National Academies review of the draft Fourth National Climate Assessment

March 12, 2018

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) asked the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to review the draft Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4) - a congressionally mandated report that evaluates the state of climate science and the broad range of impacts of climate change in the United States every four years - and the draft Second State of the Carbon Cycle Report (SOCCR2) - a report that feeds into the overall assessment process developed by the USGCRP. The final NCA4 and SOCCR2 reports are anticipated to be released by USGCRP later this year. The National Academies released today evaluations of these two draft reports.

Review of the Draft Fourth National Climate Assessment

The Academies committee that conducted the new review concluded that the draft NCA4 accurately describes the science of climate change and impacts occurring and likely to occur this century across the nation. With appropriate revisions, the draft NCA4 provides a strong foundation of science that can serve as a valuable resource for a wide range of audiences.

To strengthen the NCA4 and enhance its ability to reach broad audiences, the committee recommended improving the communication of key aspects of the draft report. This includes providing more examples that describe the actions taken by private sector, public-private partnerships, and government to illustrate the range of solution-oriented efforts to address climate change impacts and associated risks.

The committee also suggested improving linkages across chapters, to better capture the interconnected nature of many climate change impacts. The Academies' report says that chapters in the draft NCA4 detailing climate change impacts in U.S. regions are particularly effective in conveying the complex nature of climate change, largely because of the discussion of these interconnected impacts. The chapters addressing the impacts of climate change on specific sectors - such as the built environment, energy, ecosystems, and coastal areas - would benefit from similar attention to these complexities.

The committee also recommended that the NCA4 report explicitly identify significant advancements made since the Third National Climate Assessment with emphasis on emerging science, impacts, and examples of new response actions.

Review of the Draft Second State of the Carbon Cycle Report

A separate committee appointed to review the SOCCR2 draft concluded that it is a very informative overview of current scientific understanding of carbon cycle dynamics across North America. Some recommendations to strengthen the draft include: providing consistency in how carbon sources and sinks are described across various chapters and figures; clarifying ambiguities in the geographic scope of the assessment; focusing key findings on describing specifically what has been learned from new research; and expanding discussion of opportunities for effective management of carbon sources and sinks.

The Academies' studies were sponsored by the U.S. Global Change Research Program. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine are private, nonprofit institutions that provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions related to science, technology, and medicine. They operate under an 1863 congressional charter to the National Academy of Sciences, signed by President Lincoln. For more information, visit A committee roster follows.

Riya V. Anandwala, Media Relations Officer
Joshua Blatt, Media Relations Assistant
Office of News and Public Information
202-334-2138; e-mail

Copies of Review of the Draft Fourth National Climate Assessment and Review of the Draft Second State of the Carbon Cycle Report are available from the National Academies Press on the Internet at or by calling 202-334-3313 or 1-800-624-6242. Reporters may obtain a copy from the Office of News and Public Information (contacts listed above).


Division on Earth and Life Sciences Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate and Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education Board on Environmental Change and Society

Committee to Review the Draft Fourth National Climate Assessment

Robin E. Bell (chair)
Palisades Geophysical Institute Lamont Research Professor
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Columbia University
New York City

Bilal M. Ayyub
Professor and Director
Center for Technology and Systems Management
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
University of Maryland
College Park

Michelle L. Bell
Mary E. Pinchot Professor of Environmental Health
School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
Yale University
New Haven, Conn.

Daniel G. Brown
Professor and Director
School of Environmental and Forest Sciences
University of Washington

Daniel R. Cayan
Research Meteorologist
Climate Research Division
Scripps Institution of Oceanography
University of California
San Diego

F. Stuart Chapin III1
Professor Emeritus of Ecology
Institute of Arctic Biology
University of Alaska

John B. Gates
Senior Scientist and Lead
Soil and Crop Monitoring
The Climate Corporation
Alameda, Calif.

L. Ruby Leung2
Battelle Fellow
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and
Affiliate Scientist
National Center for Atmospheric Research
Richland, Wash.

Janet Peace
Senior Vice President
Policy and Business Strategy
Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
Arlington, Va.

Julie Pullen
Associate Professor of Civil, Environmental, and Ocean Engineering
Stevens Institute of Technology;
Joint Appointment
Department of Environmental and Climate Sciences
Brookhaven National Laboratory; and
Adjunct Research Scientist
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Columbia University
Hoboken, N.J.

LaVerne E. Ragster
Professor of Marine Biology (retired), and
President Emerita
University of the Virgin Islands
St. Thomas

Mary Ruckelshaus
Natural Capital Project, and
Senior Research Scientist
Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment
Stanford, Calif.

Susanne Torriente
Chief Resiliency Officer
City of Miami Beach
Miami Beach, Fla.

Elke U. Weber
Gerhard R. Andlinger Professor in Energy and the Environment, and
Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs
Princeton University
Princeton, N.J.

Cathy Whitlock
Professor of Earth Sciences
Montana State University, and
Montana Institute on Ecosystems

Gary Yohe
Huffington Foundation Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies
Wesleyan University
Middletown, Conn.


April Melvin
Staff Officer

1 Member, National Academy of Sciences

2 Member, National Academy of Engineering


Division on Earth and Life Studies Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate

Committee to Review the Second State of the Carbon Cycle Special Report

Inez Y. Fung* (chair)
Professor of Atmospheric Sciences
Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management
University of California

Peter G. Brewer
Senior Scientist
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Moss Landing, Calif.

Evan H. DeLucia
G. William Arends Professor of Biology and Baum Family Director
Department of Plant Biology
University of Illinois

David L. Greene
Senior Fellow
Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy, and
Research Professor
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
University of Tennessee

Tessa M. Hill
Professor and Chancellor's Fellow
Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, and
Bodega Marine Laboratory
University of California

Henry H. Jacoby
William F. Pounds Professor of Management Emeritus
Sloan School of Management
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Gary S. Morishima
MORI-ko, and
Natural Resource Technical Adviser
Quinault Indian Nation

J. William Munger
Senior Research Fellow in Atmospheric Chemistry
John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Harvard University
Cambridge, Mass.

David S. Schimel
Senior Research Scientist
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Pasadena, Calif.

Kathleen C. Weathers
G. Evelyn Hutchinson Chair of Ecology
Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
Millbrook, N.Y.

Jingfeng Xiao
Research Associate Professor
Earth Systems Research Center
Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space
University of New Hampshire

Zicheng Yu
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Lehigh University
Bethlehem, Pa.


Laurie Geller
Study Director

* Member, National Academy of Sciences

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

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