Report Development Process

A3.1 Scoping the Report

In early 2013, the Interagency Crosscutting Group on Climate Change and Human Health (CCHHG), a working group of the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), established that developing a climate and health assessment was a priority action and convened a Climate and Health Assessment Steering Committee in June 2013. The Steering Committee determined the scope of the Climate and Health Assessment with input from a scoping workshop, held November 21, 2013. The CCHHG participants in this workshop discussed the focus and breadth of the report outline, roles and responsibilities of authors and contributors, the process and timing for report development, and the goals of leveraging federal expertise and ongoing research/analyses across CCHHG agencies and synthesizing multiple efforts into a single robust product. A draft prospectus outlining the proposed focus areas and scope of the report was developed by the Steering Committee and published in a Federal Register Notice (FRN) on February 7, 2014.1 The prospectus proposed plans for scoping, drafting, reviewing, producing, and disseminating the report.

A3.2 Author Selection

A team of more than 100 experts was involved in writing this report. The selection of authors was limited to Federal employees and their contractors or affiliates. Each chapter had an author team consisting of Lead and Contributing Authors, who were responsible for a chapter or subsection of a chapter based on their expertise. Lead and Contributing Authors came from multiple agencies across the government, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS ; National Institutes of Health [NIH], Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health [NIOSH], the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response [ASPR], U.S. Food and Drug Administration [FDA], and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration [SAMHSA]), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), U.S. Department of Defense (DOD; the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences [USUHS]), and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) (see author lists in the front matter and in each chapter for full affiliations). Lead Authors were nominated and selected by the CCHHG and include CCHHG members, attendees of the first scoping workshop, and other Federal experts and contractors/grantees with relevant expertise. Contributing Authors were nominated by the Lead Authors, CCHHG or other interagency members, and the general public. Public nominations were accepted through the FRN dated February 7, 2014, which provided an opportunity for external (non-Federal) subject matter experts to be hired under a Federal contract as Contributing Authors. These nominees were screened according to criteria established by the Steering Committee and selected through an independent process.

A3.3 Drafting the Report

The report was drafted between spring 2014 and spring 2015. Guidance and resources provided to authors included:

  • Literature Review Guidance. Guidance was provided to authors on reviewing and assessing the literature, screening for eligibility and information quality, and documenting their process for inclusion in the assessment. Please see Appendix 2: Process for Literature Review, for more information on the literature review and selection process.
  • Author Guidance. Guidance was provided to authors on chapter development, including basic and technical guidance on scope, chapter preparation and outlines, and meeting information quality guidance. Guidelines were also provided for transparent reporting of likelihood, confidence, and uncertainty.
  • Modeling Guidance. Guidance was provided to the authors for the four chapters within the assessment that highlight recent peer-reviewed modeling and/or quantitative analyses. These analyses were conducted by the chapter authors for the purpose of this assessment, in addition to their assessment of the broader body of literature. Please see Appendix 1: Technical Support Document, for more information on modeling approaches.
  • Style and Language Guidance. The Steering Committee, in conjunction with USGCRP staff and the NOAA Technical Support Unit (TSU), developed a style guide to ensure consistent style, tone, formatting, use of graphics, and documentation of metadata across the report.
  • Author Resource Portal. An online platform was developed by the NOAA TSU to provide author teams with a shared online workspace, help structure the drafting and revising process, and document metadata on report figures.
  • Drafting Workshop. An all-authors workshop was held on September 10–11, 2014, to review guidelines and timelines and to discuss cross-cutting issues among and between author teams.

A3.4 Public Engagement

The Steering Committee provided a number of opportunities for public engagement in scoping, informing, and reviewing the report. On February 7, 2014, EPA released a FRN on behalf of USGCRP announcing a request for public engagement in a Public Forum (held March 13, 2014) and establishing a 30-day period to submit public comments on the draft prospectus, suggestions for scientific information to inform the assessment, and nominations for Contributing Authors. A second FRN, released by EPA on behalf of USGCRP on April 7, 2015,2 announced a 60-day period to submit public comments on the draft assessment. Responses to each comment are posted on the USGCRP Climate and Health Assessment website (http://www.globalchange.gov/health-assessment). Finally, Steering Committee members and authors further engaged the community of experts and the general public about the report and public comment periods at scientific meetings, conferences, and symposia.

A3.5 Peer-Review and Clearance

The draft assessment was peer-reviewed by a committee convened by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Based on comments from the public and the National Academies’ report,3 the authors extensively reviewed and revised the assessment. The assessment was reviewed and approved by the USGCRP agencies and the Federal Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Sustainability (CENRS). This report meets all Federal requirements associated with the Information Quality Act (see Appendix 2: Process for Literature Review), including those pertaining to public comment and transparency.


  1. 40 CFR Part 82, 2014: Request for Public Engagement in the Interagency Special Report on the Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on behalf of the United States Global Change Research Program. URL | Detail
  2. 80 FR 18619, 2015: Notice of Availability of Draft Scientific Assessment for Public Comment. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on behalf of the U.S. Global Change Research Program. URL | Detail
  3. National Academies of Sciences Engineering and Medicine, 2015: Review of the Draft Interagency Report on the Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States. National Academies Press. URL | Detail


Very Likely
≥9 in 10
≥2 in 3
As Likely as Not
≈ 1 in 2
≤ 1 in 3
Very Unikely
≤1 in 10

Confidence Level

Very High Strong evidence (established theory, multiple sources, consistent results, well documented and accepted methods, etc.), high consensus
High Moderate evidence (several sources, some consistency, methods vary and/or documentation limited, etc.), medium consensus
Medium Suggestive evidence (a few sources, limited consistency, models incomplete, methods emerging, etc.), competing schools of thought
Low Inconclusive evidence (limited sources, extrapolations, inconsistent findings, poor documentation and/or methods not tested, etc.), disagreement or lack of opinions among experts

Documenting Uncertainty: This assessment relies on two metrics to communicate the degree of certainty in Key Findings. See Appendix 4: Documenting Uncertainty for more on assessments of likelihood and confidence.