This is a brief description of studies that exemplify the methods and approaches that have been developed and used by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) researchers in conducting integrated assessments. See the complete list of Integrated Assessment Briefs to find out more about ORNL's efforts in integrated assessment. Contact Mike Farrell ( for more information.

Effects of Climate Change on Environmental Resources

A conceptual diagram showing regional environmental resources from the Environmental Consequences of CO2-Climate Interactions: The Need for Integrated Resource Analysis, ORNL/CDIAC-28, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

How will environmental resources such as forests, water, and agriculture be affected by climate change, and what effects will these changes have on the human environment?

State-of-the-art climate impact assessment has several serious shortcomings. Most assessments have studied the response of individual resources to changing climate. For the most part, they have not assessed the role of important interactions between resources. These linkages may cause the effect of climate change on a resource to be greater or lesser than what might be expected from an analysis of the resource considered in isolation.

A comprehensive database of the environmental resources in a region is essential to an integrated regional study, both to characterize the area's resources as they exist today and to serve as input for modeling the response of resources to climate change.

Cushman, R. M., J. C. Waterhouse, and M. P. Farrell. 1989. Environmental consequences of CO2-climate interactions: The need for integrated resource analysis. ORNL/CDIAC-28. Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tenn.

Where To?

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Integrated Assessment Briefs. 1995. ORNL/M-4227. Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN.