Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar recently signed an order to establish a coordinated strategy within the United States Department of the Interior (DOI) to improve response to climate change. During the press conference announcing the order, DOI staff used ESRI geographic information system (GIS) technology to demonstrate the current and future impacts of global climate change.
“I’m issuing the order because the Department of Interior must continue to change how it does business and to respond to the energy and climate change challenges which I consider to be the signature issues of the twenty-first century,” said Salazar.
Science adviser Kit Batten and enterprise geographic information management lead Robert R. Pierce, Ph.D., used ArcGIS Explorer to show where on the globe climate change is taking place and what that change looks like. “This is a live demonstration,” said Batten. “It demonstrates how Interior’s scientific expertise, data resources, and geospatial analysis and visualization capabilities help us understand, anticipate, and deal with the impacts of climate change.”
Batten used ArcGIS Explorer to show a 3D globe indicating increases in surface temperatures around the world and where warming negatively impacts the United States. Map points indicated incidents of extreme weather, such as large hail and strong tornados, and lines showed the paths of intense hurricanes.
Batten also explained that as greenhouse gases continue to warm the environment and cause glaciers and permafrost to melt, scientists anticipate sea-level rises of up to one meter by the end of the century. The ArcGIS Explorer globe showed potential impacts to coastal communities. “This information is imperative for designing strategies to protect our low-lying coastal communities,” she said.
To better manage these and many other environmental impacts, Secretary Salazar’s order includes establishing a Climate Change Response Council and Regional Climate Change Response Centers, creating a network of Landscape Conservation Cooperatives, overseeing the DOI Carbon Storage Project, and lowering the department’s carbon footprint.
DOI will continue to leverage its investment in GIS technology for complex data analysis, data sharing, and collaboration with government agencies to address the vast nature of climate change challenges.
[Source: ESRI news release]