Extreme Weather Mapping Portal Launches New Strategy for US Climate Resiliency

Extreme Weather Mapping Portal Launches New Strategy for US Climate Resiliency

The new Climate Mapping for Resilience and Adaptation (CMRA) website, designed by mapping firm Ersi, shows users how climate change will affect their city. Real-time maps and statistics of extreme weather, including heat, drought, wildfire, inland flooding, and coastal flooding, offer regional insights that can assist in emergency preparedness.

The platform’s interactive assessment tool, organized by census tract, allows visitors to the site to enter any US address and discover the current risks in that area. It also offers an area-specific glimpse at climate change impacts with projects 10, 30, and 60 years into the future.

Why This Matters

This US has been subject to brutal extreme weather this year. Prolonged drought in the West caused the largest wildfire in Colorado’s history this winter, far outside the bounds of a typical fire season. This summer’s extreme heat has reached new peaks. In late July, 359 daily high-temperature records were set across the country in a single week. In early August, the death toll from extreme heat was already higher than the 10- and 30-year national averages. These heatwaves also killed crops and spiked wildfires, one of which occurred in California, becoming so large and hot over its 46 days of activity that it generated its own cloud formations and weather. The CMRA site is sure to be a crucial tool in aiding cities as they attempt to adjust to a new normal of extreme weather.

Helping Cities Plan

Preparedness, adaptation, and mitigation efforts are necessary to preserve and protect infrastructure in US cities from climate change-fueled weather. Still, many of these places remain unprepared.

In the Southwest, Phoenix and San Antonio populations are among the fastest growing in the country despite both cities regularly experiencing dangerous and extreme heat. San Antonio has had more than 50 days of triple-digit temperatures this year, and Phoenix has seen a record number of heat-related deaths.

Heatwaves in California and Texas strained the states’ power grids, potentially overwhelming its entire electrical system. In addition to amplifying wildfire risks, the West’s megadrought has depleted the country’s second-largest reservoir, Lake Powell, which many states rely on for water and hydropower.

FOX 11 LA: California avoids rolling blackouts thanks to phone alert, September 7, 2022.

Some consumers, however, now take climate change into account when choosing where to buy a home since property values and insurance premiums could rise and fall dramatically depending on location and vulnerability to extreme weather.

As the country’s landscape and infrastructure needs change rapidly, local policymakers and their constituencies need programs and platforms, like the CMRA, to aid in planning and adaptation measures.

“We are spending tens of millions of dollars on climate resilience and investments that are related, and this tool will help me understand where are the most effective places to put those dollars,” said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego at a press conference.