, Volume 57, Issue 1-2, pp 9-42

Understanding Climatic Impacts, Vulnerabilities, and Adaptation in the United States: Building a Capacity for Assessment

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Abstract

Based on the experience of the U.S. National Assessment, we propose a program of research and analysis to advance capability for assessment of climate impacts, vulnerabilities, and adaptation options. We identify specific priorities for scientific research on the responses of ecological and socioeconomic systems to climate and other stresses; for improvement in the climatic inputs to impact assessments; and for further development of assessment methods to improve their practical utility to decision-makers. Finally, we propose a new institutional model for assessment, based principally on regional efforts that integrate observations, research, data, applications, and assessment on climate and linked environmental-change issues. The proposed program will require effective collaboration between scientists, resource managers, and other stakeholders, all of whose expertise is needed to define and prioritize key regional issues, characterize relevant uncertainties, and assess potential responses. While both scientifically and organizationally challenging, such an integrated program holds the best promise of advancing our capacity to manage resources and the economy adaptively under a changing climate.