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Preparing for the future with curated climate data.

Camellia Williams
Feb 7, 2018 · 4 min read

Climate change can be seen as big, complex problem for our planet. To fully understand the impact it will have, we need to understand where and when we’ll experience the most profound changes. But to do that, people need data they can draw clear, actionable insights from.

We belong to a partnership that’s making climate data easier to access, analyse and use. The Partnership for Resilience and Preparedness (PREP) is a group of private, public and civil society organisations who are working together to give people the data and insights they need to plan a future that’s resilient to the effects of climate change.

The open source PREPdata platform was first launched in 2016. Since then, the Partnership — which is co-led by World Resources Institute and Future Earth — has been listening to user feedback and requests for additional datasets. Our role was to take that feedback and design an experience that guides people towards the data they need. From the farmer in Spain who wants to know how well his crops will grow in 10 years time, to the city planner in Miami who needs to know the likelihood of extreme precipitation events occurring, anyone can access the data and create custom visualisations.

Data, together.

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Users are introduced to the climate data via three key themes: climate, exposure, and vulnerability.

Each one of the datasets open for exploration on PREPdata has been carefully curated. For example, 21 scenarios of temperature and precipitation predictions from the NASA Earth Exchange Global Daily Downscaled Projections (NEX-GDDP) have been packaged into 10 indicators that can provide answers to questions such as:

will Spain experience desertification if carbon emissions are high?

Or, will the weather conditions in Sonoma Country still be good for growing grapes for wine in 30 years?

The NEX-GDDP data offers phenomenal insight into how the climate will change each decade between now and 2100 and what difference a low carbon emissions scenario will make compared to a high emissions scenario.

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Here we can see what the difference in average temperature will be in 30 years time in Sonoma County and how quickly the increase will happen.

Easy does it.

As people delve into the data, they’ll learn how to customise their visualisations and save them or share them. From these visualisations they’ll be able to see how the climate might change and from that they’ll be able to infer what impact it could have. The technology we’ve used means we’ll be able to add more analysis tools in the future, like the option to highlight places and times of the month where both dry spells and extreme precipitation are likely to increase. Knowledge of this kind could be invaluable to the farmers whose livelihood depends on their crops. It could help them decide if they need to change their irrigation system or purchase stress-tolerant seeds.

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View the change in cumulative precipitation in three ways: side by side, toggle, or difference.

Everyone, together.

Climate change is the greatest threat that humanity has ever faced, and the only we can overcome it is by working together. PREP is an example of what we can achieve when we share our knowledge, experience and support. Every single person who uses PREP to improve the resilience of their business or community is contributing to a global effort to mitigate the devastating impacts that our changing climate is causing. We hope PREP will inspire even more people to make climate data more accessible, useful and useable.

Vizzuality Blog

Posts on data design, user research, open data, and…

Camellia Williams

Written by

Lead Writer at Vizzuality.

Vizzuality Blog

Posts on data design, user research, open data, and software development. We create tools and applications with a lasting benefit to society and the environment.

Camellia Williams

Written by

Lead Writer at Vizzuality.

Vizzuality Blog

Posts on data design, user research, open data, and software development. We create tools and applications with a lasting benefit to society and the environment.

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