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White House launches website to visualize climate change

“Every citizen will be affected by climate change -- and all of us must work together to make our communities stronger and more resilient to its impacts.”

By
JC Sevcik
The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite has been taking sensitive measurements of the gravity for the entire Earth, including Antarctica. Recent analysis of GRACE data indicate that the Antarctic ice sheet might have lost enough mass to cause the worlds' oceans to rise about .05 inches, on the average, from between 2002 and 2005. (UPI Photo/NASA/GRACE team/DLR/Ben Holt Sr.)
The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite has been taking sensitive measurements of the gravity for the entire Earth, including Antarctica. Recent analysis of GRACE data indicate that the Antarctic ice sheet might have lost enough mass to cause the worlds' oceans to rise about .05 inches, on the average, from between 2002 and 2005. (UPI Photo/NASA/GRACE team/DLR/Ben Holt Sr.) | License Photo

The White House unveiled a new climate change visualization website Wednesday.

The idea is to help people understand the science behind climate change and encourage them to imagine how it will affect their own lives by showing a graphic representation of how one’s city, town, or backyard might be impacted by rising sea levels, flooding, heat waves, drought, or polar vortexes.

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The website is the idea of John D. Podesta, a counselor to President Obama tasked with building public support for the administration’s climate change agenda.

The Obama administration hopes viewing these computer models will help people prepare for climate change by better understanding the sort of risks they may face.

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The visualization app is part of a larger effort to get America ready for the impact of our changing environment. In a press release Wednesday, Podesta announced the roll out of the Climate Data Initiative, “an ambitious new effort bringing together extensive open government data and design competitions with commitments from the private and philanthropic sectors to develop data-driven planning and resilience tools for local communities.”

So what is the Climate Data Initiative?

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“By taking the enormous data sets regularly collected by NASA, NOAA, and other agencies and applying the ingenuity, creativity, and expertise of technologists and entrepreneurs, the Climate Data Initiative will help create easy-to-use tools for regional planners, farmers, hospitals, and businesses across the country -- and empower America’s communities to prepare themselves for the future.”

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The idea is that local governments, businesses, and individuals will be more prepared to deal with climate change in the near future if they can start imagining its effects and anticipating responses now.

The White House’s unveiling of the Climate Data Initiative and the new visualization website come in the same week the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) released a report urging the country to prepare for climate change and encouraging officials and scientists to collaborate in finding solutions to the challenges it will bring.

Podesta’s release ends by reminding, “every citizen will be affected by climate change -- and all of us must work together to make our communities stronger and more resilient to its impacts.”

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[Visualization App] [Climate Data Initiative] [AAAS]

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