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This article is part of our ongoing series, Changing Weather, focused on innovations in local weather coverage. This is the first of two reports highlighting free resources designed to help your newsroom bring the climate change story home to your viewers.
“In a world of climate change, the impacts are in our face right now. You’ve got a global issue, but how you feel it is local, and it’s personal,“ said Bernadette Woods Placky, the Chief Meteorologist at Climate Central, a nonprofit, non-advocacy organization analyzing climate science. “And what you do about it is local and personal.”
That’s the idea behind Climate Central’s newest venture: Realtime Climate, a free tool that meteorologists and other journalists can subscribe to, connecting local weather events to climate change, all in real time.
“There are so many demands on local meteorologists right now, like everyone working in the media across the board,” said Woods Placky. “So it makes it harder to really carve out time to do research and to dig deeper into certain topics. And so we tried to do that for people.”
Realtime Climate, introduced officially on June 21, is a “massive tech build,” according to Woods Placky. The tool essentially monitors local weather across the U.S. and finds connections to climate change using publicly available data from organizations like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The system scans for more than 10 weather conditions, everything from unusual heat to unusual rainfall, coastal flooding, air quality, allergies, and more. If