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Fire-climate assessment process:
National priority issues such as drought, forest fires, energy supply, ecosystem restoration, and human health concerns such as West Nile and Encephalitis are being addressed locally and regionally through place-based, stakeholder-driven climate research. Drawing on integrated research from the social, physical, and biological sciences, teams across the United States are developing decision support resources to expand decisionmakers’ options in dealing with climate change and variability. One such example is the fire-climate assessment process, which allows fire and fuels specialists in each of the National Interagency Fire Center’s 11 Geographic Area Coordination Centers (GACCs) to work with NOAA climate scientists to develop GACC-level assessments of pre-season fire risk at seasonal and shorter timescales. (See Figure 24)
Comparing measures for measuring costs in cost-benefit analyses:
In assessing potential climate change policies, as with any new economic or regulatory policies, there is a need to compare the costs and benefits of the new policies to existing policies and other alternatives to determine which policy is most cost-effective. Not all cost measures, however, arrive at the same ranking. An analysis of differences among a variety of measures showed that policies could rank differently depending on the choice of measure, and proposed a method for calculating costs that is theoretically superior to other measures.
Integrated Assessment modeling of changes in terrestrial carbon stocks:
The representation of the response of plant and soil carbon stocks to historical changes in land cover, land-use management, atmospheric CO2 concentration, and climate has been analyzed and improved in Integrated Assessment models. This improvement helps understanding of how short- and long-term natural carbon fluxes, carbon sequestration, and human emissions contribute to the net global carbon emission trajectories. The results of this work will be available for the development of emission scenarios, both for the CCSP and for the IPCC.
Potential consequences of global climate change for the U.S. forest and agricultural sectors:
Large-scale analyses are underway that examine the potential consequences of global climate change for the U.S. forest and agricultural sectors. A recently completed national assessment of several different climate scenarios and ecological responses concluded that, under several scenarios of global climatic change, economic welfare in the forest and agricultural sectors would be increased. Part of this improvement would be expected to result from an overall increase in U.S. forest productivity that boosts long-term timber inventory and allows more timber harvests. The projected impacts of global climate change on the two sectors
vary over the 100-year projection period, with potential risks to producers’ income. The forest sector was found to have adjustment mechanisms that mitigate climate change impacts, including interregional migration of production, substitution in consumption, and altered stand management. A more recent study of U.S. agriculture showed that, by the year 2060, the benefits of climate change to American croplands could be less than previous work had indicated. A team of scientists found that finer-scale simulations tend to reduce projected benefits and increase projected losses for a wide range of crops across most parts of the nation.
Youth and the future of the environment:
The Center for the Integrated Study of the Human Dimensions of Global Change (CIS-HDGC) brings together more than 50 scientists and engineers. An important line of inquiry at CIS-HDGC has focused on the implications of environmental policy decisions across multiple generations. Current research into adolescent psychology suggests that young people in their mid-teens tend to harbor deep concerns about some aspects of their world, including the future of the environment. CIS-HDGC scientists are in the advanced stages of a project that has elicited young people's view of the natural world and their desires for it, in policy-relevant terms. Analyses reveal that, asked to explain changes or propose solutions, most teens do not think primarily in terms of institutions, such as governments or corporations. Instead, they consider responsibility to be widely diffused, using terms like "everybody," "just people," and "all of us." The most commonly proposed mitigation strategy was best classified as "increased public awareness." The results of this study are expected to offer guidance for parents, educators, and policymakers who are concerned with both the cognitive and the emotional bases for environmental values.
Health effects of exposure to UV radiation:
Many measurements have demonstrated a relationship between stratospheric ozone depletion and increased levels of ultraviolet (UV) radiation at the surface. The internationally standardized UV Index scale presented to the public is defined in terms of the “skin-reddening” or “sunburning” UV irradiance.