The 5th National Climate Assessment was released on Tuesday morning, the culmination of almost five years of work since the 4th Assessment was released in 2018. This assessment, written by several hundred scientists and reviewed several times by numerous government, public, and private groups as well as interested citizens, contains the latest scientific knowledge of how the climate of the United States is changing, what is causing it, who is being affected by the changes, and steps we can take to reduce future extreme weather caused by the warming climate and more variable precipitation. I was one of the chapter authors for the Southeast chapter.

You can read about the work at Fifth National Climate Assessment | You can read the full report at Fifth National Climate Assessment ( or go directly to the Southeast chapter at Southeast ( You can get additional resources at Resources | You can explore the data using the interactive atlas at National Climate Assessment Interactive Atlas ( A video on how to use the Atlas is available at How to Use the National Climate Assessment Interactive Atlas Explorer – Esri Videos: GIS, Events, ArcGIS Products & Industries.

Here are a couple of stories about the assessment:

National Public Radio: Climate change affects your life in 3 big ways, a new report warns

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Georgia, Southeast among the most at-risk from climate change

Finally, a poem about the assessment and climate from the U. S. Poet Laureate:


by Ada Limón, 24th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry at the Library of Congress

It is a forgotten pleasure, the pleasure
of the unexpected blue-bellied lizard

skittering off his sun spot rock, the flicker
of an unknown bird by the bus stop.

To think, perhaps, we are not distinguishable
and therefore no loneliness can exist here.

Species to species in the same blue air, smoke—
wing flutter buzzing, a car horn coming.

So many unknown languages, to think we have
only honored this strange human tongue.

If you sit by the riverside, you see a culmination
of all things upstream. We know now,

we were never at the circle’s center, instead
all around us something is living or trying to live.

The world says, What we are becoming, we are
becoming together.

The world says, One type of dream has ended
and another has just begun.

The world says, Once we were separate,
and now we must move in unison.

A poem written for the Fifth National Climate Assessment.
© 2023 Ada Limón. All Rights Reserved.