The Seattle Times
By Michelle Ma
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Climate experts today will unveil an online tool that shows how global warming could affect the entire world, including changes within cities, states and countries.
The tool, called ClimateWizard, allows natural-resource managers, lawmakers, scientists and residents to see historical temperature and precipitation data in their local areas. They also can view projections of how these factors might change as the Earth continues to warm.
Scientists say this tool is the first of its kind to present vast amounts of climate-change information to the public in a way that’s easy to use and understand. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) data used in this tool are already available but often difficult to access and cumbersome to sort through.
“We needed a tool that could bring that data to the desktops of people who can use it,” said Jon Hoekstra, climate-change-program director at the Nature Conservancy, which funded this project. “The power of visualization is extraordinary.”
ClimateWizard is a joint effort among the Nature Conservancy, the University of Washington and the University of Southern Mississippi. It lets users zoom in on specific cities or regions to track temperature and precipitation changes. Maps with color-coded information show where changes are likely to happen, and how severe they could be.