Climate Science

Task Force Climate Change is charged with providing Navy leadership the best assessment of climate change science as evaluated by the Navy’s own cadre of physical scientists. The purpose of this assessment is to ensure Navy is prepared for the challenges that climate change may present to national security and future naval requirements. The task force will make recommendations based on an objective review of the best available science as performed by the most respected scientific institutions, such as the National Academy of Science, MIT-Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and Penn State University, plus experts within Navy, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NASA and the Department of Energy.

The Task Force does not rely on any one source of data to inform Navy positions, but a broad consensus of observational evidence and historical trends indicates that:

  • The Arctic is losing sea ice.
  • Large land-fast ice sheets (particularly in Greenland and Antarctic) are steadily losing ice mass.
  • Global air and sea temperatures are warming.
  • Sea level is rising in certain areas.
  • Precipitation patterns are changing.

There is a great deal more uncertainty, however, in the timeline of climate change, and the models exhibit a wide range of forecasts. It is here that the scientific world needs to focus it attention and resources. The timing and severity of climate impacts, particularly in the Arctic, will affect the type, scope, and location of future Navy missions.