WASHINGTON — In collaboration with Region 6, the Office of Sustainability and Climate is pleased to announce the release of a new tool that highlights the potential effects of climate change on a wide range of natural and cultural resources across the nation. The National Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment Story Map was designed as a resource for professionals, researchers, managers and the public.
Effects of climate change are being felt worldwide. The extent of those are dependent on three things: the magnitude of climatic changes in a system, or exposure; the characteristics of the system, or sensitivity; and how people and the ecosystem deal with those effects, or adaptive capacities. Assessing climate change vulnerability defines the risks posed by change and helps identify measures that can be taken to adapt. They determine a system’s sensitivity and ability to adapt to climate change.
The story map showcases locations where agencies have conducted climate change vulnerability assessments across the nation. Assessments are valuable tools that help us understand the changes happening around us and provide essential information for future management decisions. As climate change vulnerabilities can differ across regions, social groups and economic sectors, it was important to have one source highlighting where in each region assessments have been conducted, the kinds of assessments conducted and links to the completed assessments.
Interactive maps for each region allow users to see specifics of various vulnerability assessment projects and filter information by 13 different resource topic areas ranging from hydrology, to recreation, to cultural resources. These maps were linked together via the story map, which introduces each region, its climate change coordinator and topical filters. The map also includes links to further information from each forest.
Right now, the story map includes previously completed assessments. The Office of Sustainability and Climate intends to update the map when more assessments are completed. As it currently exists, the map is a great resource for anyone interested in studying, or planning for, anticipated effects of climate change and other disturbances on our ecosystems. OSC envisions the map as an eventual single source of information about climate change vulnerability on a national scale.