Written by Clark Blanchard

new_logo_.09The Natural Resources Agency and the California Energy Commission are set to release Cal-Adapt, a web-based climate adaptation planning tool that will help local governments respond to climate change.

“Cal-Adapt will allow people to identify climate change risks in specific areas around the state.” said Secretary for Natural Resources, John Laird. “This tool will be especially beneficial to government agencies and city and county planners, as they will now have access to climate change information in a very user-friendly application.”

A live demonstration of the Web site will take place Tuesday, Jun. 7 at 10 a.m. The demonstration will show how the Cal-Adapt tool can be utilized for local government planning purposes. It is also an opportunity for users to interact directly with the creators of the tool.

The site was developed by UC Berkeley’s Geospatial Innovation Facility, with funding and oversight from the California Energy Commission’s Public Interest Energy Research Program. The information for Cal-Adapt was gathered from California’s scientific community and represents the most current data available.

The source data used within the tool is available for download, in addition to other information including research organizations that have developed the data, and relevant scientific publications. Interactive maps and charts are also available to provide a visual of the effects of climate change in all parts of the state.

Cal-Adapt synthesizes volumes of climate change research and presents it in an accessible, intuitive and visual format that is intended to benefit local planning efforts as well as inform California citizens of potential climate change impacts.

This interactive tool will provide planners with several different categories with detailed information based on a range of scenarios. The categories include sea-level rise, which shows the projected increase in sea-level given a range of climate change scenarios; wildfire dangers, which details areas most prone to potential wildfires; temperature changes, which provides the projected degrees of average temperature change in areas where it is most likely to occur; and fluctuations in snowpack where the water equivalent is predicted on a monthly basis until 2099. The site also includes local climate snapshots, a detailed average temperature map, a monthly temperature averages chart, and an average precipitation map. All of these categories will also include ways to combat the impacts of climate change.

While Cal-Adapt is geared toward planners, the site is also intended to benefit the general public. The data is presented in a Google Maps format that is easy for all audiences to interpret. A low/high toggle at the top of each tool has been added to show climate change outcomes depending on low or high emission scenarios. These projections suggest that a global commitment to lower emissions (such as those enacted with AB 32) could lead to much less impact to our climate in the long-term.

Users are able to type in an address which brings them to a map of the local area and allows them to see the projected effects of climate change. All communities should have access to tools and information that help effectively adapt to climate change. Cal-Adapt is an important technology that provides a convenient and effective way to explore climate impacts and vulnerabilities.

The Cal-Adapt launch will be presented via WebEx at: https://energy.webex.com, on Tuesday, Jun. 7 at 10 a.m. meeting number: 497 455 577, meeting password: meeting@10

Clark Blanchard is the Associate Director for Communications for the California Natural Resources Agency. He can be reached at Clark.Blanchard@resources.ca.gov