New impact assessment offers detailed look at climate change

March 25, 2014

The Delaware Climate Change Impact Assessment, a comprehensive statewide report produced at the direction of Delaware Department of Natural Resouces and EnvironmentalControl Secretary Collin O’Mara and DNREC’s Division of Energy and Climate, is now available on DNREC’s website.

The new report includes:

  • A summary of past climate trends and future climate projections for Delaware;
  • A synthesis of the best available climate science that describes current and future impacts of temperature, precipitation, and sea level rise;
  • A summary of potential impacts to Delaware resources in five sectors: public health, water resources, agriculture, wildlife and ecosystems, and infrastructure;
  • The previously-released report, “Climate Change Projections and Indicators for Delaware,” which was posted online in late January, and projects increasing temperatures, more extreme heat days, and more frequent heavy rain events through the year 2100.

“By understanding the best science available, we can make more strategic decisions today that will help improve Delaware’s preparedness to extreme storms, variable precipitation, increasing temperatures, and accelerating sea-level rise,” said O’Mara.

“The Delaware Climate Change Impact Assessment developed by the First State's leading scientists and practitioners on our Climate Change Steering Committee provides a strong scientific foundation to inform investments that will improve Delaware’s resilience for years to come.”

State agencies implementing Executive Order 41: Preparing Delaware for Emerging Climate Impacts and Seizing Economic Opportunities from Reducing Emissions will use Delaware specific information provided in the Assessment to help the state identify and prepare for changes in climate. The order directs state agencies to improve resiliency by recognizing the risks of flooding and sea level rise, developing implementable strategies for adaptation and preparedness to temperature and precipitation fluctuations.

In addition to Delaware’s top scientists, including Delaware State Climatologist Dr. Daniel Leathers, one of the nation’s leading atmospheric scientists, Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, contributed her expertise to the assessment. “Climate change is no longer a distant problem in space or time: it is affecting us, right now, in the places where we live.

Delaware is no exception; increasing temperatures, more frequent high temperatures and precipitation extremes, and rising sea levels affect the economy and the state’s natural resources,” said Hayhoe. “Planning for a sustainable future means that we need to take these trends into account. This report tells us what the future climate of Delaware will look like, depending on whether the world follows a higher or lower carbon emissions pathway.”

Two other major climate assessment reports are due to be released soon. The National Climate Assessment,, is expected to be released in April. The 5th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is also coming out soon, with the working group report on Adaptation and Vulnerability to be released in April. for more information go to