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Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ Topics

About Cal-Adapt (7)
Data (8)
Terms (3)
» All (18)
Q

What is Cal-Adapt?

A

Cal-adapt is a web-based climate adaptation planning tool.  Cal-adapt allows the user to identify potential climate change risks in specific geographic areas throughout the state.  Users can either query by location, or click on an interactive map to explore what climate impacts are projected to occur in their area of interest.

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Q

What does Cal-Adapt do?

A

Cal-adapt synthesizes volumes of existing downscaled climate change scenarios and climate impact research and presents it in an easily available, graphical layout that is intended to benefit local planning efforts. The source data used within the tool are available for download, as well as further information including research organizations that have developed the data, and relevant scientific publications.

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Q

What doesn't Cal-Adapt do?

A

Cal-adapt is not a comprehensive resource in finding climate impacts to specific areas.  If there are vulnerability studies specific to your area (the Bay Area will soon have one, for example), they should be consulted.  These are not forecasts - they are potential scenarios based on downscaled IPCC models to describe how climate may evolve in California.

Cal-adapt is, however, and excellent tool for starting the discussion to take action in response to climate change, offering a preliminary rendering of the extent of climate projections and impacts, and serving as a starting point for adaptation planning. You can even download supporting data directly from the website.  If a locality wants to get more detailed information, a list of the specific studies supporting Cal-Adapt can be referenced.

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Q

How can Cal-Adapt be used?

A

The immediate and convenient accessibility to climate impacts supported by the latest research (downscaled to CA's geography) allows planners to obtain knowledge of potential climate impacts in their area, and subsequently determine the vulnerabilities to those impacts.  Once those vulnerabilities are identified, strategies can be developed to prepare for and respond to the impacts.

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Q

Why did we develop Cal-Adapt?

A

The state developed Cal-Adapt to provide CA communities with some of the tools and information needed to begin planning for climate impacts.  The planning process truly begins once climate impacts and vulnerabilities are known, and this tool provides a convenient and effective way to explore this.

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Q

Where does Cal-Adapt fit in with other initiatives?

A

While Cal-Adapt is targeted to communities just starting a climate planning process, the information can be helpful for those communities that have either begun or have already completed a climate adaptation strategy, as the data sources of this tool will be routinely updated.

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Q

How can I find out more about new features and data sets that are planned to be added to Cal-Adapt?

A

Visit our What's to come? page to learn more about new features and data sets that are expected to be added to the site.

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Q

Where can I find out more about how the Climate Data used in the site were developed?

A

Visit our Understanding Climate Change section to find out more about different emissions scenarios and climate models

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Q

Where does Cal-Adapt's data come from?

A

The data used within Cal-Adapt have been contributed from a variety of research labs around the State of California.  Information about where specific data sets are from can be found in our Data Sources page.

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Q

What is a projection?

A

The term "projection" is used in two senses in the climate change literature. In general usage, a projection can be regarded as any description of the future and the pathway leading to it. However, a more specific interpretation has been attached to the term "climate projection" by the IPCC when referring to model-derived estimates of future climate.

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Q

What is a Scenario?

A

A coherent, internally consistent and plausible description of a possible future state of the world. It is not a forecast; rather, each scenario is one alternative image of how the future can unfold. A set of scenarios is often adopted to reflect, as well as possible, the range of uncertainty in projections. Other terms that have been used as synonyms for scenario are "characterization", "storyline" and "construction".

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Q

What is uncertainty?

A

The future climate data available, and used within Cal-Adapt, represent a projection of potential future climate scenarios, they are not predictions. These data are meant to illustrate how the climate may change based on a variety of different potential social and economic factors.  A thorough examination of model performance and evaluations can be found in the IPCC's Third Assessment Report.

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Q

What is the IPCC?

A

Acronym for Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. IPCC is the leading international body for the assessment of climate change. It was established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to provide the world with a clear scientific view on the current state of knowledge in climate change and its potential environmental and socio-economic impacts. More Info »

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Q

How do I open ".tgz" files downloaded in the raster download tool?

A

The .tgz files are zipped packages that contain multiple climate data layer files.  You can use an application such as 7zip to extract the data files.

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Q

How can I view Raster data that I download from Cal-Adapt?

A

Raster data may be viewed and used in analysis in a GIS.  There are many GIS applications to choose from such as ESRI's ArcGIS, or the open source and freely available Quantum GIS.  

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Q

What are Climate Change "Impacts?"

A

Consequences of climate change on natural and human systems. Depending on the consideration of adaptation, one can distinguish between potential impacts and residual impacts.  Potential impacts are those that may occur given a projected change in climate, without considering adaptation.

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Q

What does "Vulnerability" mean with respect to Climate Change?

A

Susceptibility to change or harm. The degree to which a system is exposed to, susceptible to, and (un)able to cope with and adapt to the adverse effects of climate change, including climate variability and extremes.

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Q

What does "Adaptation" mean with respect to Climate Change?

A

Adjustments in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, aimed at minimizing harm or taking advantage of beneficial opportunities.

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