At the current and projected rates of CO2 production in the world, the concentration of atmospheric greenhouse gasses will continue to rise, leading to greater radiative forcing and climate change.
The southwestern proportion of the United States faces exceptional risk from climate change; the region is particularly vulnerable to variations in precipitation. Impacts from variable rainfall, snow accumulation and runoff have serious consequence for the region's wildlife as well as its cultural and historical resources. The southwest is also one of the fastest growing regions in the country, with its raising and shifting demands for energy and water consumption along with the increasing intrusion of human impacts on natural ecosystems, the region will be among the most affected by climate change and thus will lend invaluable data for climate change science.
USCEI research is focused toward the goals of increasing the accuracy of climate and hydrologic predictions in the southwest, assessing the impacts on natural, cultural and historical resources, and informing decisions and policies on resource management and protection.