|Documents/NOAA2010/1: Climate Adaptation and Mitigation|
An informed society anticipating and responding to climate and its impacts
Projected future climate-related changes include increased global temperatures, melting sea ice and glaciers, rising sea levels, increased frequency of extreme precipitation events, acidification of the oceans, modifications of growing seasons, changes in storm frequency and intensity, air quality, alterations in species' ranges and migration patterns, earlier snowmelt, increased drought, and altered river flow volumes. Impacts from these changes are regionally diverse, and affect numerous sectors related to water, energy, transportation, forestry, tourism, fisheries, agriculture, and human health. A changing climate will alter the distribution of water resources and exacerbate human impacts on fisheries and marine ecosystems, which will result in such problems as overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution, changes in species distributions, and excess nutrients in coastal waters. Increased sea levels are expected to amplify the effects of other coastal hazards as ecosystem changes increase invasions of non-native species and decrease biodiversity. The direct impact of climate change on commerce, transportation, and the economy is evidenced by retreating sea ice in the Arctic, which allows the northward expansion of commercial fisheries and provides increased access for oil and gas development, commerce, and tourism. These changes already have profound implications for society, underscoring the need for scientific information to aid decision makers develop and evaluate options that mitigate the human causes of climate change and adapt to foreseeable climate impacts. While the Nation has made significant progress in understanding climate change and variability, more work is needed to identify causes and effects of these changes, produce accurate predictions, identify risks and vulnerabilities, and inform decision making. No single organization can accomplish these tasks alone. NOAA will advance this long-term goal of climate adaptation and mitigation as it builds upon a strong scientific foundation and decades of engagement with interagency, academic, and private sector partners to strengthen scientific understanding of climate; monitor changes in the atmosphere, oceans, and land; produce climate assessments; develop and deliver climate services at global and regional scales; and increase public knowledge of climate change and its impacts. Through its stewardship responsibilities and expertise, NOAA will improve its capacity to monitor, understand, and predict the impacts of a changing climate on weather patterns, water resources, and ocean and coastal ecosystems.
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