There is increasing concern among the public and the scientific community about climate change. Understanding the potential impacts to both natural and man-made systems is critical to the Corps, especially as we plan today for water resources that will be sustainable in the future and make permit decisions that will affect development trends and the waters of the United States. The most important influences of climate change on Corps missions are changes in temperature; changes in precipitation quantity, intensity and form (snow vs. rain); and changes in sea levels, winds and wave patterns.
How Does Climate Change Affect USACE Mission Areas?
Climate change impacts affect water availability, water demand, water quality, stormwater and wastewater infrastructure, flood and coastal storm infrastructure, wildland fires, ecosystem functioning, coastal zone functioning, navigation, and energy production and demand. All of these factors affect the water resources projects operated by the Corps and its non-Federal sponsors. Many of these were designed and constructed before climate change was recognized as a potential influence.
The entire portfolio of USACE Civil Works water resources infrastructure and programs, existing and proposed, could be affected by climate change and adaptation to climate change. This affects design and operational assumptions about resource supplies, system demands or performance requirements, and operational constraints. Both droughts and floods can affect the operations of these projects. Numerous regulatory decisions made by USACE will need to be informed by climate change impacts and adaptation considerations throughout the U.S., especially in western states.
reviewed 20 June 2016
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