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Hot map hard to ignore: interactive map points out local climate impacts

Screen shot of the new Climate Hot Map. Screenshot of Climate Hot Map from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).
Screen shot of the new Climate Hot Map. Screenshot of Climate Hot Map from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

A global interactive map has been developed by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) to highlight climate impacts already occurring worldwide. From glacier melt risking water supplies in Bolivia to coral bleaching off the coast of Florida, the Climate Hot Map employs the best in climate science to bring home the impacts of global warming.

“One of the main goals of the map is to really bring the science of climate change to life by connecting it to people’s daily lives around the world,” explained UCS climate scientist Brenda Ekwurzel in a press release. “That’s the part of climate research that’s sometimes hard to get from scientific publications.

The map, which will have updated impacts every month, shows climate change impacts in five categories: terrestrial ecosystems, temperature, freshwater, oceans, and people, which includes threats to food supplies, the economy, and public health.

Users can also find out how to decrease their own emissions under Find Solutions.

“Once you find out about your own region, you start to get interested in other regions that are facing global warming consequences. We think a map will make it easier for people to get the big picture of what’s going on around the world,” Ekwurzel adds.

According to decades of research from thousands of scientists, the world is warming because of emissions of greenhouse gases from human actions, such as burning fossil fuels and destroying forests. During the 20th Century, the global average temperature rose about 1.33 degrees Fahrenheit (0.74 degrees Celsius). Future warming depends on how rapidly global society brings down current emissions. Expected impacts from climate change include more frequent and worsening extreme weather events, greater precipitation events (both rain and snow), worsening droughts for parts of the world, global sea level rise due to polar melting, large-scale species extinctions, ocean acidification, a rise in massive fires, changes in the range of diseases, and many others. Water supplies, food production, societal health, the global economy, and international stability are all expected to be threatened by climate change.

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