WASHINGTON (TheBlaze/AP) — Even with recent survey's finding that climate change was not a top priority for Americans and many thinking that it's actually exaggerated in the media, the Obama administration is pushing forward on its fight against global warming in a geeky fashion.
The White House on Wednesday announced an initiative to provide private companies and local governments better access to already public climate data, which it is displaying through maps and even gaming-type simulations.. The idea is that with that localized data they can help the public understand the risks they face, especially in coastal areas where flooding is a big issue.
U.S. Senate staff members carry posters out of the Senate chamber, including a comparison of plant hardiness zones from 1990 and 2006 that shows a general warming of the country, as Senate Democrats speak nonstop on the chamber floor about climate change on March 11, 2014, in Washington, DC. The self-titled "climate caucus", a group of 26 senators working with a parallel House caucus, started speaking in the evening on March 10 and continued until the morning of March 11 in an effort to elevate the issue of global warming. (T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)
The government also is working with several high-tech companies, such as Google, Microsoft and Intel, to come up with tools to make communities more resilient in dealing with weather extremes, such as flooding, heat waves and drought. They include computer simulations for people to use and see what would happen with rising seas and other warming scenarios. Companies will also hold brainstorming sessions with computer programmers aimed at designing new apps on disaster risk. The New York Times reported that companies such as these will be vital at making the majority of information on the site usable to the average person.
NASA and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration will try get people to create simulations to understand flooding risks in an upcoming coastal flooding challenge. One effort would include putting sensors on Philadelphia city buses to collect data to track the effect of climate change.
In its second term, the administration has made more of an effort to connect global warming to its effect on people, especially extreme weather and disasters. White House advisers John Podesta and John Holdren in a blog said the idea is to create easy-to-use tools for the average person to prepare people to be more resilient to the harms of climate change.
Climate scientist Chris Field of the Carnegie Institution for Science, who later this month will be the chief author of a massive United Nations affiliated report on the impacts of global warming, hailed the efforts.
"It is especially important for people, communities and firms to understand the features of their environment and their operations that create climate risk," Field said in an email. "We need a serious, sustained conversation about climate change and dealing with it in a responsible manner."
The federal government plans a clearinghouse website for climate data at http://climate.data.gov. As of early Wednesday the site said it was temporarily unavailable.
Featured image via Shutterstock.