Last week, the White House announced a government-wide initiative to make climate information more accessible and actionable. The effort targets individuals and communities hit by flooding, drought, wildfires, extreme heat, coastal erosion, and more.
Not everyone agrees on climate change. But we have all observed what happens when people fail to sufficiently heed climate risk. This effort to make climate information and science more accessible to the public is long overdue and welcome.
For instance, did you know that La Niña—the cool phase of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation climate pattern—has returned to the tropical Pacific this month. NOAA gives it an 87 percent chance to last through Northern Hemisphere winter. Here’s what that could mean for us.
List of New Websites, Reports, Initiatives
Below are 15 websites, reports and initiatives that may help those making important decisions about starting a business, buying a home, or protecting their communities.
- Extreme heat hot spots
- Areas impacted by wildfire smoke
- NOAA’s redesigned Climate.gov. Upgrades to this website will better connect Americans to climate explainers, data dashboards, and classroom-ready teaching resources. It now better provides the public with clear, timely, and science-based information about climate. Climate.gov’s Global Climate Dashboard gives a data-driven readout on the state of the climate system with public-friendly explainers and answers to frequently asked questions. Climate.gov also provides access to commonly requested climate data and tools hosted by NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.
- Using an artificial intelligence platform to improve the search tool, allowing queries based on location so that users can find city and state-specific maps and data;
- Cross-linking content to highlight all available resources sitewide that are relevant to each visitor’s unique interests;
- Improving the mobile experience on tablets and smartphones; and
- Redesigning pages with user experience and accessibility in mind.
- These efforts build on FEMA’s announcement earlier this year of nearly $5 billion in funding available for community projects to prepare for extreme weather.
- An Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP), NOAA, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) report on expanding and improving climate information and services for the public.
- A Federal Geographic Data Committee report focusing on opportunities to enhance climate planning.
- A FEMA initiative will assess National Flood Insurance Program standards to help communities update minimum floodplain management standards—which makes them eligible for federal flood insurance. The standards have not been substantially updated since 1976. But through a Request for Information, FEMA will gather stakeholder input to make communities more resilient while saving lives, homes, and money.
- A report titled “Opportunities for Expanding and Improving Climate Information and Services for the Public,” charts a course for expanding accessibility and use of the federal government’s climate information to support all communities, including those who have been historically underserved, on climate planning and resilience activities. The report lays out opportunities to:
- Focus climate services on the challenges that pose the greatest risks and opportunities
- Foster interagency coordination and public-private partnerships
- Enhance the usability of climate services for all Americans
- Strengthen core science capabilities
- Another report builds off of the federal government’s existing information, tools, and services, such as the interagency U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit; FEMA’s National Risk Index for Natural Hazards; and the AirNow Fire and Smoke Map.
- A third report titled “Advancing the Nation’s Geospatial Capabilities to Promote Federal, State, Local, and Tribal Climate Planning and Resilience” addresses Federal Mapping Services for Climate Planning
- The National Science Foundation will leverage its Societal Experts Action Network (SEAN) to support the work of National Climate Task Force’s Interagency Working Groups on Drought, Flood, Coastal, Extreme Heat, and Wildfire Resilience.
This information is a dream come true for weather wonks, science teachers and flood victims.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 10/17/2021 based on information provided by the White House, and thanks to FEMA’s Diane Innes Cooper for the heads up.
1510 Days since Hurricane Harvey