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Research by Nelson affiliates shapes national climate report

May 6, 2014

University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers, including many affiliated with the Nelson Institute, contributed to the third U.S. National Climate Assessment released by the White House on May 6.

The report details how climate change is affecting different regions of the United States and key sectors of the national economy. Jonathan Patz, a professor of environmental studies and population health sciences and director of the UW-Madison Global Health Institute, was a lead author on the Midwest section. His extensive work on connections between climate change and health is referenced throughout the report.

The assessment documents links between climate change and more frequent and intense extreme weather events, including prolonged periods of heat, heavy downpours, and floods and droughts. In addition, it states that warming is causing rising sea levels and the melting of glaciers and Arctic sea ice. The report contends that these and other aspects of climate change are disrupting people's lives and damaging some sectors of the economy.  

Work by researchers from the Nelson Institute Center for Climatic Research and Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment, including papers by Dan Vimont, Steve Vavrus, David Lorenz, Tracey Holloway, Chris Kucharik and Holly Gibbs, is cited in the report, as is the 2011 report of the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts, a statewide project co-founded by the Nelson Institute and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Other contributors include faculty affiliates Marty Kanarek and David Mladenoff and a number of Nelson graduate students and alumni.

The full National Climate Assessment report is available at