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).

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Some recent Climate Impacts publications include:

Elliott, J., M. Glotter, A.C. Ruane, K.J. Boote, J.L. Hatfield, J.W. Jones, C. Rosenzweig, L.A. Smith, and I. Foster, 2018: Characterizing agricultural impacts of recent large-scale US droughts and changing technology and management. Agric. Syst., 159, 275-281, doi:10.1016/j.agsy.2017.07.012.

Heino, M., M.J. Puma, P.J. Ward, D. Gerten, V. Heck, S. Siebert, and M. Kummu, 2018: Two-thirds of global cropland area impacted by climate oscillations. Nature Commun., 9, 1257, doi:10.1038/s41467-017-02071-5.

Rosenweig, C., W. Solecki, P. Romer-Lankao, S. Mehotra, S. Dhakal, and S. Ali Ibrahim (Eds.), 2018: Climate Change and Cities: Second Assessment Report of the Urban Climate Change Research Network (ARC3.2). Cambridge University Press.

Solecki, W., C. Rosenzweig, S. Dhakal, D. Roberts, A.S. Barau, S. Schultz, and D. Ürge-Vorsatz, 2018: City transformations in a 1.5 °C warmer world. Nature Clim. Change, 8, no. 3, 177-181, doi:10.1038/s41558-018-0101-5.

Dalin, C., Y. Wada, T. Kastner, and M.J. Puma, 2017: Groundwater depletion embedded in international food trade. Nature, 543, no. 7647, 700-704, doi:10.1038/nature21403.

Gornitz, V., R. Horton, D.A. Bader, P. Orton, and C. Rosenzweig, 2017: Coping with higher sea levels and increased coastal flooding in New York City. In Climate Change Adaptation in North America: Fostering Resilience and the Regional Capacity to Adapt. W.L. Filho, and J.M. Keenan, Eds., Climate Change Management. Springer, 209-223, doi:10.1007/978-3-319-53742-9_13.

McDermid, S.P., L.O. Mearns, and A.C. Ruane, 2017: Representing agriculture in Earth System Models: Approaches and priorities for development. J. Adv. Model. Earth Syst., 9, no. 5, 2230-2265, doi:10.1002/2016MS000749.

Rosenzweig, C., N.W. Arnell, K.L. Ebi, H. Lotze-Campen, F. Raes, C. Rapley, M.S. Smith, W. Cramer, K. Frieler, C.P.O. Reyer, J. Schewe, D. van Vuuren, and L. Warszawski, 2017: Assessing inter-sectoral climate change risks: The role of ISIMIP. Environ. Res. Lett., 12, no. 1, 010301, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/12/1/010301.

Horton, R.M., C. Rosenzweig, W. Solecki, D.A. Bader, and L. Sohl, 2016: Climate science for decision-making in the New York metropolitan region. In Climate in Context: Science and Society Partnering for Adaptation. A.S. Parris, G.M. Garfin, K. Dow, R. Meyer, and S.L. Close, Eds. John Wiley & Sons, 51-74.

Deryng, D., J. Elliott, A.C. Ruane, C. Folberth, C. Müller, T.A.M. Pugh, E. Schmid, K.J. Boote, D. Conway, D. Gerten, J.W. Jones, N. Khabarov, S. Olin, S. Schaphoff, H. Yang, and C. Rosenzweig, 2016: Regional disparities in the beneficial effects of rising CO2 concentrations on crop water productivity. Nature Clim. Change, 6, no. 8, 786-790, doi:10.1038/nclimate2995.

Rosenzweig, C., J. Antle, and J. Elliott, 2016: Assessing impacts of climate change on food security worldwide. Eos, 97, no. 8, 11, doi:10.1029/2016EO047387.

Ruane, A.C., C. Teichmann, N. Arnell, T.R. Carter, K.L. Ebi, K. Frieler, C.M. Goodess, B. Hewitson, R. Horton, R.S. Kovats, H.K. Lotze, L.O. Mearns, A. Navarra, D.S. Ojima, K. Riahi, C. Rosenzweig, M. Themessl, and K. Vincent, 2016: The Vulnerability, Impacts, Adaptation and Climate Services Advisory Board (VIACS AB v1.0) contribution to CMIP6. Geosci. Model. Dev., 9, 3493-3515, doi:10.5194/gmd-9-3493-2016.

Solecki, W., C. Rosenzweig, S. Solecki, L. Patrick, R. Horton, and M. Dorsch, 2016: New York, USA. In Cities on a Finite Planet: Towards Transformative Responses to Climate Change. S. Bartlett, and D. Satterthwaite, Eds. Routledge, 169-184.

Elliott, J., C. Müller, D. Deryng, J. Chryssanthacopoulos, K.J. Boote, M. Büchner, I. Foster, M. Glotter, J. Heinke, T. Iizumi, R.C. Izaurralde, N.D. Mueller, D.K. Ray, C. Rosenzweig, A.C. Ruane, and J. Sheffield, 2015: The Global Gridded Crop Model Intercomparison: Data and modeling protocols for Phase 1 (v1.0). Geosci. Model Dev., 8, 261-277, doi:10.5194/gmd-8-261-2015.

Horton, R., D.A. Bader, Y. Kushner, C. Little, R. Blake, and C. Rosenzweig, 2015: New York City Panel on Climate Change 2015 Report: Climate observations and projections. Ann. New York Acad. Sci., 1336, 18-35, doi:10.1111/nyas.12586.

Horton, R., C. Little, V. Gornitz, D.A. Bader, and M. Oppenheimer, 2015: New York City Panel on Climate Change 2015 Report: Sea level rise and coastal storms. Ann. New York Acad. Sci., 1336, 36-44, doi:10.1111/nyas.12593.

Puma, M., S. Bose, S.Y. Chon, and B. Cook, 2015: Assessing the evolving fragility of the global food system. Environ. Res. Lett., 10, no. 2, 024007, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/10/2/024007.

Rosenzweig, C., and D. Hillel (Eds.), 2015: Handbook of Climate Change and Agroecosystems: The Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP) Integrated Crop and Economic Assessments. ICP Series on Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation, and Mitigation Vol. 3. Imperial College Press, doi:10.1142/p970.

Ruane, A.C., R. Goldberg, and J. Chryssanthacopoulos, 2015: Climate forcing datasets for agricultural modeling: Merged products for gap-filling and historical climate series estimation. Agric. Forest Meteorol., 200, 233-248, doi:10.1016/j.agrformet.2014.09.016.

Ruane, A.C., J.M. Winter, S.P. McDermid, and N.I. Hudson, 2015: AgMIP climate datasets and scenarios for integrated assessment. In Handbook of Climate Change and Agroecosystems: The Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP) Integrated Crop and Economic Assessments, Part 1. C. Rosenzweig, and D. Hillel, Eds., ICP Series on Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation, and Mitigation Vol. 3. Imperial College Press, 45-78, doi:10.1142/9781783265640_0003.

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.

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.

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.


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

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ARC3.2 Report Cover The Urban Climate Change Research Network's Second Assessment Report on Climate Change and Cities has been published.
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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 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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