This year's long, hot summer led many of us to wonder if it was a sign of things to come and whether we could anticipate similar summer heat every year. Now, a scientist from the University of East Anglia (UEA) has used his expertise to develop one of the world's first apps that enables users to explore global climate change projections.
The interactive app, EarthSystemData, displays the same data currently used by climate scientists and politicians to monitor changes across the globe. It enables users to see worldwide climate projections up to the year 2100, monitor real-time data to track current conditions and retrieve information for any global town or city.
"It's aimed at anyone who's interested in the environment," said EarthSystemData's founder, and UEA Senior Research Associate, Dr. Craig Wallace. "For example, it made it easy to follow this summer's extreme weather, seeing how conditions evolved day-to-day, from the temperatures in Europe to the events unfolding in north-west America that resulted in devastating forest fires.
"At the height of the UK heatwave, from 22-31 July, the average temperature in the London area over the 10 days was 3°C above normal – very large in climate terms. In Lapland, the figures are even more compelling, with an average temperature over the same period that was 7.5°C above normal, leading to the closure of nuclear reactors and widespread crop failures.
"I wanted to create a way to display the actual data we use for scientific research to enable people not only to see what's happening but also develop a feel for how climate evolution is different from the rapid local weather anomalies that pass in a day or so. I believe it's important that everyone can see the changes for themselves and find out what we can expect for the world in the future."
The name EarthSystemData reflects the connected nature of the planet and how changes in one area can impact another. The app uses data produced by UEA for future projections and includes a blog from Dr. Wallace.
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Find out more about the app at www.earthsystemdata.com