Climate Change and Human Communities

The National Climate Assessment (NCA) is a report to the US President and the Congress every four years as directed by the United States Global Change Research Act of 1990. The objective of the report is to summarize and inform about already observed climate changes, the current status of climate, and anticipated trends for the future by:

  1. Evaluating the effectiveness of climate mitigation and adaptation activities;
  2. Identifying economic opportunities that arise as the climate changes;
  3. Integrating climate science information; and
  4. Highlighting key findings and gaps in our knowledge.

For more information on the overall assessment, please see

PIFSC Human Dimensions researcher Dawn Kotowicz was a member of the Pacific Islands Regional Climate Assessment (PIRCA) Core Team which led a team of scientists from around the US Pacific Islands region to write the regional contribution to the National Climate Assessment (NCA) for the PIRCA.

This report assesses climate change indicators and impacts upon the Hawaiian archipelago and the US-Affiliated Pacific Islands. It examines the adaptive capacity of Pacific Island communities regarding climate change effects on freshwater availability and quality; regional and community economies; urbanization, transportation and infrastructure vulnerabilities; ecosystem services; ocean resource sustainability and coastal zone management; and cultural resources.

Former PIFSC Social Scientist Stewart Allen and PIFSC Human Dimensions researcher Dawn Kotowicz contributed social science information to a technical report providing a comprehensive overview of the effects of climate change on oceans and marine ecosystems and their associated impacts upon society. This report describes how climate change is already affecting fisheries and other marine products and services. The report presents projected climate-driven changes over the next 100 years and what is known about how those changes will affect human uses of marine ecosystems including some of the key international implications of climate impacts on ocean ecosystems for the United States.


Kotowicz DM
2013. People in a changing climate: Human dimensions of climate impacts in the Pacific Islands. Second JIMAR/PIFSC Symposium: Climate and Change, East-West Center, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI. November 19.
Kotowicz DM
2014. Human Dimensions of Climate Change. Climate Change Workshop, Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, Coconut Island, Oahu. June.


Griffis R, Howard J (Eds.)
2013. Oceans and Marine Resources in a Changing Climate: A Technical Input to the 2013 National Climate Assessment. Washington, DC: Island Press.
Keener VW, Marra JJ, Finucane ML, Spooner D, Smith MH (Eds.)
2012. Climate Change and Pacific Islands: Indicators and Impacts. Report for the 2012 Pacific Islands Regional Climate Assessment. Island Press, Washington, DC (Contributing author to Chapters 1 and 2)