Craig Wallace, a senior research associate at UEA, has released EarthSystemData, one of the world’s first apps to enable users to explore current and future climate change information.
“I want members of the public to have access to the same climate information that governments and businesses are using to plan for the future,” said Wallace. “I wanted to build an app that was similar in character to a weather app but displayed information on climate timescales.”
EarthSystemData is a combined web and app-based service that provides an up-to-date overview of current climate conditions and climate projections on a local and global basis.
“The future projections contained in the app I hope have obvious value to the users, for any town or city you can see the present-day climate conditions, and compare what’s happening now with decadal projections out to 2100,” said Wallace. “At the peak of the heatwave, London’s average temperatures were resembling projections for the 2070s. Users can access the app during ongoing climate anomalies and use these to get a sense for possible futures.”
Future climate projections are made from the current latest generation of international global climate circulation models, which are computational models of the Earth’s atmosphere, oceans and other global systems. These systems assist in simulating the effects of both natural and man-made impacts upon the Earth’s climate in both the present and the future.
Currently, the app predicts an approximate doubling of greenhouse concentrations by 2100. Furthermore, the Met Office declared that, for the UK, this summer was the joint hottest on record alongside 2006, 2003 and 1976.
“In my opinion, we are at the stage where we are seriously jeopardising reversibility of climate change,” said Wallace. “How these factors can be reversed, if at all, and on what time scale leads to some pretty bleak thoughts. We really are standing on the cliff edge.”