This website is the digital version of the 2014 National Climate Assessment, produced in collaboration with the U.S. Global Change Research Program.

For the official version, please refer to the PDF in the downloads section. The downloadable PDF is the official version of the 2014 National Climate Assessment.

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Welcome to the National Climate Assessment

The National Climate Assessment summarizes the impacts of climate change on the United States, now and in the future.

A team of more than 300 experts guided by a 60-member Federal Advisory Committee produced the report, which was extensively reviewed by the public and experts, including federal agencies and a panel of the National Academy of Sciences.

Explore the effects of climate change
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Figure 7.1: Forest Ecosystem Disturbances

Forest Ecosystem Disturbances

Figure 7.1: An example of the variability and distribution of major ecosystem disturbance types in North America, compiled from 2005 to 2009. Forest disturbance varies by topography, vegetation, weather patterns, climate gradients, and proximity to human settlement. Severity is mapped as a percent change in a satellite-derived Disturbance Index. White areas represent natural annual variability, orange represents moderate severity, and red represents high severity.1 Fire dominates much of the western forest ecosystems, and storms affect the Gulf Coast. Insect damage is widespread but currently concentrated in western regions, and timber harvest is predominant in the Southeast. (Figure source: modified from Goetz et al. 2012,2 Copyright 2012 American Geophysical Union).

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References

  1. Goetz, S. J., B. Bond-Lamberty, B. E. Law, J. A. Hicke, C. Huang, R. A. Houghton, S. McNulty, T. O'Halloran, M. Harmon, A. J. H. Meddens, E. M. Pfeifer, D. Mildrexler, and E. S. Kasischke, 2012: Observations and assessment of forest carbon dynamics following disturbance in North America. Journal of Geophysical Research, 117, G02022, doi:10.1029/2011JG001733. URL | Detail

  2. Mildrexler, D. J., M. Zhao, and S. W. Running, 2009: Testing a MODIS global disturbance index across North America. Remote Sensing of Environment, 113, 2103-2117, doi:10.1016/j.rse.2009.05.016. | Detail

The National Climate Assessment summarizes the impacts of climate change on the United States, now and in the future.

A team of more than 300 experts guided by a 60-member Federal Advisory Committee produced the report, which was extensively reviewed by the public and experts, including federal agencies and a panel of the National Academy of Sciences.

United States Global Change Research Program logo United States Global Change Research Program participating agency logos