Obama’s Climate Initiatives Include Mapping Technology

Jul 16, 2014

Today President Obama announced several initiatives to help prepare for a warming climate. He said wildfires, heat waves and rising sea levels brought on by climate change threaten public safety.

A 3-D map of the Olympic National Forest.
Credit Martin D. Adamiker / Wikimedia

Climate scientists say more rain from climate change could trigger more landslides, like the Oso disaster this spring. Detailed, 3-D maps can help predict where disasters like the Oso landslide could happen.

Obama’s climate initiative will give $13 million to the U.S. Geological Survey to help map more areas. That’s not much money for this expensive technology. But the USGS’s Tom Carlson says every little bit helps.

He says only about one-quarter of Washington has been mapped by this technology.

“It’s very patchy,” Carlson said. “There are lots of doughnut holes out there, lots of blank spots.”

About one-third of Oregon and very few parts of Idaho have been mapped.

The president’s initiatives will help fund stronger sea walls and build more green storm water infrastructure, like rain gardens.

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