Climate change has begun to affect life on our planet and the fundamental resources on which society relies. To prepare for and mitigate these impacts, it is crucial that communities build resilience—the capacity to withstand and recover quickly from extreme weather and other climate events.
In July 2015 nearly 300 members of the Federation for Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP Federation), a broad-based group of Earth science data and information technology practitioners, gathered for the annual summer meeting in Pacific Grove, Calif. The theme of the meeting, “ESIP and Community Resilience: Coming Together,” addressed how the Earth and space science informatics discipline can enable communities and natural systems to survive, adapt, and grow in the face of stress and adversity.
During the 4-day meeting, attendees focused on the resilience theme, first with plenary speakers who shared lessons learned from the application of resilience concepts to local communities in California and virtual communities, such as the Great Lakes Earth Observing Network. A second set of speakers then presented exemplary data and demonstrated tools currently providing this type of information to communities.
Many meeting attendees stressed the importance of increasing public access to risk information and facilitating understanding of the planet by ensuring that data are open and transparent. Other discussions emphasized the need for a strategic approach when initiating collaborations between scientists and resilience communities.
A primary meeting outcome was the creation of an ESIP Federation Community Resilience cluster, in which the ESIP Federation will foster collaboration among technical and science practitioners and local communities. The goal of this action is to allow communities better access to data so that they can measure risk and start making preparations to mitigate it.
As part of the meeting, 17 California high school science teachers and community college faculty participated in a 1-day professional development workshop sponsored by the ESIP Federation Education Committee and the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. The educators learned how to integrate Earth science data into their existing science curricula through the use of online data and tools, such as activities based on the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Resilience Toolkit.
A more detailed overview of the meeting is available on the ESIP Commons, along with the complete agenda and session descriptions.
Special thanks are given to NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for providing funding for the meeting, the ESIP Visioneers for their contributions in organizing the meeting, and local hosts Mike McCann of Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and Bob Simons of NOAA.
—Rebecca Fowler and Erin Robinson, Federation for Earth Science Information Partners, Boulder, Colo.; email: [email protected]
Citation: Fowler, R. and E. Robinson (2015), Creating resilient communities through Earth science data, Eos, 96, doi:10.1029/2015EO042163. Published 30 December 2015.