The Challenge

Climate change is already impacting our everyday lives. Record-breaking temperatures, melting ice on land and sea, more frequent coastal flooding, prolonged droughts, and damaging storms are just some of the intensifying risks we face as our globe continues to warm.

Weather and climate – the overall distribution of weather over time – impact our health, our communities, and our economy. Temperature affects everything from the amount of energy we consume to heat and cool our homes and offices to our ability to work and play outside. Precipitation levels determine not only how much water we have to drink but also the performance of entire economic sectors, from agriculture to recreation to tourism. Extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, droughts, and inland flooding can be particularly damaging, devastating entire communities and local economies.
Economic and technological development has made us less vulnerable to the elements. Lighting allows us to work and play after the sun goes down. Buildings protect us from wind and water. Heating and air-conditioning allow us to enjoy temperate conditions at all times of the day and year. That economic growth, however, has begun to change the climate. Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion and deforestation, along with other greenhouse gases (GHGs), are raising average temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, and elevating sea levels. 
Global Average Temperatures (F) 1850-2016
Source: Berkeley Earth (www.berkeleyearth.org)

 

The best available scientific evidence suggests that changes in the climate observed over the past few decades are likely to accelerate

The best available scientific evidence suggests that changes in the climate observed over the past few decades are likely to accelerate, with implications for the health and welfare of every community around the world and the performance of every sector of the economy. To confront these challenges, business leaders, policymakers, investors, and other stakeholders need information about the nature of the risks they face. They are asking: what impact is climate change having on my supply chain, my investment or my local community today? How will this change going forward? How can that risk be mitigated by reducing GHG emissions and investing in more resilient infrastructure and public health systems and other forms of adaptation? And, how much will it cost?
These questions remain largely unanswered at the level of detail and with the level of rigor required for effective decision-making. The Climate Impact Lab is changing that by combining cutting edge climate science, statistical and mathematical research, data engineering, and advanced computing to produce evidence-based climate risk information at the local level.