Climate Explorer 2.0

Created: 7/31/2017 - Updated: 12/13/2018

Overview

Individuals, businesses, and communities of all sizes can use the Climate Explorer to understand how climate conditions in their location may change over coming decades. This information—derived from global climate models—can help them make decisions and build resilience to extreme events.

Built to accompany the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit, the Climate Explorer offers customizable graphs and maps of observed and projected temperature, precipitation, and related climate variables for every county in the contiguous United States.

Based on global climate models developed for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Climate Explorer's graphs and maps show projected conditions for two possible futures: one in which humans reduce and stabilize global emissions of heat-trapping gases (labeled Lower emissions), and one in which we continue increasing emissions through the 21st century (labeled Higher emissions). Decision makers can compare climate projections based on these two plausible futures, and plan according to their tolerance for risk and the timeframe of their decisions.

The tool also displays observations of temperature, precipitation, and related variables from 1950 to 2013. These are averages calculated from quality-checked ground-based weather stations across the country. Users can compare graphs of observed conditions to climate model simulations (hindcasts, or 'projections' generated for the past) for the same period. Comparing the range of observations to the simulations can provide insights on the models' collective ability to predict the future. For temperature-related variables, the range of observations are generally within the envelope of simulations (hindcasts). For some variables—especially precipitation-related variables—comparing observations with hindcasts reveals limitations of the models.

Phase of Adaptation: Awareness, Assessment, Planning, Integration

Description

The Climate Explorer is a web application offering interactive maps and graphs to assist users in decision-making and resilience-building contexts. Built to support the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit, the Climate Explorer helps people explore the exposure of human populations and valued assets to climate-related hazards that may put those assets at risk.

Habitat Seven designed the Climate Explorer interface and generated the map data. ACIS powers all requests for historic climate data. FernLeaf Interactive and the National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center (NEMAC) at the University of North Carolina Asheville built the graphing modules on Chart.js and MultiGraph; they also built the interactive map modules which are powered by ArcGIS. If you have questions or comments about the Climate Explorer, please direct them to noaa.toolkit@noaa.gov.

Audience

Land managers, water utility managers, natural resource managers, local authorities, planners, policymakers, engineers, scientists

Contact

U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit

Established in October 2005, NOAA's Climate Program Office (CPO) provides strategic guidance and oversight for the agency's climate science and services programs. Designed to build knowledge of climate variability and change—and how they affect our health, our economy, and our future—the CPO's programs have three main objectives:

Keywords

Scale of Project: 
National / Federal
Target Climate Changes and Impacts: 
Temperature
Precipitation
Type of Tool: 
Monitoring
Visualization
Type of Adaptation Action/Strategy: 
Capacity Building
Infrastructure, Planning, and Development