Climate Intelligence Empowers Communities

Climate change is already happening. Regardless of the politics behind it, the facts are clear: we are experiencing rising sea levels, more extreme weather events, coral reef damage, and higher ocean temperatures.

In order for us to stop it, we also have to reverse it.

Unless you are Suriname or Bhutan, that’s not happening anytime soon, assuming it’s even possible. Therefore, innovators must empower communities with actionable climate intelligence to address critical infrastructure.

Consider that all infrastructure was—and is—built, maintained, and used within weather-related baseline conditions. As those conditions change, whether hotter, dryer, wetter, or more frequent events, infrastructure remains the same, in effect built for past conditions, not the present or future.

With the advent of new technologies via drones, satellites, sensors, and a myriad of other data collection engines, we have the data necessary to understand and quantify risk given different and or changing conditions. Data—related to air temperatures, air quality, rainfall (or the lack thereof), land use, vegetative cover, quarter quality, roads, structures, and right-of-ways—already reflect current conditions.

Consolidating that data holistically allows us to understand how a neighborhood, city, county, or region functions on a daily basis, and how climate events affect their wellbeing. Applying this across every city, county, or region allows leaders to understand how the impact of a climate event in one area affects another region altogether. Because it all, ultimately, ties together.

Ignoring the data, or assuming it’s too hard to evaluate or impossible to simplify to actionable insights, results in stagnation—economic, environmental, educational, and social—that can break down a community. When a community fails, other communities thrive and connect elsewhere, focusing on those regions that operate effectively.

There’s another aspect of this, which includes understanding inputs to the atmosphere that drive climate change. Capturing that data, analyzing it, tracking it, and implementing improvements to reduce global emissions must be implemented alongside adaptation.

In doing so, applying climate intelligence to cities and facilities reduces climate-related risks, whether short or long-term, ultimately strengthening the financial viability of the organization or the community that adopts it.

About the author

Erin Rothman

Talk stormwater with With more than 15 years of environmental consulting experience, Erin observed so many opportunities for innovation in the stormwater industry. With those in mind, she founded StormSensor to enthusiastically embrace new technology to help solve the problems of an age-old industry.