The Climate Explorer 3.1
The Climate Explorer provides interactive graphs and maps showing past and projected climate conditions for counties, county-equivalents, and U.S. territories in the United States, derived from global climate models. Built to support the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit, the tool helps people explore projected future climate conditions that may put people, property, and other assets at risk.
Climate Explorer graphs projections for two possible futures: one in which humans drastically reduce and stabilize global emissions of heat-trapping gases, and one in which we continue increasing emissions through the end of the 21st century. Decision makers can check climate projections based on these two plausible futures and then plan according to their tolerance for risk and the timeframe of their decisions.
For the contiguous United States, the tool also displays observations of climate variables from 1950 to 2013. Users can compare observations to modeled history (results called hindcasts, or projections generated for the past) for the same period. Checking how observations compare to modeled history provides some insight on the models' collective ability to reproduce past conditions. For temperature-related variables, the range of observations are generally within the envelope of modeled history (hindcasts), indicating model skill in simulating observed conditions. For some variables—especially precipitation-related variables—comparing observations with hindcasts reveals limitations of the models.