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Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Statement of Task." National Research Council. 2010. Monitoring Climate Change Impacts: Metrics at the Intersection of the Human and Earth Systems. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12965.
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Appendix A
Statement of Task

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS), through its National Research Council (NRC), is facilitating the increased involvement of scientists in answering questions related to climate and environmental change, energy, natural disasters, and national security. The goal is both to advance scientific understanding of global climate and other environmental and disaster-related phenomena, and consider the implications for both fundamental scientific understanding and national security.


As part of a broader suite of activities, the Committee on Indicators for Understanding Global Climate Change was asked to develop a document that proposes an illustrative suite of indicators, measurements (including locations around the globe), and metrics that are most important for understanding global climate change and provide insights on environmental sustainability issues. This information could be useful in consideration of a coordinated climate observing strategy.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Statement of Task." National Research Council. 2010. Monitoring Climate Change Impacts: Metrics at the Intersection of the Human and Earth Systems. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12965.
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The stresses associated with climate change are expected to be felt keenly as human population grows to a projected 9 billion by the middle of this century, increasing the demand for resources and supporting infrastructure. Therefore, information to assess vulnerabilities to climate change is needed to support policies and investments designed to increase resilience in human and Earth systems.

There are currently many observing systems that capture elements of how climate is changing, for example, direct measurements of atmospheric and ocean temperature. Although those measurements are essential for understanding the scale and nature of climate change, they do not necessarily provide information about the impacts of climate change on humans that are especially relevant for political and economic planning and decision making.

Monitoring Climate Change Impacts tackles the challenge of developing an illustrative suite of indicators, measurements (and the locations around the globe where the measurements can be applied), and metrics that are important for understanding global climate change and providing insight into environmental sustainability. Eight panels provided input on: cryosphere, land-surface and terrestrial ecosystems, hydrology and water resources, atmosphere, human health and other dimensions, oceans (both physical and biological/chemical), and natural disasters. The book also provides an illustrative set of metrics that are likely to be affected by climate change over the next 20-25 years and, when taken together, can potentially give advance warning of climate-related changes to the human and environment systems.

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