Consensus Report

Each report is produced by a committee of experts selected by the Academy to address a particular statement of task and is subject to a rigorous, independent peer review; while the reports represent views of the committee, they also are endorsed by the Academy. Learn more on our expert consensus reports.

This report from the National Research Council identifies seventy-one metrics that when taken together may give advance warning of climate-related changes and their impacts across a range of both local and global scales.

Currently, many observing systems capture elements of how climate is changing, such as direct measurements of atmospheric and ocean temperature. However, these measurements do not provide information about the impacts of climate change on humans that are especially relevant for political and economic planning and decision making. The report lays out an illustrative suite of indicators, metrics, and measurements -- and the locations around the globe where the measurements can be applied -- that are important for understanding global climate change and providing insight into environmental sustainability. For instance, several of the metrics are sea level rise, seasonal snow cover, and air quality.