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Updated 15 August 2005

US National Assessment of
the Potential Consequences
of Climate Variability and Change
Sector: Coastal Areas and Marine Resources


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The National Assessment Overview and Foundation Reports were produced  by the National Assessment Synthesis Team, an advisory committee chartered under the Federal Advisory Committee Act, and were not subjected to OSTP's Information Quality Act Guidelines. The National Assessment was forwarded to the President and Congress in November 2000 for their consideration.

Breaking waves

Publications by the National Assessment Synthesis Team

Links to Material from the Coastal Areas and Marine Resources Assessment Group

Related Articles from the National Assessment's Newsletter, Acclimations.

Links to other Relevant Material

Issues Covered

The coastal sector focused on potential climate impacts within broadly-defined coastal areas. These include: sea-level rise and impacts such as coastline erosion or damage to structures; changes in coastal water quality resulting from potentially varying nutrient levels and the amount of river runoff; the intensity and frequency of coastal storms; ocean currents; and ocean temperatures.

Assessment Approach

Models were used to project sea-level changes and other relative coastal impacts. Case studies based on past events were used when climate models would not effectively include important variables. Outside input was sought through cooperation with the regional assessments, review activities, and brochures to interested parties. Coordination with other sector efforts was an integral part of assessing potential climatic impacts on coastal areas and marine resources.


Donald Boesch, University of Maryland
Donald Scavia, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


Project Director John Field
Coordinating Federal Agency National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Agency Representative Donald Scavia, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • Sea-level rise (coastal erosion and infrastructure damage)
  • Changes in freshwater delivery from US rivers
  • Ocean currents
  • Coastal storms (frequency and intensity)
  • Ocean temperatures
Late October 1998
  • Finalize and expand outline
  • Form sub-teams
  • Identify needed model inputs
  • Determine analysis and drafting assignments
Mid January 1998
  • First rough drafts due from sub-teams and circulated to team members
  • Drafts examined by co-chairs for key findings and gaps
Early February 1999
  • Presentations of draft material
  • Discussions of content, overlap and inconsistencies
  • Identification of developing needs and key findings
Early April 1999
  • Key findings and recommendations submitted to NAST
March 2000
  • Technical Review Begins
Summer 2000
  • Publication of final report

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