Predicting tomorrow’s extreme climate change weather is not just a hunch. Tornadoes, hurricanes, heatwaves, torrential downpours, droughts – we’ve are seeing more and more of them. Knowing what locations have been hardest hit by climate change weather gives scientists necessary data to predict where the next severe weather will happen. This data is now available to everyone via a new interactive online map that uses some 50 years of weather data from the WorldClim database of global climate data collected from 50,000 weather stations around the world.
A climatogram of Cincinnati, generated by the map
Called ClimateEx, the map was created by Tomasz Stepinski, a geography professor at the University of Cincinnati who says “When people think about climate change, they think about temperature: global warming. But climate has many components, including precipitation. People often consider temperature and precipitation separately. But our mathematical model includes both.” The model lets us see the most dramatic changes in climate over time, including the warming arctic. You can also see how the weather has changed since 2000 and what it will be like in 2070. For instance, the map indicates that Central America and the northern part of South America are at risk of increased heat and rainfall, as are Papua New Guinea, southeastern China, the west coast of the US and most importantly for sea level change, Greenland and the Arctic. Stepinski says the climate is always changing. “But it usually changes on a geological timescale. It’s not surprising that the climate today is different from the climate a half-million years ago. But now we’re experiencing changes on a scale of 100 years. That’s a completely different thing.”