Update from the White House on their Climate Data Initiative

Yesterday the White House launched the second phase of the Climate Data Initiative, focused on leveraging climate data and innovation to make food systems more resilient to climate change and reduce the impact of agriculture on climate change.  We are delighted to have a range of Administration announcements and private sector commitments that came together for today’s news.
Here is a fact sheet describing what they are announcing today: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/07/29/fact-sheet-empowering-america-s-agricultural-sector-and-strengthening-fo
And here’s a blog from White House Science Advisor John Holdren and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack on the launch: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2014/07/29/unleashing-climate-data-empower-america-s-agricultural-sector

Please share these widely with your partners and networks. Thanks for your support for the initiative and your commitment to acting on climate change!

Cal-adapt in the news

Kevin and I wrote a blog story for UC's Center for Forestry on Cal-Adapt. We walk through the local tools for a community by focusing on Eureka in Humboldt County. Humboldt County, located in Northwest California, is the southern gateway to the Pacific Northwest. The County is bound on the north by Del Norte County; on the east by Siskiyou and Trinity counties; on the south by Mendocino County and on the west by the Pacific Ocean. The County encompasses 2.3 million acres, 80 percent of which is forestlands, protected redwoods and recreation areas. Humboldt County faces a range of changes to its local climate: temperature, snowpack, fire regimes and sea level. Each of these can be explored with Cal-Adapt Local Snapshot tool.

Check it out: http://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=9573

California Climate Change Portal

Climate change is expected to have significant, widespread impacts on California's economy and environment. California's unique and valuable natural treasures - hundreds of miles of coastline, high value forestry and agriculture, snow-melt fed fresh water supply, vast snow and water fueled recreational opportunities, as well as other natural wonders - are especially at risk.

California is leading the way with prevention measures to reduce greenhouse gases, but no matter how quickly we cut our climate polluting emissions, climate impacts will still occur. Many impacts - increased fires, floods, severe storms and heat waves - are occurring already and will only become more frequent and more costly. There are many things we can do to protect against climate change impacts. Taking steps now to prepare for and adapt to climate change will protect public health and safety, our economy and our future.

The state of California has released the Climate Change Portal, where you will find resources you can use and actions you can take to address both climate change prevention and climate change adaptation. Cal-adapt is a big part of the portal.

ASPRS 2012 Wrap-up

ASPRS 2012, held in Sacramento California, had about 1,100 participants. I am back to being bullish about our organization, as I now recognize that ASPRS is the only place in geospatial sciences where members of government, industry, and academia can meet, discuss, and network in a meaningful way. I saw a number of great talks, met with some energetic and informative industry reps, and got to catch up with old friends. Some highlights: Wednesday's Keynote speaker was David Thau from Google Earth Engine whose talk "Terapixels for Everyone" was designed to showcase the ways in which the public's awareness of imagery, and their ability to interact with geospatial data, are increasing. He calls this phenomena (and GEE plays a big role here): "geo-literacy for all", and discussed new technologies for data/imagery acquisition, processing, and dissemination to a broad public(s) that can include policy makers, land managers, and scientists. USGS's Ken Hudnut was Thursday's Keynote, and he had a sobering message about California earthquakes, and the need (and use) of geospatial intelligence in disaster preparedness.

Berkeley was well represented: Kevin and Brian from the GIF gave a great workshop on open source web, Kevin presented new developments in cal-adapt, Lisa and Iryna presented chapters from their respective dissertations, both relating to wetlands, and our SNAMP lidar session with Sam, Marek, and Feng (with Wenkai and Jacob from UCMerced) was just great!

So, what is in the future for remote sensing/geospatial analysis as told at ASPRS 2012? Here are some highlights:

  • Cloud computing, massive datasets, data/imagery fusion are everywhere, but principles in basic photogrammetry should still comes into play;
  • We saw neat examples of scientific visualization, including smooth rendering across scales, fast transformations, and immersive web;
  • Evolving, scaleable algorithms for regional or global classification and/or change detection; for real-time results rendering with interactive (on-the-fly) algorithm parameter adjustment; and often involving open source, machine learning;
  • Geospatial data and analysis are heavily, but inconsistently, deployed throughout the US for disaster response;
  • Landsat 8 goes up in January (party anyone?) and USGS/NASA are looking for other novel parterships to extend the Landsat lifespan beyond that;
  • Lidar is still big: with new deployable and cheaper sensors like FLASH lidar on the one hand, and increasing point density on the other;
  • Obia, obia, obia! We organized a nice series of obia talks, and saw some great presentations on accuracy, lidar+optical fusion, object movements; but thorny issues about segmentation accuracy and object ontology remain; 
  • Public interaction with imagery and data are critical. The Public can be a broader scientific community, or a an informed and engaged community who can presumably use these types of data to support public policy engagement, disaster preparedness and response.

Cal-Adapt featured on SmartPlanet

Smartplanet recently produced a video featuring Cal-Adapt.  See it here!

At UC Berkeley's Geospatial Innovation Facility software developers are building a Web-based mapping tool to help scientists prepare for the changing climate conditions in California. The team has culled data from various climate research organizations to get projection data of what different climates might look like over a 150-year period. SmartPlanet visits the lab to see a demo of how the tool works.

Cal-adapt in the news: sea level rise needs to be considered in planning

The Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) recently voted on the planning process in the bay area. They approved a first-of-its kind policy that makes sea level rise part of regional planning decisions. The new rules require developers to plan for rising sea levels in their proposals for waterfront property. Business groups and cities cried foul when the policy was first released, saying it would hurt economic development. The KQED News post features our Cal-Adapt site. More here.

Cal-adapt goes live: making California climate change data available to all

California - 2090 - Annual Average Temperature - High EmissionsThe exciting project the GIF staff have been working on for 9 months is ready to be revealed. Cal-Adapt is a web-based climate adaptation planning tool that will help local governments respond to climate change. The site was developed by UC Berkeley’s Geospatial Innovation Facility with funding and oversight from the California Energy Commission’s Public Interest Energy Research Program. The information for Cal-Adapt was gathered from California’s scientific community and represents the most current data available.


“Cal-Adapt will allow people to identify climate change risks in specific areas around the state.” said Secretary for Natural Resources, John Laird. “This tool will be especially beneficial to government agencies and city and county planners, as they will now have access to climate change information in a very user-friendly application.”


UC Berkeley press release.