On Friday, the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) released the National Climate Assessment, a report that says the impacts of climate change, including powerful storms, droughts and wildfires, are worsening in the United States.
The report also said these more powerful, longer-lasting weather disasters are triggered, at least in part, by global warming. It said such weather disasters are becoming more commonplace around the country and warned that without aggressive action they could become much worse.
What it is: The USGCRP is a federal program mandated by Congress to coordinate federal research and investments in understanding the forces shaping the global environment, both human and natural, and their impacts on society. As the leading federal authority on global change science, USGCRP and its member agencies play a key role in engaging and educating citizens about climate and related global change.
What its mandate is: USGCRP was established by presidential initiative in 1989 and mandated by Congress in the Global Change Research Act of 1990 to "assist the nation and the world to understand, assess, predict and respond to human-induced and natural processes of global change."
What agencies are included: The USGCRP is composed of 13 federal agencies and departments that conduct or use research on global change and its impacts on society, in support of the nation's response to global change.
What the USGCRP's main functions are:
1. Advance global change science
2. Prepare nation for change
3. Assess U.S. climate
4. Coordinate internationally
5. Link climate and health
6. Provide data and tools
7. Make science accessible
What its history is: Since 1989, USGCRP has submitted annual reports, called Our Changing Planet, to Congress. The reports describe the status of USGCRP research, provide progress updates and document recent accomplishments, in particular the broad spectrum of USGCRP activities that extend from Earth system observations, modeling and fundamental research through synthesis and assessment, decision support, education and public engagement.