California is already experiencing the impacts of climate change. In the last decade, Californians have endured severe droughts, floods, historic wildfires, rising seas, and record temperatures all driven by climate change. Building resilience to these impacts requires sustained investment in climate change research and science.

California Climate Change Assessments

Public Resources Code 71340 (Senate Bill 1320,Stern, 2020) calls on the State, through the Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Program (ICARP), to advance action-based science by developing California Climate Change Assessments at least every five years. Previous Assessments (2006, 2009, 2012, 2018) contributed to a growing understanding about the impacts of climate change in California and offer communities and decision-makers the tools to take action. Building on the strong foundation set by previous Assessments, the California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) is leading implementation of California’s Fifth Climate Change Assessment (Fifth Assessment) in partnership with the California Energy Commission, California Natural Resources Agency, and California Strategic Growth Council.

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California’s Fifth Climate Change Assessment

Leveraging diverse expertise throughout the state, the Fifth Assessment will contribute to the scientific foundation for understanding climate-related vulnerability throughout California. It will support on-the-ground implementation and decision-making at the local, regional, tribal, and state levels, focusing on the needs of communities most vulnerable to climate change impacts.

Expected Outcomes

  • New climate data and scenarios projecting the impacts of climate change in California (the next generation of projections that align with Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 - CMIP6).
  • Original research that addresses California-specific research needs and questions related to climate change.
  • A Tribal research program to integrate tribal expertise, Traditional knowledge(s), and input from California Native American tribes throughout the Fifth Assessment process.
  • A suite of regional, topical, and statewide synthesis reports that prioritize equity in the translation of this cutting-edge research to meet the needs and context of regions across the state.
  • A dedicated, sustained and equity-centered engagement process, tools and resources to ensure this information drives climate action on the ground.

Fifth Assessment Implementation Timeline

Graphic showing engagement timeline. Climate date scenarios from 2022 to 2023. Core technical reports (energy) from 2022 to mid 2026. Core technical reports (non-energy) from 2023 to mid 2026. Tribal research program from mid 2022 to mid 2026. Regional, topical, and statewide synthesis reports from 2024 to mid 2026.

Tribal Research Program

Building on lessons learned from California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment, the Fifth Assessment is supporting a more robust Tribal Research Program. This program will include:

  • A Tribal Advisory Group, which will be a critical component of the Fifth Assessment, ensuring that tribal expertise and Traditional knowledge(s) integration into what has typically been a Western science-dominated process is done so in a culturally appropriate way. We are requesting nominations for Tribal Advisory members to be provided to Patricia Kennedy, Fifth Assessment Tribal Research Manager, patricia.kennedy@opr.ca.gov or 916-758-0579 by August 31, 2022.
  • Tribal Grant Program, that encourages tribally led research to address California-specific tribal research needs and questions related to climate change.
  • Integration of Tribal expertise and Traditional Knowledge(s) throughout the Fifth Assessment products.
  • Tribal Synthesis Report that will include incorporation of tribally led research, in additional to existing research, to summarize state-wide climate change impacts to tribes in California.

The Assessment will foster ongoing consultation and engagement, and advance the integration of tribal expertise, Traditional knowledge(s) – place based, indigenous ways of knowing that have been sustained within tribal communities for generations – into the Fifth Assessment process and products. Please email Patricia Kennedy, Tribal Research Program Manager, patricia.kennedy@opr.ca.gov for more information.

Tribal Research Program Timeline

Graphic showing Tribal Research Program timeline. Tribal Consultation and Engagement from mid 2022 to mid 2026.  Tribal Advisory Group from late 2022 to mid 2026.  Tribally-Led Research Grants with three Rounds with Round 1 in 2023, Round 2 from 2024 to early 2025, and Round 3 from mid 2025 to mid 2026.  Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Tribal Expertise from 2024 to mid 2026.  Tribal Synthesis Report from 2024 to mid 2026.

Climate Science Tools

Cal-Adapt is the State’s open-source web platform for accessing high-quality, peer-reviewed downscaled climate data and projections from California’s Climate Change Assessments. Cal-Adapt supports climate adaptation and decision-making through a variety of tools and features to help users understand, visualize, and use future climate impact data such as projected changes in sea level rise, wildfire, temperature, precipitation, and more.

To access additional climate-related tools and datasets, please visit the Adaptation Clearinghouse Tools & Data page. Here you can find and compare summaries of specific tools, browse all resources related to tools, data, and scientific studies in the database, and conduct curated advanced searches.

For More Information

Neil Matouka
Neil Matouka is the Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Program's Fifth Climate Change Assessment Program Manager.