5.2 New Weather & Climate Web Resource: Come For the Weather, Stay For the Climate

Friday, 12 June 2015: 10:45 AM
304 (Raleigh Convention Center)
Bernadette Woods Placky, Climate Central, Princeton, NJ; and B. Kahn, D. Adams-Smith, G. Grant, S. Gupta, A. Kenward, and R. Wiles

Climate change is often discussed in distant, large-scale trends like the upward tick of the global average temperature or declining Arctic sea ice. Yet local is what matters to most people — it's where they live. And weather is one of the primary ways that people experience climate change locally — it's visible and concrete.

Climate Central regularly communicates how weather is impacted by climate change through a variety of programs including NSF-funded Climate Matters content for on-air meteorologists, research, and journalism. In an effort to continue to bridge the climate-weather connection and provide meaningful local information, Climate Central is launching a website that provides local weather forecasts side-by-side with related, compelling graphics of historical climate, in addition to a wealth of climate and weather resources and news.

At the heart of the site is a customized climate API that reads the day's weather forecast and current conditions and returns relevant local climate trends. The API contains extensive local climate data going back to at least 1970 and for some stations, the start of the 20th century from a variety of sources including the National Climatic Data Center, Applied Climate Information System, U.S. Drought Monitor and other sources.

Extensive quality checks have weeded out incomplete climate stations and records. After removing incomplete records, this approach still puts customized, local climate information side-by-side with a daily weather forecast for 85% of the U.S. population. For example, that means on a hot summer day in New York, you'll see climate trend for days above 90°F. The site will also feature, localized climate projections based on methodology developed using the latest climate models.

This provides a snapshot of global change at the local level while also tying it to people's everyday experience. These aspects make the site a potential avenue for exploring how to talk about local climate change, complete with resources, for on-air meteorologists, educators and the public.

- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner