Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Cal-Adapt?

    Cal-Adapt Adapt is a web-based resource for visualizing local risks posed by projected climate change and helping to illuminate adaptation needs. Cal-Adapt enables users to explore potential climate change risks in specific geographic areas throughout California. Users can either query by location, or click on an interactive map to explore what climate impacts are projected to occur in their area of interest. Because projected impacts of climate change depend upon future emissions, Cal-Adapt allows users to explore two different emissions scenarios.

  • What does Cal-Adapt do?

    Cal-Adapt synthesizes volumes of existing downscaled climate change scenarios as well as research on climate change impacts and presents it in an easily accessible, graphic layout that is intended to benefit a variety of users, including planners, technicians, researchers, and the general public. The source data used within the tool are available for download. You can also find clear attribution of research groups that have developed the data and scientific publications relevant to impacts of climate change in California.

  • What doesn't Cal-Adapt do?

    Cal-Adapt is not a comprehensive resource for describing all climate impacts for a specific area. If there are vulnerability studies specific to your area, they should be consulted, as they are often able to incorporate a higher degree of local knowledge than is provided by Cal-Adapt's state-wide perspective. Also, Cal-Adapt does not present forecasts, but potential scenarios to describe how climate may evolve in California based on IPCC scenarios. How climate actually evolves in California depends in large point on the trajectory of global greenhouse gas emissions, which is a function of policy, technology, behavior, and other variables that have yet to be determined.Cal-Adapt is, however, an excellent tool for considering what choices must be made with regards to climate change, offering a preliminary rendering of the extent of climate projections and impacts, and serving as a starting point for adaptation planning. You can even download supporting data directly from the website. If a locality wants to get more detailed information, a list of the specific studies supporting Cal-Adapt can be referenced.

  • How can Cal-Adapt be used?

    The immediate and convenient accessibility to climate impacts supported by the high-quality, peer-reviewed research (downscaled to California's geography) allows planners to identify potential climate impacts in their area, and subsequently assess local vulnerabilities to those impacts. Once those vulnerabilities are assessed, strategies can be developed to prepare for and respond to the impacts.

  • What is the IPCC?

    Acronym for Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. IPCC is the leading international body for the assessment of climate change. It was established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to provide the world with a clear scientific view on the current state of knowledge in climate change and its potential environmental and socio-economic impacts.

  • How can I view Raster data that I download from Cal-Adapt?

    Raster data may be viewed and used in analysis in a GIS. There are many GIS applications to choose from such as ESRI's ArcGIS, or the open source and freely available Quantum GIS.

  • What are Climate Change Impacts?

    Climate change impacts are consequences of climate change on natural and human systems. Depending on the consideration of adaptation, one can distinguish between potential impacts and residual impacts. Potential impacts are those that may occur given a projected change in climate, without considering adaptation.

  • What does Vulnerability mean with respect to Climate Change?

    Susceptibility to change or harm. The degree to which a system is exposed to, susceptible to, and (un)able to cope with and adapt to the adverse effects of climate change, including climate variability and extremes.

  • What does Adaptation mean with respect to Climate Change?

    Adjustments in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, aimed at minimizing harm or taking advantage of beneficial opportunities.