Climate Impacts

The Climate Impacts research group at NASA GISS seeks to improve understanding of how climate affects human society through assessment of current climate variability and potential climate change impacts caused by anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases and aerosols. NASA data, models, and missions help us understand how climate affects natural and managed systems, prime examples being vulnerability of natural ecosystems, agricultural productivity and food security, regional water resources, coastal habitation and wetlands, and energy generation and demand. Moreover, man's alteration of ecosystems and their own natural processes have their own impact on the atmosphere and hence upon the climate system.

Impacts research includes the development of a transdisciplinary framework to analyze complex interactions among biophysical and socio-economic processes. This framework enables investigation of the chain of causes and effects linking climate and its impacts, utilizing global and regional climate models, physically based impact models in many societal sectors, and chemical tracer models. Application of the impacts framework allows for the identification, testing, and prioritization of adaptation and policy options that increase resilience in a variable and changing climate. Specific to our food security efforts, we approach the global food system from a complex-systems perspective to understand the food trade network and its sensitivity to weather extremes and other disturbances, Distinctive features of our methods include tailored scenario generation, linked regional, national, and global assessment; real-time, near-term, and long-term climate horizons; and multi-model analyses that enable explicit quantification of uncertainty.

Observed climate data and climate model outputs (e.g., temperature, precipitation, solar radiation) are used as inputs to impact models to forecast regional changes in variables such as crop yields, coastal inundation, energy demand, freshwater availability, and forest productivity. These changes may then be evaluated in terms of economic and social costs, including for instance, numbers of people threatened by hunger, drought, or coastal storm surges. As extreme climate events tend to have the most acute impacts on society, our research focuses on their predictability and their relation to other aspects of global change. Such assessments add important context to changes in climate variables by translating them into societal impacts and identifying populations with substantial risks and/or opportunities. Both components are needed for a comprehensive evaluation of the consequences of any policy decision regarding societal preparation for either short-term or longer-term climate impacts.

Specific projects include the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP), AgMIP's Coordinated Climate-Crop Modeling Project (C3MP), the Urban Climate Change Research Network (UCCRN), the New York Panel on Climate Change (NYPCC), and the Consortium for Climate Risk in the Urban Northeast (CCRUN).


Some recent Climate Impacts publications include:

Asseng, S., F. Ewert, C. Rosenzweig, J.W. Jones, J.L. Hatfield, A.C. Ruane, K.J. Boote, P.J. Thorburn, R.P. Rötter, D. Cammarano, N. Brisson, B. Basso, P. Martre, P.K. Aggarwal, C. Angulo, P. Bertuzzi, C. Biernath, A.J. Challinor, J. Doltra, S. Gayler, R. Goldberg, R. Grant, L. Heng, J. Hooker, L.A. Hunt, J. Ingwersen, R.C. Izaurralde, K.C. Kersebaum, C. Müller, S. Naresh Kumar, C. Nendel, G. O'Leary, J.E. Olesen, T.M. Osborne, T. Palosuo, E. Priesack, D. Ripoche, M.A. Semenov, I. Shcherbak, P. Steduto, C. Stöckle, P. Stratonovitch, T. Streck, I. Supit, F. Tao, M. Travasso, K. Waha, D. Wallach, J.W. White, J.R. Williams, and J. Wolf, 2013: Uncertainty in simulating wheat yields under climate change. Nature Clim. Change, 3, 827-832, doi:10.1038/nclimate1916.

Elliott, J., D. Deryng, C. Müller, K. Frieler, M. Konzmann, D. Gerten, M. Glotter, M. Flörke, Y. Wada, N. Best, S. Eisner, B.M. Fekete, C. Folberth, I. Foster, S.N. Gosling, I. Haddeland, N. Khabarov, F. Ludwig, Y. Masaki, S. Olin, C. Rosenzweig, A.C. Ruane, Y. Satoh, E. Schmid, T. Stacke, Q. Tang, and D. Wisser, 2014: Constraints and potentials of future irrigation water availability on agricultural production under climate change. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., 111, 3239-3244, doi:10.1073/pnas.1222474110.

Hillel, D., and C. Rosenzweig (Eds.), 2010: Handbook of Climate Change and Agroecosystems: Impacts, Adaptation, and Mitigation. ICP Series on Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation, and Mitigation Vol. 1. Imperial College Press.

Hillel, D., and C. Rosenzweig (Eds.), 2012: Handbook of Climate Change and Agroecosystems: Global and Regional Aspects and Implications. ICP Series on Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation, and Mitigation Vol. 2. Imperial College Press.

Horton, R.M., V. Gornitz, D.A. Bader, A.C. Ruane, R. Goldberg, and C. Rosenzweig, 2011: Climate hazard assessment for stakeholder adaptation planning in New York City. J. Appl. Meteorol. Climatol., 50, 2247-2266, doi:10.1175/2011JAMC2521.1.

Piontek, F., C. Müller, T.A.M. Pugh, D.B. Clark, D. Deryng, J. Elliott, F. de J. Colón González, M. Flörke, C. Folberth, W. Franssen, K. Frieler, A.D. Friend, S.N. Gosling, D. Hemming, N. Khabarov, H. Kim, M.R. Lomas, Y. Masaki, M. Mengel, A. Morse, K. Neumann, N. Nishin, S. Ostberg, R. Pavlick, A.C. Ruane, J. Schewe, E. Schmid, T. Stack, Q. Tang, Z.D. Tessler, A.M. Tompkins, L. Warszawski, D. Wisser, and H.J. Schellnhuber, 2014: Multisectoral climate impacts in a warming world. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., 111, 3233-3238, doi:10.1073/pnas.1222471110.

Puma, M.J., and B.I. Cook, 2010: Effects of irrigation on global climate during the 20th century. J. Geophys. Res., 115, D16120, doi:10.1029/2010JD014122.

Rosenzweig, C., J. Elliott, Deryng D., A.C. Ruane, C. Müller, A. Arneth, K.J. Boote, C. Folberth, M. Glotter, N. Khabarov, K. Neumann, F. Piontek, T.A.M. Pugh, E. Schmid, E. Stehfest, H. Yang, and J.W. Jones, 2013: Assessing agricultural risks of climate change in the 21st century in a global gridded crop model intercomparison. Proc. Amer. Acad. Sci., 111, 3268-3273, doi:10.1073/pnas.1222463110.

Rosenzweig, C., J.W. Jones, J.L. Hatfield, A.C. Ruane, K.J. Boote, P. Thorburn, J.M. Antle, G.C. Nelson, C. Porter, S. Janssen, S. Asseng, B. Basso, F. Ewert, D. Wallach, G. Baigorria, and J.M. Winter, 2013: The Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP): Protocols and pilot studies. Forest. Agr. Meteorol., 170, 166-182, doi:10.1016/j.agrformet.2012.09.011.

Rosenzweig, C., and W. Solecki (Eds.), 2010: Climate Change Adaptation in New York City: Building a Risk Management Response.

Rosenzweig, C., and W. Solecki (Eds.), 2013: Climate Risk Information 2013: Observations, Climate Change Projections, and Maps. New York City Panel on Climate Change.

Rosenzweig, C., W. Solecki, A. DeGaetano, M. O'Grady, S. Hassol, and P. Grabhorn (Eds.), 2011: Responding to Climate Change in New York State: The ClimAID Integrated Assessment for Effective Climate Change Adaptation: Technical Report. NYSERDA Report 11-18. New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

Rosenzweig, C., W.D. Solecki, S.A. Hammer, and S. Mehrotra (Eds.), 2011: Climate Change and Cities: First Assessment Report of the Urban Climate Change Research Network. Cambridge University Press.

Ruane, A.C., D.C. Major, W.H. Yu, M. Alam, S.G. Hussain, A.S. Khan, A. Hassan, B.M.T. Al Hossain, R. Goldberg, R.M. Horton, and C. Rosenzweig, 2013: Multi-factor impact analysis of agricultural production in Bangladesh with climate change. Global Environ. Change A, 23, 336-350, doi:10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2012.09.001.

Ruane, A.C., L.D. Cecil, R.M. Horton, R. Gordón, R. McCollum, D. Brown, B. Killough, R. Goldberg, A.P. Greeley, and C. Rosenzweig, 2013: Climate change impact uncertainties for maize in Panama: Farm information, climate projections, and yield sensitivities. Agr. Forest Meteorol., 170, 132-145, doi:10.1016/j.agrformet.2011.10.015.

Ruane, A.C., S. McDermid, C. Rosenzweig, G.A. Baigorria, J.W. Jones, C.C. Romero, and L.D. Cecil, 2014: Carbon-temperature-water change analysis for peanut production under climate change: A prototype for the AgMIP Coordinated Climate-Crop Modeling Project (C3MP). Global Change Biol., 20, 394-407, doi:10.1111/gcb.12412.

Shukla, S.P., M.J. Puma, and B.I. Cook, 2014: The response of the South Asian Summer Monsoon circulation to intensified irrigation in global climate model simulations. Clim. Dyn., 42, 21-36, doi:10.1007/s00382-013-1786-9.

Singels, A., M. Jones, F. Marin, A.C. Ruane, and P. Thorburn, 2013: Predicting climate change impacts on sugarcane production at sites in Australia, Brazil and South Africa using the Canegro model. Sugar Tech, doi:10.1007/s12355-013-0274-1.


Please address inquiries about climate impacts research at NASA GISS to Dr. Cynthia Rosenzweig.

Recent Highlights


ARC3.2 The Urban Climate Change Research Network has released the "Summary for City Leaders" of its Second UCCRN Assessment Report on Climate Change and Cities.
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The Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project is a global community working to improve the characterization of world food security as affected by climate variability and change, and to enhance adaptation capacity in both developing and developed countries.
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The Consortium for Climate Risk in the Urban Northeast conducts stakeholder-driven research that reduces climate-related vulnerability and advances opportunities for adaptation in metropolitan areas from Philadelphia to Boston.
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The Urban Climate Change Research Network is a consortium dedicated to the analysis of climate change mitigation, adaptation and energy issues from an urban perspective.
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