National Aeronautics and Space Administration

National Climate Assessment

NASA National Climate Assessment (NCA) Activities

NASA's National Climate Assessment Activities

Annual Minimum Sea Ice Extent over the Arctic from 1979 to 2012. Click on the image to see the full visualization. Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio, NSIDC, NOAA

The National Climate Assessment

The National Climate Assessment (NCA) is conducted under the auspices of the Global Change Research Act of 1990. This act requires a report to the President and the Congress every four years that

  • integrates, evaluates, and interprets the findings of the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP);
  • analyzes the effects of global change on the natural environment, agriculture, energy production and use, land and water resources, transportation, human health and welfare, human social systems, and biological diversity; and
  • analyzes current trends in global change, both human-induced and natural, and projects major trends for the subsequent 25 to 100 years.
The Third NCA Report was released on May 6, 2014.  Visit the interactive website and download a copy of the full report and highlights document at Preparations for the Fourth NCA report, as well as other sustained assessment reports, are underway.


NASA Earth Science Division and the National Climate Assessment

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Earth Science Division (ESD) offers exceptional insight for understanding the complex Earth system. NASA advances this understanding through leadership in observation, analysis, and simulation. NASA's expertise with Earth system science, combined with its central role in the USGCRP, makes it well positioned to support numerous topics covered in NCA reports. NASA’s involvement in the NCA is a collaboration between the ESD Research and Analysis Program and the Applied Sciences Program.

NASA’s main approach to support NCAs is to provide funding to investigators who will advance assessment-relevant science that can be available for inclusion in future assessments. This approach fits well with the NCA’s effort to develop an ongoing sustained assessment process. Information on funded projects can be found on the research tab .

NASA is also actively engaged in the Climate Data Initiative  and Climate Resilience Toolkit  that help provide climate-related information to the public.

Key NASA activities in support of the Third National Climate Assessment

  • NASA is an active participant in the Interagency NCA taskforce that provides federal leadership on NCA activities and coordinates federal resources in support of the NCA reports and the sustained assessment process.
  • NASA provided leadership on two workshops to lay the foundation for the development of physical and societal indicators of climate change for the NCA.
  • Agency civil servants and contractors were involved in numerous regional and sectoral workshops that produced technical input reports to the Third NCA, and four civil servants/JPL contractors were authors on NCA report chapters.
  • The NASA Goddard Scientific Visualization Studio (SVS), in collaboration with NOAA's National Climatic Data Center, the National Snow & Ice Data Center, and the Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites – North Carolina, developed three visualizations that support findings from the Third NCA report.
  • NASA Education Specialists compiled classroom educator resources for the Southeast and Caribbean Region. Virtual online professional development sessions are being offered through the "Ask US" Educator Professional Development series to show teachers how to integrate the Third NCA into their lesson plans.

The NCA website contains additional background on the process and has information on NCA Workshops & Meeting Reports. Information on the USGCRP can be found on their main page. If you have questions about NASA’s involvement in the National Climate Assessment, please contact Allison Leidner.