To assist the nation in preparing for the impacts of climate change, the U.S. Government publishes comprehensive reports on the science of climate change.
Today the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration opened a new chapter of the National Climate Assessment by announcing the appointment of new members to the Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment.
Chairing this 15-member committee will be Richard Moss, a senior scientist with the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Moss has extensive experience with science assessments, having served as Director of the Office of the U.S. Global Change Research Program, a member of the executive committee and author of prior national assessments, and a technical support director for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
The advisory committee will provide advice to the government on assessment strategies that will provide a broader range of climate science products for state and local authorities, businesses, and non-governmental organizations. Committee members include experts in physical and social sciences, communication, education, and other topics reflecting the full scope of issues relevant to global change science. The objective of the sustained National Climate Assessment is to make scientific information more helpful to stakeholders.
"We’re taking a new approach. The committee will advise government on making assessments more interactive for users," said Moss. "Climate science is more relevant and credible if the process is about more than large reports every four years."
Since Congress established the program in 1990, the USGCRP has produced three National Climate Assessment reports. These reports have detailed the science and impacts of climate change and how people and institutions can prepare for, alleviate or live with changes to the Earth's environment. The last assessment came out in 2014.
USGCRP plans to make available a wide range of scenarios, observed data, maps, technical guidelines, and other materials that stakeholders can use in their own evaluations and decision making.
"Rather than have the federal government tell agriculture or energy interests in the Pacific Northwest how climate change could affect profitability or worker safety, for example, the new approach gives them the tools to explore potential consequences and tradeoffs of different ways to prepare," Moss said. "That way, those with expertise in an industry or a region can be involved, and their knowledge can make the conclusions more relevant."
Members are appointed by Kathryn Sullivan, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA administrator, in consultation with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Director, John Holdren. The committee will advise NOAA on sustained climate assessment activities and products, including engagement of stakeholders. NOAA will ensure the committee’s advice is provided to OSTP for use by the USGCRP.
Information on the entire process can be found at the sustained National Climate Assessment website. The thirteen federal agencies that participate in the USGCRP include NOAA and DOE.
Moss is based at the Joint Global Change Research Institute, a collaboration between PNNL and the University of Maryland. His research focuses on the implications of global environmental change, specifically scenarios, impacts and adaptation assessment, and uncertainty characterization.