Washington, Nov. 23, 2011 - How much will temperatures rise in 30, 40, or 50 years? How could changing weather affect rain-fed crops in the Horn of Africa, or winter flooding and summer droughts in Uzbekistan? And what should countries do to prepare for more intense droughts and storms?
These are the kinds of questions the World Bank hopes to answer with a new initiative to expand access to climate data and spark innovation in the fight against climate change around the world.
A new Climate Change Knowledge Portal, launched today, includes visualization tools depicting temperature and rainfall scenarios to the year 2100. It links users to more than 250 climate indicators, and includes risk profiles for 31 countries where climate open data websites may launch in the next year.
In addition, a three-month competition – Apps for Climate – will kick off in December at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa. Modeled after the Bank’s 2010 Apps for Development challenge, the competition will encourage scientists, software developers, and others to create applications that use the wealth of climate data being made available to help solve the development problems that climate change poses.
The portal, competition, and data are the latest additions to the World Bank’s Open Data Initiative. They’re part of a new effort to make climate data more accessible and useful, and also complement a push for the practical application of climate change research driven by the Green Growth Knowledge Platform, a global network of researchers and development experts.
"Development solutions have their foundation in access to data, analysis and knowledge," said World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick. "This new initiative will put critical climate facts at the fingertips of policy makers, researchers, and development practitioners so the public and governments can debate and determine policies with better information about climate effects."