Climate Change: Tools and Resources

Tools and Resources Sites

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General Information: Global and National

U.S. Global Change Research Program is a collaborative effort to coordinate climate change research between multiple federal departments and agencies, and their webpage is a great place to start. They present information on key issues and predictions organized by region and by sector (e.g., water, energy, transportation), and have links to federal publications, recent climate change stories in the news media, and a few education resources. They also have a beautiful gallery of downloadable images and figures from their reports. The figures are great and the images are beautiful but sadly un-annotated, so you have to track them down in the report they came from to find out what they represent.

Also, check out their Climate Literacy brochure, with all the current state of the science packed into 17 dense pages, with pictures!

NASA's Global Climate Change site is chock full of beautiful graphics, images, and information on various aspects of climate change, including links with information on all of their earth science satellites and instruments. It's an almost overwhelming amount of information, but the pictures will knock your socks off.

The NOAA Climate Services portal is still in prototype, but it has got lots of great information and resources. Links to information and publications, narrated videos and slide shows, and lots of teaching resources – lesson plans, downloadable slides and tutorials, and a good sized image gallery. Best part is the Climate Change Dashboard right on the front page, where you can see basic data on temperature, sea level, carbon dioxide, etc., with a nice slider to adjust the date range to anything from 1880 to 2010. Also fun is the Past Weather widget where you can request a weather report for any zip code on any date from 1943 to the present.

The annual NOAA/NCDC State of the Climate Reports going back to 1991 can be downloaded from NCDC website.

You can read and download any and all of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Reports from their webpage, from the first in 1990 up to the Fourth Assessment of 2007. All of their figures are also freely available and downloadable in jpeg format.

United States Geological Survey (USGS) has several sections of their website devoted to climate change, with links to publications, fact sheets, and information on current research topics. Lots of clearly worded documents and well-represented data.

USGS Office of Global Change

USGS Climate Change Science

USGS Science Topics: Climate Change

United States Environmental Protection Agency - Climate Change has lots of information on federal climate policy, regulatory initiatives, economic analyses, and some pages for kids. They also have a new information resource called the Climate Ready Water Utilities Toolbox, which contains links to publications, workshops, tools and models, and funding opportunities for all things climate-related. EPA's Climate Ready Estuaries program also has a good collection of information and resources in their Coastal Toolkit.

General Information: Northeast and Regional

The Northeast Climate Impacts Assessment is a product of the Union of Concerned Scientists. Their website has a great collection of regionally specific information, with links to their major reports and PDFs of several technical papers.

Carbon Solutions New England is a public-private partnership run by Cameron Wake out of University of New Hampshire. Their website includes their direct, very readable reports on northeast climate issues and links to climate action plans for each of the six New England states. Don't miss the Decarbonizer Visualization Tool.

Maine Climate News : A collaboration between Maine Sea Grant and the Maine State Climatologist; news, information, research results, and handy links, updated quarterly.

Data Sources

National Climatic Data Center : Lots of data, maps, and reports.

Northeast Regional Climate Center : NOAA climate data, hosted at Cornell.

Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal and Ocean Observing Systems (NERACOOS)

Northeast River Forecast Center from NOAA's National Weather Service: observations and forecasts of river flooding throughout the region.

Goddard Space Flight Center maintains links to an impressive collection of earth and atmospheric data in their Global Change Master Directory. Looking for data on water quality in New Hampshire, lichen diversity in Antarctica, sea ice cover, or sun spot activity? This directory knows where to find it all.

University of Colorado - Global Mean Sea-Level maintains a collection of information on sea level rise, including data from both the Jason and the earlier TOPEX/POSEIDON satellites. Warning: many of their links are out of date and/or broken.

The Global Sea Level Observing System is a network of gauges measuring sea level at 290 stations around the world. Data from many of the stations are downloadable from their website.

Adaptation Strategies: Planning Tools, Case Studies, etc.

Coastal Climate Adaptation (NOAA) : an outstanding and well-organized collection of climate change documents, including adaptation plans, risk assessments, legislation, case studies, outreach materials, and much, much more.

The Heinz Center for Science, Economics and the Environment published A Survey of Climate Change Adaptation Planning in 2007, which includes a comparative survey of several adaptation planning guidebooks, followed by a series of case studies from U.S. and international cities.

The Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange (CAKE) is a substantial online community of climate adaptation practitioners sponsored by Island Press and EcoAdapt. Registration is free and with it you gain access to a virtual library of reports, case studies, tools, and a directory to the community of climate practice that participates in the site. Interesting, useful, and up-to-date.

Columbia University's Center for Research on Environmental Decisions does a lot of research on, well, environmental decision-making, particularly in the face of adaptation to climate variability. They have descriptions of current projects, publications, fact sheets, and other interesting tidbits on their website.

Adapting to Coastal Climate Change: A Guidebook for Development Planners was developed in 2009 by the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography in conjunction with USAID. It's big but surprisingly readable and fact-filled.

ICLEI (formerly known as the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives) has several case study reports on their website, mostly from international projects.

Preparing for Climate Change: A Guidebook for Local, Regional, and State Governments (2007) was a collaborative project between the Climate Impacts Group at U. Washington and ICLEI. Another long-but-useful document, downloadable as a whole or chapter by chapter.

Modeling and Mapping Tools

The Sea Level Affecting Marshes Model (SLAMM) simulates the dominant processes involved in wetland conversions and shoreline modifications during long-term sea level rise. Map distributions of wetlands are predicted under conditions of accelerated sea level rise, and results are summarized in tabular and graphical form. Not developed for most of the Northeast yet, but if you have LIDAR data to feed it you can run the model yourself. Check out the SLAMM bibliography.

TNC Coastal Resilience Project Future Scenarios Map for Long Island : Nice mapping tool for visualizing vulnerability to sea level rise, although some of the data are kind of old.

Google Earth has a number of climate-related layers created by other non-profit and public benefit organizations. You can view them all at the Google Earth Outreach Showcase (click on "Climate Change" in the list of links on the right-hand side). You'll need Google Earth installed to view many of them, which you can download for free: http://www.google.com/earth/

Kellogg Biological Station at Michigan State University has made a greenhouse gas emissions calculator for field crop agriculture. You can pick any county in the lower 48 states and model emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide from farmland by varying the crop, management practices, local climate, and other variables.

Communicating Climate Change

The Psychology of Climate Change Communication. A Guide for Scientists, Journalists, Educators, Political Aides, and the Interested Public, from Columbia University's Center for Research on Environmental Decisions in 2009 : A clearly written, easy-to-read 54-page guide on how to effectively communicate complicated science. Includes lots of specific examples, illustrations, and language suggestions.

Global Change: The Intersection of Nature and Culture : Phil Camill, Professor at Bowdoin University, wrote a series of posts in 2009 on why people don't engage in climate change, including issues with environmental literacy, communication literacy, personal perceptions, political-economic context, etc. Lots of references to other research in climate change communication are embedded in his discussion.

Joe Cone of Oregon Sea Grant has written a couple of good papers on communicating science with the public (available in pdf or html).
http://seagrant.oregonstate.edu/sgpubs/onlinepubs/h08005.pdf
http://seagrant.oregonstate.edu/sgpubs/onlinepubs/h08006.pdf

The Yale forum on Climate Change & the Media (Bud Ward) : Interesting articles and blogs on the news media and their coverage of climate science and policy.

Communcating on Climate Change. An essential resource for Journalists, Scientists, and Educators (Bud Ward) : This document was the product of a series of workshops between scientists and journalists discussing the news media's coverage of climate change science. Eighty-six pages, but it's generally worth it, and there's an executive summary if you just want the short version. Published by the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting at URI.

The Social Capital Project in Oregon published Climate Communications and Behavior Change: A Guide for Practitioners : another long-ish but useful document on developing more effective strategies.

Do Scientists Agree about Climate Change? : A 2010 study on public perceptions of scientific consensus on climate change, from Lawrence Hamilton of the University of New Hampshire's Carsey Institute.

USGS Educational Resources For Secondary Grades Middle School and High School : A plethora, and I mean a plethora, of links to fact sheets, videotaped lectures, teaching modules, and maps, for a whole range of topics covered by USGS research. The page goes on for miles but the climate change section is near the top and includes climate change for secondary schools students, undergraduate level (lots of overlap with middle and secondary), and a similar list for grade school education (which doesn't have any climate change-specific resources). It does however include an entertaining list of collective nouns (a bloat of hippopotamuses!).

CAMEL (Climate, Adaptation, Mitigation, E-Learning) is a site devoted to teaching resources around multiple topics, including causes, consequenses, solutions, and actions. There is a lot here, and much of the content seems user-generated. A good place for sharing educational resources.

Skeptical Science and Grist.org have great information on common arguments raised by climate change skeptics, and some science behind those arguments.

Finally, this guy, who I think is a high school teacher, has a smart, simple argument and explanation for using the precautionary principle in planning for climate change.

MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) is an instrument flying on NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites. A group at the Goddard Center produces daily images from the data, usually on subjects of current interest (unusual storms or weather patterns, large fires, etc.). Not strictly related to climate change, the images are gorgeous (I particularly like the phytoplankton blooms), and even come with brief commentary. Jeff Schmaltz, thanks for making my homepage beautiful and informative. View the MODIS Image of the Day!

This page was last modified: March 22, 2013 1:50 pm

Contact

Juliet Simpson
Coastal Ecologist
simpsonj@mit.edu
617-253-7079

General Information: Global and National

General Information: Northeast and Regional

Data Sources

Adaptation Strategies: Planning Tools, Case Studies, etc.

Modeling and Mapping Tools

Communicating Climate Change