Obama unleashing power of data on climate change

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 19, 2014 at 5:09 pm •  Published: March 19, 2014
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration hopes to fight global warming with the geeky power of numbers, maps and even gaming-type simulations.

Officials figure the more you know about climate change the more likely you will do something.

"People need to understand what is happening and what is likely to happen," White House science adviser John Holdren told reporters.

The White House on Wednesday announced an initiative to provide private companies and local governments better access to already public climate data. The idea is that with that localized data they can help the public understand the risks they face, especially in coastal areas where flooding is a big issue.

The government also is working with several high-tech companies, such as Google, Microsoft and Intel, to come up with tools to make communities more resilient in dealing with weather extremes, such as flooding, heat waves and drought. They include computer simulations for people to use and see what would happen with rising seas and other warming scenarios. Also, companies will hold brainstorming sessions with computer programmers aimed at designing new apps on disaster risk.

For example Esri, a company that does geographic information systems, used federal data to show what would happen to New York neighborhoods if sea level rises by 3 feet — which scientists say is likely by the end of the century. It would displace 780,000 people, Esri CEO Jack Dangermond said.