Portfolio: Third U.S. National Climate Assessment


The Third U.S. National Climate Assessment (NCA3), released in May 2014, provided a comprehensive scientific assessment of the impacts of climate change in the United States. The comprehensive report includes sections on:

  • Observed and projected changes in the climate system
  • Regional impacts of climate change
  • Impacts on key sectors, such as energy, agriculture, and transportation
  • Cross-cutting topics, including impacts on rural communities, Indigenous populations, and ecosystems
  • Response options, including adaptation efforts, mitigation options, and decision support tools

Written by more than 300 scientists and other exports, and guided by a 60-person Federal Advisory Committee, the Assessment development process and final products defined new standards of accessibility, inclusion, and transparency.

The highly praised report website offers an engaging presentation of the material and allows easy sharing of content and instant access to underlying metadata and information sources. Individual chapters or the entire report are also available as PDFs.

A shorter “Highlights” version of the report is available via the web or as a PDF.

Data files for the scientific figures in the report that were created at the NOAA TSU are available on the NCICS website

Institute Activities

NCA 3 precip changeWorking as members of the Assessments Technical Support Unit at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, NCICS staff were instrumental in the development and delivery of NCA3:

  • The TSU science team, led by NCICS’ Kenneth Kunkel, made significant contributions to the climate science results presented in the report, including the development of regional climate trends and scenarios reports.
  • NCICS science writers and editors were involved throughout the process to ensure that text and figures were accessible to a broad audience. They also led the development of the very accessible Highlights version of the report.
  • The NCEI graphics team worked to create and refine figures and did the layout of the PDF versions of the report.
  • The TSU helped ensure openness and transparency in the report by meticulously cataloguing metadata, which can be accessed for several of the figures on the website.

The TSU web team, including NCICS staff and subcontractor HabitatSeven, designed and built the Assessment’s interactive website.