This week, Climate Central launched the Climate Shift Index (CSI), the world’s first tool to quantify the impact of climate change on local weather in real time. Based on peer-reviewed science, the Climate Shift Index enables communicators, including weathercasters and other media professionals, to more easily and effectively explain climate change connections to local conditions as they happen.
Recently featured in the Washington Post, the CSI tool reveals the level of influence of carbon emissions on daily high and low temperatures across the entire continental U.S.. Using a simple numeric scale, the CSI levels indicate how much more likely or frequent high temperatures and overnight lows have become in warmer climates for the current day, previous day, and subsequent two days.
“Climate change is invisible to most people, but it already affects our daily lives. When it’s too hot to safely work outside, play sports, or walk down a city street, the Climate Shift Index will reveal its fingerprint. When crops wilt, when tornadoes or fires erupt in unseasonal heat, the Climate Shift Index can put those events in context,” explains Benjamin Strauss, Climate Central CEO and chief scientist. “The Climate Shift Index will inform everyday conversations with the science of how our lives and communities are changing around us.”
Assessing how climate change impacts daily weather adds a critical dimension to attribution science, according to co-author Friederike Otto, senior lecturer in Climate Science at Imperial College London and co-lead of World Weather Attribution. “When extreme weather occurs, we talk about climate change–when it hits us in the face. But climate change is affecting weather every day, temperatures most strongly, with consequences we haven’t even started to think about, let alone calculate and prevent. To truly adapt, we need to first understand the impacts of climate change more comprehensively.”
Climate studies over the past decade have resoundingly concluded that slowing climate change and avoiding its worst impacts requires leaving the majority of known fossil fuel reserves in the ground. The 11th Hour Project supports organizations and movements in the United States focused on resisting oil and gas development, designing rapid and just transition plans for existing fossil fuel infrastructure, and re-envisioning how energy is generated, distributed and owned. Our goal is to help communities build energy systems that are more resilient, safe, equitable and democratic. To learn more about our energy program, visit https://11thhourproject.org/energy/