Take a good look at “Cal-Adapt.” Hidden from view for some time, as information was compiled and a web site was built, this is now a publicly available tool that allows you to look into the past and future using real data about our climate. It is a brilliant idea and is the product of the California Energy Commission, the California Natural Resources Agency, and the Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) Program. There is a long list of contributors available on the Climate Tools page. This tool gives Californian’s, and anyone else who is interested, a chance to see real data and make it easy to use.
One of the best features of the web site is that you don’t need an advanced degree to understand the gridlines on a map or to press a few buttons on your computer. What you will get is a list of resources and links, and some well thought, well written descriptions of what is happening to our environment – built and green, and our complete living conditions. In an earlier article I wrote about adaptation and what we will need to do to cope with changing coastlines, increasing heat wave intensities in our towns and cities, and how we can plan to be able to adapt. Cal-adapt is another tool that will help you to understand the practical implications of how we are living today and what it can mean for our future.
Here is a list of just a few of the things you can access:
- Get local and explore some of the resources within your community, and voice your opinion or write to experts in different areas of interest.
- Download the data for any number of map grids. This is available for either spreadsheet viewing or if you understand GIS mapping tools, there are files in the right format too.
- Click through interactive maps on sea level, precipitation, snow pack, temperature, or wild fire risk.
- View historic photographs.
- Lists of publications all the way back to 1980
If you were using the excuse that information was too hard to find, Cal-Adapt just took that away. It is easy to get comfortable with the site as soon as you begin to click through the pages and use the tools. This is designed for public access and the developers have clearly spent a lot of time trying to communicate information in an easy to understand format without making us feel stupid. It is well worth at least 10 minutes of your time.