Innovation That Matters

Climate Shift Index for low temperatures on June 14, 2022 | Photo source Climate Central

A new index shows the influence of climate change in real time


The index allows people to see the impact of climate change on their local weather

Spotted: While climate change is undoubtedly leading to more extreme weather events, it can be difficult to understand how climate change is impacting on local weather. After all, how are we to determine if an unseasonably warm day is due to global warming or is simply normal variation in temperature? Climate Central is attempting to answer this question with the Climate Shift Index (CSI), a free tool that reveals the level of influence of carbon emissions on daily high and low temperatures.

Climate Central, is a non-profit organisation and an independent group of scientists who research and report the facts about the changing climate and how it affects people’s lives. Climate Central uses science and big data to generate local information that makes climate change personal and helps show what can be done about it.

The CSI indicates how much more likely or frequent high temperatures and overnight lows have become in a given location. The index uses observation and model-based calculations, along with a clear and easy-to-follow colour-coded map covering the entire continental US, and a simple numeric scale. For example, a CSI level of 3 means the day’s temperatures were made at least three times more likely than they would have been without climate change.

Benjamin Strauss, Climate Central CEO and chief scientist points out that, “Climate change is invisible to most people, but it already affects our daily lives. When it’s too hot to safely work outside, play sports, or walk down a city street, the Climate Shift Index will reveal its fingerprint. When crops wilt, when tornadoes or fires erupt in unseasonal heat, the Climate Shift Index can put those events in context.”

Awareness of the impact of climate change is often seen as a first, and important, step to effecting change. This is why we are seeing a growing number of innovations aimed at measuring local effects of climate change, to help individuals and professionals better counter them. These range from data management platforms aimed at forestry professionals to a ‘heat map’ of climate injustice.

Written By: Lisa Magloff



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