North American On-line, Interactive Informational Platform on Climate Change

Status: Completed
Operational Plan: 2011-2012

Since 1990, North American greenhouse gas emissions have increased by almost 18 percent, or at roughly the same rate as total energy use. Increases in atmospheric greenhouse gas levels are driving important and long-term changes to our global climate. The impacts of climate change include warmer year-round average air temperatures (which have already risen by more than 2° in the last 50 years and are projected to continue to increase), high-intensity precipitation events, more frequent heat waves and prolonged drought, warmer ocean temperatures, rising sea levels, and, ocean acidification.

Understanding how our climate is changing and where impacts will be felt requires long-term data and information. Climate change information however, is complex, dynamic, and rapidly growing. Some of the information is highly technical and buried in the large amounts of data available.

Government scientific officials need effective ways to determine which information is scientifically- based, regionally-relevant and vetted internationally. They also need easy access to up-to-date information to inform decisions on policy and directions for research. More importantly, there is a significant need for information at the North American scale to enable continental climate change impacts to be addressed and to build a shared context for regional adaptation and mitigation through trinational cooperation.

This project will develop a new, dynamic approach to enable data and information exchange, in part through the incorporation of emerging social media tools. The platform will provide access to information that is comparable and compatible and in a form that is useful at a North American scale. In addition, the project will act as a knowledge broker, both gathering and disseminating relevant information.

Accomplishments

The CEC has already supported an online platform for its geospatial data through the North American Environmental Atlas. It has also developed several comparable and compatible data platforms at the North American scale, including the North American Pollutant Release and Transfer Register project.