Understanding local climate impacts for decision making

November 3, 2014

Understanding how climate impacts weather on the local level is an essential ability for any meteorologist or climatologist. That’s why the National Weather Service developed the Local Climate Analysis Tool (LCAT)—a Web-based tool that helps you link local weather and water events to signals in the climate system, understand how global climate change contributes to local climate trends, and explore how climate variability contributes to local impacts.

The video below outlines the benefits and functionality of the LCAT.

Produced by the Climate.gov video team: Ned Gardiner, Kurt Mann, Alicia Albee, and Bruce Sales.

Context

Most climate-sensitive decisions occur at the city, county, or state level, so it’s important to identify and predict climate-related impacts on water and weather at a local level. Developed originally to support National Weather Service field offices, the Local Climate Analysis Tool (LCAT) offers data-driven answers to climate-related questions. The tool links local weather and water events to signals in the climate system, helping you answer questions about how the climate variability and change contribute to local climate trends.

LCAT provides access to climate data to help you better understand the relationships between major climate patterns and historical temperature and precipitation observations. This local-to-national perspective on climate can show you how climate variability and change have influenced temperature and precipitation in your community in recent decades, and how those trends may continue into the future.

In order to analyze both climate variability and change, you can dive all the way into weather station data or zoom out to larger regions for which NOAA compiles statistics. These weather-climate linkages can help you make better forecasts and help you and your community become more resilient to climate-related impacts.

Access the Tool

LCAT is a public tool for NOAA technical users, members of other government and state agencies, as well as academic partners.  Registration is required to use the Local Climate Analysis Tool: http://nws.weather.gov/lcat/home.

Once logged in, you can access the tool by clicking "LCAT" at the top right-hand side of the page. Here, you'll be able to generate reports on climate change impacts and climate variability impacts, as well as correlation studies. You can save your generated reports for future use. Clicking "Learn" in the upper right-hand navigation bar will take you to a number of training modules on various LCAT subjects.

Other Resources

LCAT Learn training modules (login required)

http://www.weather.gov/

Weather and Climate Toolkit