An online data viewer from NOAA's Coastal Services Center providing user-friendly access to regional land cover and land cover change information. The Land Cover Atlas eliminates the need for desktop geographic information system software, or advanced technical expertise, by processing Coastal Change Analysis Program data for the user and providing easy access. The tool summarizes general change trends (such as forest losses or new development) and can highlight specific changes of interest (salt marsh losses to open water, or evergreen forest losses to development, for instance).
OpenNSPECT, an open-source version of the Nonpoint-Source Pollution and Erosion Comparison Tool (N-SPECT), is a plugin to the free MapWindow GIS open-source platform. Enhancements in this version of N-SPECT include faster processing time, additional coefficients for common land cover data products, and a comparison function to evaluate differences in land use scenarios.
This tool from NOAA's Coastal Service Center helps to construct websites that identify potential hazards for specific locations. Website users identify the location by address, owner name, or by clicking in the map. The tool queries the hazards data to determine the hazards zone(s) for the location. Typical users include planning and permitting departments, residents applying for building permits, hazard mitigation officials, and natural resource planners. The tool's functionality can be set up for any location that has the required data and resources.
The Impervious Surface Analysis Tool (ISAT), which is available as a geographic information system extension, is used to calculate the percentage of impervious surface area within user-selected geographic areas (e.g, watersheds, municipalities, subdivisions). In small watersheds, the correlation between an increase in impervious surfaces and a decrease in water quality has been well established. People use the information derived from ISAT to predict how different management scenarios might impact local water quality.
CanVis is a visualization program used to see potential impacts from coastal development or sea level rise. Users can download background pictures and insert the objects (hotel, house, marina, or other objects) of their choosing. The free PC-based software is used by municipalities to brainstorm new ideas and policies, undertake project planning, and make presentations.
This year's theme for the annual forum held in Washington, DC is “the value and sustainability of the weather, water and climate enterprise.” Recent research indicates that the annual economic impact of weather events is as much as $485 billion in the United States.
Global climate is changing, and this is apparent across the U.S. in a wide range of observations. Rising temperatures, changes in precipitation and extreme events and their causes and impacts on society and the environment are chronicled in the 2013 National Climate Assessment. A team of over 240 experts compiled the report, which is open for public comment through April 12, 2013.
Climate normals are the average values of meteorological parameters -- such as temperature, precipitation, frost/freeze data, and snowfall data -- over 30-year spans. The climate normals data help describe typical climate conditions for a given place and time of year, and are used as a baseline to which current conditions can be compared.