White House Starting Climate Change Website

Wednesday, 19 Mar 2014 08:43 AM

By Elliot Jager

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The White House is establishing a website intended to portray global warming's harsh impact at the local level, The New York Times reported.

The site, data.gov/climate, will initially be a repository of data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the United States Geological Survey, the Defense Department, and NASA.

Over the long term, and with the backing of companies like Google Inc., Microsoft Corp., and Intel Corp., the site is expected to include tools that will bring home the impact of sea level rise in specific localities, USA Today reported.

The website idea comes from President Barack Obama's counselor, John Podesta, and White House science adviser John Holdren. They are trying to build political support for closing coal-fired power plants.

Most Americans do not place global warming high on their list of immediate concerns, the Times reported.

Rebecca Moore, engineering manager of Google Earth Engine & Earth Outreach, said her company will "help make sense out of vast amounts of data" that the government collects to enable people to know how climate-caused flooding might personally affect them. The tool will be as easy to use as Google maps, she told USA Today.

Microsoft will donate cloud space to the site, while Intel will encourage science students to develop apps.

Some scientists said it would be difficult to build realistic models that could accurately project how and when climate change might impact a particular house, block, or neighborhood, according to the Times.

Professor Chris Field, of the department of global ecology at Stanford University, said the goal should not be on identifying precise impacts at an exact time.

"Some things are known, some things aren't," he said. For example, higher emission levels could influence warming over a period of decades, while reducing pollution could impact outcomes differently.

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