Climate Explorer Tool Offers Local Climate Change Maps and Models

A.J. Rohn


When discussing climate change, it has been suggested that more beneficial reactions can be prompted from people by framing mitigation practices in more personal ways than from a big picture perspective ­ like global efforts and regulations. Perhaps, like in the case of solutions, framing the problem in a similar way could help to spread information about climate change, the risks associated with it, and the need for change. An online tool that shows how climate change will affect specific areas has recently been updated to include many new features. This Climate Explorer was made by a collaboration of many federal agencies and other groups, like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA. Using the tool, you can see the changes that the place where you live will undergo and can manipulate some variables to change the model’s projections.

The tool gives charts that model temperature, precipitation, and heating and cooling days. For example, I looked into the models for Asheville, North Carolina, the site of the National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center that contributed to this project, and my hometown in Madison, Wisconsin. The Climate Explorer shows that, even with fewer emissions, average temperatures will rise for all months in Asheville this century. By around 2050, the difference between fewer and more emissions (which is actually the “business as usual” model) is quite clear on the graph. Using the map tool, I found that by 2080 fewer and more emissions result in a difference of about 50-­100 days above 95°F every year. The amount of energy spent on cooling homes in the summer months is projected to become greater and greater as we move through the century in Asheville, while warmer winters reduce the energy spent on heating homes. In Madison, the annual average of less than ten days above 95°Fcould increase to over 50 by the year 2100 with business as usual emissions. By using the national map, it can be observed that the southeast United States are projected to have far more extreme precipitation events by the end of the century, from New Orleans back up to Asheville. Additional maps are provided for such topics as how sea level rise will affect coastal wetland ecosystems, or transportation systems.

Climate Explorer lets users adjust map settings to see predicted temperature changes.
Climate Explorer lets users adjust map settings to see predicted temperature changes.

These findings show that the Climate Explorer has many ways of teaching its users about the future of the places they inhabit. Visit their webpage for a tool that is easy to use but provides a lot of information on how certain areas are projected to experience climate changes this century.

Visit: Climate Explorer

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About the author
A.J. Rohn
A.J. is a recent graduate of the Geography and Environmental Studies programs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a passion for writing and interests in areas ranging from ecology to geosophy to geopolitics. He enjoys the geography of Wisconsin, be it the north woods or city life in Madison. He loves to read research papers in geography, books by scholars like Yi-Fu Tuan and Bill Cronon (both at UW-Madison), as well as classic fiction writers like Thomas Pynchon and Fyodor Dostoevsky. He is very much inspired by the work of all the people he encountered in Madison’s geography department, so expect a wide range of topics when reading his articles here.