126 Tools to Help Visualize Climate Change, Locally

Monday, 7 January 2019
Hall 4 (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Bernadette Woods Placky, Climate Central, Princeton, NJ

Despite the abundant data on climate change, it’s proven challenging for people to understand how the global issue is affecting them personally. Localized and intuitive graphics on climate change impacts can help the public understand the true risks in their area. Climate Central has developed a comprehensive public repository of graphics and visualization tools, localized to communities across America, to help audiences understand how climate change is affecting them, where they live.

Our searchable Climate Matters media library, which is available in English and Spanish, displays climate trends for 244 cities around the country. The ever-growing archive is built through our weekly graphics that are sent to a network of more than 530 broadcast meteorologists, and have contributed to a nearly 1500% increase in climate change messages on TV since the program’s launch in 2012. The Climate Matters site also offers extreme weather toolkits, explaining how climate change is intensifying events from coastal flooding to wildfires. Finally, the program is set to launch a wind and solar forecasting tool in September, which will predict how much of a locality’s energy can be generated from those technologies in the coming 24-48 hours. The tool will translate that data in user-friendly metrics, such as the solar electricity cost savings for a typical U.S. household.

Additionally, our Surging Seas tools allow stakeholders and the public to assess the risks of sea level rise and coastal flooding within their own neighborhood. Tools such as Risk Finder are linked to 2010 census data, showing the ethnic populations, infrastructure, and property values threatened under the chosen water level. Street-level graphics can be overlayed with sea level rise projections, showing how high the water will rise on familiar landmarks. Finally, the Mapping Choices tool lets viewers search their zip code and visualize the flooding from different warming scenarios.

At the session, we plan to guide attendees through these online tools, helping them intuitively grasp the local risks of a changing climate.

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