Key regional climate issues: A Guide for architects to drive change

A coastal house on stilts sits on the edge of collapse after a storm in Mass.

An aerial view of a building on pilings compromised by coastal erosion Truro, Mass.

On every project, architects plan for future conditions, including additional capacity, new technologies, deconstruction, and our changing climate. This resource leverages the Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4) to identify key climate resources and issues for 10 regions using two scenarios: the highest emissions scenario available and a midrange scenario consistent with other global resources.

About the National Climate Assessment

The NCA4 uses climate scenarios and modeling efforts generated for the global Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessments to project the impact of greenhouse gas emissions on the climate. These scenarios are called Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) for greenhouse gases. They have become standard references for virtually all work concerning climate change and should be part of architects’ lexicon.

All of the RCPs result in similar global temperature and sea-level rise outcomes for the next few decades. By midcentury, however, the differences between these scenarios become substantial.

The NCA4 focuses primarily on two scenarios for impacts, adaption, and vulnerability analyses:

  • RCP8.5 – the highest emissions scenario available.
  • RCP4.5 – a midrange scenario consistent with other global reports. Although RCP4.5 is not the lowest scenario available, it was deemed to be more consistent with other reports and more useful for planning purposes.

For more information, go to the NCA4 appendix: Data Tools and Scenario Products.

Select your region to get started:

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Additional national resources

Fourth National Climate Assessment: Climate Science Special Report: An assessment of the science of climate change with a focus on the United States, to serve as the foundation for efforts to assess climate-related risks and inform decision-making about responses.

U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit: A compilation of resources and tools to support decision makers determine local climate threats and vulnerabilities and reduce their risks from impacts of climate​ variability and change.

Image credits

A coastal house on stilts sits on the edge of collapse after a storm in Mass.

David L. Ryan, The Boston Globe via Getty Images