"The climate is changing, and these changes are affecting the world around us. In order to deal with the changes that are taking place now and to prepare for those that are likely to happen in the future, decisionmakers need information about global change and its effects on the Nation and the world we live in. This national scientific assessment integrates, evaluates, and interprets the findings of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) and draws from and synthesizes findings from previous assessments of the science, including reports and products by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It analyzes current trends in global change, both natural and human-induced, and it projects major trends for the future. It analyzes the effects of these changes on the natural environment, agriculture, water resources, social systems, energy production and use, transportation, and human health. It is intended to help inform discussion of the relevant issues by decisionmakers, stakeholders, and the public. As such, this report addresses the requirements for assessment in the Global Change Research Act of 1990. This assessment addresses not only climate change, but also other change in the global environment-including water resources, oceans, atmospheric chemistry, land productivity, and ecological systems-that may alter the capacity of Earth to sustain life. This broader set of changes is referred to as 'global change,' as defined in the Global Change Research Act."
U.S. Climate Change Science Program: http://www.climatescience.gov/