5th National Climate Assessment (NCA5)

NCA5 Northwest Chapter Events and Information

This page offers selected information and resources shared by lead and contributing authors of the 5th National Climate Assessment's Northwest Chapter, released November 14, 2023.

Thank you for your interest in the 5th National Climate Assessment (NCA5)

The NCA5 is part of U.S. Global Change Research Program’s mandate to deliver a report to Congress and the President no less than every four years that analyzes the effects of global climate change on the natural environment, agriculture, energy production and use, land and water resources, transportation, human health and welfare, human social systems, and biological diversity. The intent of this report is to help decision-makers, utility and natural resource managers, public health officials, emergency planners, and other key practitioners by providing a comprehensive and thorough examination of climate change impacts and responses across the nation.

NCA5 was developed with the input of more than 400 climate experts that span federal, state, and local governments, Tribes and Indigenous communities, universities, NGOs, and the private sector. This web page is intended to provide information about Chapter 27 (Northwest Chapter), which covers impacts and opportunities in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington state. Read on for updates on educational events, and other opportunities to connect with northwest regional authors who were instrumental in developing NCA5's Northwest Chapter.


Artist's statement: This piece was commissioned by the University of Washington Climate Impacts Group. Developed in collaboration with scientists and tribal representatives, the work acknowledges the inevitable while highlighting how we can cultivate good. From the urban West Coast to the shrubsteppe of eastern Washington, resiliency looks different in every landscape. True resiliency is not bound within the realm of science; social justice is equally as vital to every solution. The piece aims to make climate resiliency concepts more accessible. After all, before any goal can be accomplished, it must first be envisioned.

Featured Upcoming Events for the NCA5 Northwest Chapter

NCA5 Overview Chapter Webinar

Monday, November 27th

The NCA5 Overview chapter webinar is an opportunity for you to hear about the overarching findings of the NCA5. This virtual one-hour event is scheduled from 3:00 to 4:00 pm Eastern time (12-1 Pacific), with time for Q&A. Click the button below to watch the livestream!

NCA5 Northwest - Zoom Webinar

Thursday, November 30th

Cascadia Consulting Group and the Climate Impacts Group will held an informational webinar covering the Northwest Chapter of the Fifth National Climate Assessment on November 30. The webinar focused on the significance of the report for Washington, and included information about climate action by Washington State agencies. The webinar recording is now available. Copy and paste the following passcode to access: j!8N*?27

NCA5 Webinar: Northwest

Tuesday, January 9th

This virtual 1-hour webinar with Q&A is an opportunity for you to hear about the Northwest Region findings from the authors themselves. The call will take place on Wednesday November 15 from 3:00 – 4:00 PM Eastern time (12:00 – 1:00 PM Pacific). Click the button below to learn more and/or register.

Key Messages Featured in NCA5 Northwest Chapter

Frontline Communities Are Overburdened; Prioritizing Social Equity Advances Resilience

Ongoing systemic oppression disproportionately exposes frontline communities in the Northwest to the consequences of extreme heat, flooding, and wildfire smoke and other climate hazards. Frontline communities often have fewer resources to cope with and adapt to climate change but have been leaders in developing climate solutions. Actions that prioritize climate justice and redirect investments to frontline communities can advance regional resilience.

Ecosystems Are Transitioning in Response to Extreme Events and Human Activity

Ecosystems are expected to change as the climate continues to change and as the magnitude and frequency of extreme events increases. Some human activities reduce ecosystem resilience and the adaptive capacity of species. These human activities are expected to exacerbate many effects of climate change. Human efforts to enable ecological adaptation are expected to improve ecosystem functions and services and reduce exposure to climate-related hazards.

Impacts to Regional Economies Have Cascading Effects on Livelihoods and Well-Being

Climate change impacts to the Northwest’s natural resource– and outdoor-dependent economies will be variable, given the diversity of industries, land cover, and climatic zones. Impacts to these industries will have cascading effects on community livelihoods and well-being. While some industries and resource-dependent communities are resilient to climate related stresses, economic responses to climate change can benefit affected industries, workers, and livelihoods.

Infrastructure Systems Are Stressed by Climate Change but Can Enable Mitigation and Adaptation

Recent extreme events have stressed water systems and housing, transportation, and energy infrastructure across the Northwest. Extreme precipitation, droughts, and heatwaves will intensify due to climate change and continue to threaten these interrelated systems. An impact or a response within one sector can cascade to other sectors. Cross-sectoral planning can increase resilience to future climate variability and extremes.

Climate Change Amplifies Health Inequities

The Northwest’s climate has historically been temperate and relatively mild, but shifting weather patterns associated with climate change are adversely affecting physical, mental, and community health. The incidence of illnesses and death during extreme heat events and wildfire smoke days is increasing, and climate change is stressing health systems. Climate-related health risks disproportionately affect certain individuals and groups. Climate resilience efforts can improve health, especially among the most vulnerable populations.

Climate Change Affects Heritage and Sense of Place

Climate change has disrupted sense of place in the Northwest, affecting noneconomic values such as proximity and access to nature and residents’ feelings of security and stability. Place-based communities, including Tribes, face additional challenges from climate change because of cultural and economic relationships with their local. Leveraging local or Indigenous Knowledge and value systems can spur climate action to ensure that local heritage and sense of place persist for future generations.

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