EnviroAtlas: A Spatially Explicit Tool Combining Climate Change Scenarios with Ecosystem Services Indicators

Wednesday, 17 December 2014: 11:00 AM
Anne Carolyn Neale, Brian R Pickard, Mehaffey Megan and Jeremy Baynes, Environmental Protection Agency Research Triangle Park, Research Triangle Park, NC, United States
While discussions of global climate change tend to center on greenhouse gases and sea level
rise, other factors, such as technological developments, land and energy use, economics, and population
growth all play a critical role in understanding climate change. There is increasing urgency for methods
to forecast how different sectors, in particular ecosystems and the goods and services they provide, may
be altered as a result of climate change. However, due to their complexity, it is difficult to assess these
ecosystem services at a single point in space or time, as they may be influenced by surrounding and
distant patterns of land use and biophysical attributes in addition to climate change. In order to make
meaningful conservation and adaptation choices, specific ecosystem components must be viewed in
relation to future climate information. The US Environmental Protection Agency and its partners, have
developed EnviroAtlas, a web‐based geospatial tool that allows users to interact with climate change
modeling information while simultaneously providing a range of information and data on different
ecosystem goods and services. This can be a useful platform for inquiry about the supply, demand, or
benefits provided by a specific ecosystem service, and to understand the potential impacts to that
ecosystem service due to our changing climate. Housing a variety of data in one publicly available tool
encourages users to think in new, trans‐disciplinary ways that focus on the relationships between
ecosystem services and climate change impacts. By combining many fields of research through this easyto‐
use interface, the result is a novel tool that is spatially and temporally explicit and enables better
decision making across multiple sectors. This talk will illustrate how the information presented in
EnviroAtlas can be used in research.