Responding to the President's Climate Data Call

One of the most valuable weapons we have against climate change is data. The growing seas of information generated by scientific study, ground and satellite observations, and computer models can not only help inform the public about the existence of climate change, but drive efforts to prepare for and mitigate its severe consequences.
 
With climate change a top priority of the Obama administration, The White House followed up its 2013 Climate Action Plan with the March announcement of a Climate Data Initiative -- an effort to mobilize, use, and share climate data to prepare for climate change and its downstream effects. Today, the CI’s Center for Robust Decision Making on Climate and Energy Policy (RDCEP) is among several organizations answering the administration’s call for innovative and data-driven efforts that help individuals, communities, and organizations improve awareness and preparedness for climate change.
 
“Through his Climate Data Initiative, President Obama is calling for all hands on deck to unleash data and technology in ways that will make businesses and communities more resilient to climate change,” said John P. Holdren, President Obama’s Science Advisor. “The commitments being announced today answer that call by empowering the U.S. and global agricultural sectors with the tools and information needed to keep food systems strong and secure in a changing climate.”
 
At the core of RDCEP’s mission is creating new tools and insights for researchers, policymakers, and the public to understand and utilize the data generated by cutting-edge models of climate and climate impacts. In support of the White House Climate Data Initiative, RDCEP today announced several new tools available now and in the coming months to dramatically expand access to these methods, software, and data
 
The climate emulator, available now, allows users to work in their web browser with output data from state-of-the-art climate models that typically require powerful supercomputers to run. Researchers can pull datasets from multiple models and different carbon scenarios and carry them over for use in climate impact models of agriculture, the economy, land use, and other sectors. Another web tool, called ATLAS, is a similar browser-based tool for exploring climate impact data on global food security and land use. An early version of ATLAS will debut at the American Society of Agronomy meeting in November.
 
Finally, RDCEP’s FACE-IT platform -- which enables the sharing of data and software tools for research on climate change and its impacts -- will be adapted for use by researchers around the world, including those in Nigeria, India, and China, to model and understand local climate risks and vulnerabilities in food supply, agriculture, and economics. The tools will include educational and exploratory tools that enable students and researchers to run and visualize climate impact investigations, and powerful research tools that enable high-resolution crop yield and climate impact investigations across the entire country. Preliminary versions of these applications will be demoed at the African Food Systems in the Information Age forum, a conference co-organized by RDCEP and the Computation Institute in Ibadan, Nigeria from August 28-30, and final packages will be released this fall and winter. 

You can read more about the potential impact of today's announcement in a blog by Holdren and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.