The U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit—a Webby Award-nominated website—provides scientific tools, information, and expertise to help people manage their climate-related risks and opportunities, and improve their resilience to extreme events. The site is designed to serve interested citizens, communities, businesses, resource managers, planners, and policy leaders at all levels of government.
A Climate-Smart Approach to Taking Action
To built the Toolkit, U.S. federal government agencies gathered resources that can help people take action to build their climate resilience. The impacts of climate change—including higher temperatures, heavier downpours, more frequent and intense droughts, wildfires, and floods, and sea level rise—are affecting communities, businesses, and natural resources across the nation.
Now is the time to act. For some, taking a business-as-usual approach has become more risky than taking steps to build their climate resilience. People who recognize they are vulnerable to climate variability and change can work to reduce their vulnerabilities, and find win-win opportunities that simultaneously boost local economies, create new jobs, and improve the health of ecosystems. This is a climate-smart approach—investing in activities that build resilience and capacity while reducing risk.
What's in the Toolkit? How can it help?
Using plain language and easy-to-use tools, the Climate Resilience Toolkit illustrates climate-related vulnerabilities that people face, from national to local scales, and summarizes specific steps they can take to become more resilient. The site offers the following resources:
- Steps to Resilience—a five-step process you can follow to initiate, plan, and implement projects to become more resilient to climate-related hazards.
- Real-world Case Studies describing climate-related risks and opportunities that communities and businesses face, steps they’re taking to plan and respond, and tools and techniques they’re using to improve resilience.
- A catalog of freely available Tools for accessing and analyzing climate data, generating visualizations, exploring climate projections, estimating hazards, and engaging stakeholders in resilience-building efforts.
- Climate Explorer—a visualization tool that offers maps of climate projects at the county scale. The legacy version of this tool includes climate stressors and impacts and interactive graphs showing daily observations and long-term averages from thousands of weather stations.
- Topic narratives that explain how climate variability and change can impact particular regions of the country and sectors of society.
- A beta version of a Regional section with a focus on climate impacts and building climate resilience in Alaska and the Arctic, Hawai'i and Pacific Islands, and the Northeast.
- Pointers to free, federally developed training courses that can build skills for using climate tools and data.
- Maps highlighting the locations of centers where federal and state agencies can provide regional climate information.
- The ability to Search the entire federal government’s climate science domain and filter results according to your interests.
Toolkit Development and Management
This inter-agency initiative operates under the auspices of the United States Global Change Research Program. The site is managed by NOAA’s Climate Program Office and is hosted by NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.
The Toolkit is built in the Drupal content management system. It was developed over a six-month period by a partnership of federal agencies and organizations led by NOAA and initially launched on November 17, 2014. Version 1.5—with a clean, mobile-friendly design—was launched in July 2016.
UNC Asheville’s NEMAC is an integral part of the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit development and editorial team. NEMAC staff partnered with NOAA personnel for the site’s initial conception and development, working from the brainstorming stage through design, content development, and initial launch. We continue to work closely with NOAA's Climate Program Office to manage the site's design, development, and content.
In addition to the Toolkit’s website, NEMAC staff also developed the initial version of its featured tool: Climate Explorer. Climate Explorer is a visualization tool that offers maps of climate stressors and impacts, as well as interactive graphs showing daily observations and long-term averages from thousands of weather stations across the nation.