Federal Coordinating Lead Author:
David Reidmiller, U.S. Global Change Research Program
Lead Author:
Christopher W. Avery, U.S. Global Change Research Program
Contributing Authors:
Therese (Tess) S. Carter, U.S. Global Change Research Program
Katie Reeves, U.S. Global Change Research Program
Kristin Lewis, U.S. Global Change Research Program

Report Development Process

The NCA4 Federal Steering Committee (NCA4 SC) consists of representatives of the USGCRP member agencies, listed above. In consultation with the SGCR, the NCA4 SC was responsible for the development, production, and content of NCA4 (Figures A1.2, A1.3). The NCA4 SC was charged with overseeing development of technical content and with conducting high-level scoping of the report to ensure coherence, relevance, and responsiveness to the Global Change Research Act and the USGCRP Strategic Plan. The NCA4 SC was also responsible for ensuring that the report development process was robust and that it adhered to the principles of engagement and transparency that are crucial to the process of conducting sustained assessments. In some ways, the NCA4 SC served in a similar capacity to the National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee (NCADAC) during the course of NCA3 development. The NCA4 SC met weekly during the early stages of the report’s development before moving towards a more quasi-monthly meeting schedule once writing began in earnest.

The Administrative Agency of NCA4 was the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In this role, NOAA was responsible for providing oversight and access to federal resources for the NCA, including (but not limited to) leadership on the NCA4 SC, management of Federal Register Notices, and dedicated funding of external engagement activities, among other supportive activities.

Agency Chapter Leads (ACLs) oversaw the production of national-level topic or response chapters and were in charge administratively of their chapter’s development.

Federal Coordinating Lead Authors (CLAs) were selected for each chapter—some chapters had two—by the NCA4 SC, in consultation with the SGCR. A key role of the CLAs was to serve as “horizontal integrators” for NCA4—working with one another to ensure that crosscutting issues were addressed consistently, accurately, and adequately. They also ensured that the chapter draft ultimately delivered to them adhered to their Agency’s criteria for a Highly Influential Scientific Assessment.

Chapter Leads (CLs; both federal and nonfederal) served as “vertical integrators” for NCA4, selecting and directing their respective author team and then providing a draft of their chapter to the CLA(s). National Chapter Leads (NCLs), for the topic and response chapters, were selected by the ACL for the chapter, while the Regional Chapter Leads (RCLs) were selected from experts nominated during a public open call by the NCA4 SC.

Chapter Authors (CAs) constituted the bulk of the chapter author team and were the main authors of the individual chapters. The CLs directed the CAs to contribute to the writing and editing of the chapters. The CLs chose the CAs based on the specific needs of the chapter. CLs were provided guidance to convene a diverse group of experts along with the full slate of nominees received during the public call for authors.

Review Editors (REs) were selected by the NCA4 SC after a public call for nominees. They were responsible for ensuring that all substantive comments—submitted during the Public Comment Period and via a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) expert review panel—were appropriately addressed and documented. REs advised CLs on how to handle contentious issues and to ensure that significant scientific uncertainties were reflected adequately in the text of NCA4.

Technical Contributors (TCs) were invited to contribute to the chapter author team for discrete, specific issues on an as-needed basis, as identified by the CL.


Figure A1.2: NCA4 Authorship Models

NCA4 Authorship Models
Figure A1.2: In consultation with the Subcommittee on Global Change Research (SGCR), the NCA4 Federal Steering Committee (NCA4 SC) selected Coordinating Lead Authors (CLAs) for each chapter of the NCA. CLAs worked one-on-one with either National or Regional Chapter Leads (CLs), who in turn directed Chapter Authors (CAs). A mix of authorship models including both federal and nonfederal participants was used for NCA4. Source: USGCRP.


The USGCRP National Coordination Office (NCO) in Washington, DC, provided support for the development of NCA4 through a team of contracted staff and federal detailees with expertise in planning, writing, and coordinating collaborative climate and environmental science activities. NCO staff provided monthly updates on NCA4 progress and activities to the SGCR Principals, while also—beginning in February 2017—posting similar content at http://www.globalchange.gov/news so the public could track progress.

The NCA Technical Support Unit (TSU) is funded by NOAA and is located at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information in Asheville, North Carolina; its professional staff supports the Assessment’s climate science findings, data management and web design, graphics and publications, editing, and other production activities.

The National Climate Assessment Network (NCAnet) consists of more than 200 organizations that work with the NCO, report authors, and USGCRP agencies to engage producers and users of assessment information.6 Partners extend and amplify the NCA process and products to a broad audience through the development of assessment-related capacities and products, such as collecting and synthesizing data or other technical and scientific information relevant to the NCA, disseminating NCA report findings to a wide range of users, engaging producers and users of assessment information, supporting NCA events, and producing communications materials related to the NCA and NCA report findings.


Figure A1.3: Organization of the National Climate Assessment Participants

Organization of the National Climate Assessment Participants
Figure A1.3: Participants in the NCA process can be divided into three broad categories: 1) federal agencies and offices, including the USGCRP (blue boxes); 2) external partners and relevant stakeholders (purple boxes); and 3) NCA4 contributors, including the Federal Steering Committee and report authors (orange boxes). Source: USGCRP.


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