US: With the help of UC Berkeley’s Geospatial Innovation Facility, the California Energy Commission, US, launched Cal-Adapt. It is a website that grants public access to California’s climate change data, including past information and future projections.
The data that will be displayed on the website have been compiled since 2003. After receiving a sponsorship of USD 500,000 from the California Energy Commission’s Public Interest Energy Research Program and advisory oversight from the California Natural Resources Agency, the Geospatial Innovation Facility began developing the website.
Cal-Adapt aims to synthesise data produced by research organisations and state-wide universities, including UC Berkeley, UC Merced and UC San Diego, to create maps and modules pertaining to state climate changes.
The website integrates 150 years of climate change data that take into account different carbon emission scenarios, which are presented to the user in a visual format depicting rising sea levels, temperature changes and wildfire risks, among other variables. The website provides access to climate scenario data so users can develop adaptation strategies for changes such as hotter temperatures, increased sea levels, decreased snowpack and increased risk of wildfires.
According to Sarah Van Wart, web application developer for Cal-Adapt, the website provides climate projections, not predictions. She added that the website is not meant to predict future outcomes but rather only seeks to display data gathered on climate change in California through extensive research.
To provide more information for the website’s users, the developers upload data regarding wind speed, soil moisture and humidity. “We are targeting three audiences: the expert who can use the data for research, the technician and public agencies who can use it for city planning and the general public who can use it to understand climate change,” said Kevin Koy, manager of the Geospatial Innovation Facility.
Upcoming features on the site include daily temperature projections, according to Geospatial Innovation Facility data developer Brian Galey, as well as a community project in which users will aid scientists by reporting initial flower blooms in their neighbourhoods.
“This innovative website will offer the general public information to assess if their farms, towns, cities, business, counties would be affected and to begin planning for the forthcoming changes,” said Adam Gottlieb, manager of media communications at California Energy Commission, in an email. “By sharing information now, local communities can make better informed decisions later.”