720 Interactive Tools That Localize Climate Change for the Public

Tuesday, 14 January 2020
Hall B (Boston Convention and Exhibition Center)
Sean Sublette, Climate Central, Princeton, NJ; and B. W. Placky

Even with abundant data available on climate change, it can be difficult for people to understand how it affects them personally. Localized and intuitive graphics on climate change impacts can help people understand risks to them and their community. Climate Central has developed an extensive public library of visualization tools, localized to cities 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 information and trends for 244 cities around the country. This ever-growing archive is built through our weekly communication packages that are sent to a network of more than 750 broadcast meteorologists. The Climate Matters site also offers a collection of extreme weather toolkits, explaining how climate change is intensifying events from coastal flooding to wildfires. Most recently, Climate Matters launched WeatherPower, a wind and solar forecasting tool that predicts how much of a locality’s energy can be generated from those technologies in the coming 48 hours. WeatherPower translates that data into user-friendly metrics, such as the solar electricity cost savings for a typical U.S. household.

Additionally, our Surging Seas suite of tools allow stakeholders and the public to assess the risks of sea level rise and coastal flooding within their own neighborhood. Risk Finder is linked to 2010 census data, showing the ethnic populations and infrastructure threatened under the user-chosen water level. Street-level graphics can be overlayed with sea level rise projections, showing how high the water will rise on familiar landmarks. Mapping Choices lets viewers search their zip code and visualize the flooding from different warming scenarios. Finally, the potential loss in property values from flood risk is illustrated in Ocean at the Door, an interactive developed in partnership with real estate database company Zillow.

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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