The Climate Mapping for a Resilient Washington webtool provides state agencies, local governments and communities in Washington State with data and information on changes in the climate and related natural hazards to inform planning for climate resilience.
The information is intended for general planning and assessment, such as climate vulnerability assessments, climate resilience plans, climate action plans, or climate resilience elements in comprehensive plans. The information can also be used for internal and external education and communications by providing a common understanding of the expected changes in the climate in your area.
Data Visualization and Exploration:
Maps depict changes in the climate and climate-related natural hazards at the scale of the data from climate and hydrologic models. Graphs and tables summarize changes for counties in Washington. Communities and jurisdictions within counties are encouraged to use county summaries because the precision of most climate models is not sufficient to simulate changes at the scale of a city or town, nor to show variation within a county, except where there are significant geographic differences such as steep gradients in elevation.
You can explore the data by selecting a county and filtering by a sector or climate hazard. For each sector and hazard, a customized list of climate indicators, i.e., changes in the climate and natural hazards, is provided. Projected changes can be explored for multiple future scenarios and 30-year time periods through 2100 (See ABOUT CLIMATE DATA and DEFINITIONS for more information).
Selecting a Future Time Period:
For the purpose of climate resilience assessment and planning, it is recommended to use a time period that is consistent with your planning horizon. However, later time periods may also be appropriate to consider because some actions to build climate resilience will require decades of planning before implementation and the design life of some assets and infrastructure can be decades to centuries, so exposure to changes in the climate will continue beyond the planning horizon. Data is not available for all climate indicators for all time periods.
Selecting a Greenhouse Gas Scenario:
The selection of a greenhouse gas scenario depends on the time period and purpose of the application. A thorough assessment and planning process will explore multiple future scenarios and assess whether the impacts of concern differ among the scenarios. The higher greenhouse gas scenario (RCP 8.5) causes more warming by the end of the century compared to the moderate (A1B) and lower (RCP 4.5) scenario, but the scenarios do not differ significantly prior to 2050. For near-future applications, the choice of greenhouse gas scenario is less important than for late century applications. Data are not available for all climate indicators for all greenhouse gas scenarios.
Downloading the Data and Figures:
Maps, graphs, tables, and data can be downloaded for use in external reports or presentations either using the blue buttons or clicking on the maps and graphs in the display.
Understanding the Importance:
For each combination of sector, hazard, and indicator, additional information explains what factors to consider in your county or community to understand how exposure, sensitivity, and potential impacts will vary locally. Local data and expertise is critical to understand how systems, assets, and people will experience changes in the climate and natural hazards. For many changes in the climate, there is little variation across the state, so local information and expertise on current exposure, conditions, and sensitivity should be combined with the climate projections provided in the webtool.
Exposure: What local factors affect how much change a sector experiences?
Local exposure to changes in the climate depends on the amount and rate of change, as well as the presence of systems, assets, and people in places that are projected to change. Local variation in exposure requires local information about current exposure to hazards, such as flood zones, wildland-urban interface, urban heat islands and locations of vulnerable populations.
Sensitivity: What local factors affect susceptibility of a sector to change?
Not all people, assets, or systems will be affected in the same way by changes. Sensitivity is the degree to which a system or population is likely to be affected by the change. Locally, sensitivity will depend on characteristics and current conditions of systems, assets, and populations that predispose them to climate impacts. Local information and expertise should be combined with the climate projections provided in this webtool to assess sensitivity.
Without adaptation, changes in the climate are expected to affect systems, assets, and populations in many ways that will vary by sector and hazard. The impacts in your area will also depend on local exposure, sensitivity, and the capacity to adapt to the changes.