of scientists and stakeholders across regions and sectors, and continuously integrate new information and insights as they emerge. The activities and efforts described below are important to the success of these goals.
NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) Technical Support Unit
The NOAA NCEI Technical Support Unit (TSU), based in Ashville, NC, is an integral component of the sustained assessment process. The Assessment Program provides support to the TSU to lead the production of the quadrennial National Climate Assessment as well as to provide editorial, web engineering, graphic, and scientific support for other assessment activities, including the USGCRP indicators portal. The TSU is comprised of a large, diverse staff with expertise in Assessments, science writing and editing, graphical production, and report formatting and production.
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Climate Change Indicators Research, Development, and Implementation
The Assessment Program supports an interagency indicator capability at the USGCRP hosted on GlobalChange.gov, as well as significant staff support from the USGCRP. Indicators provide snapshot views of states’ of various systems and variables that are driven, at least significantly, by climate change. The indicator capability enables tracking of these systems and variables over time and constitutes an important component of a sustained assessment process. Examples of some of the indicators include greenhouse gas concentrations, arctic sea ice extent, frost-free season, and ocean chlorophyll concentrations.
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The USGCRP pilot climate change indicators, released in May 2015, are based on prototypes and processes developed by a research team (Kenney et al., 2016). The Assessments Program provided funding for the development of the pilot indicators as well as for additional activities conducted by the CICS-MD research team, and is supporting the evolution of this pilot system into a larger sustained operational effort. Research has explored effective graphic communication styles, use and utility of indicators, and exploring resilience and social science indicators of global change.