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ISeeChange Temperature Alerts Make Climate Change Personal

From scorching heat waves to polar outbreaks, it can be hard to keep track of what is truly unusual in our changing climate. One study found it only takes two to five years for people to normalize what was previously abnormal weather.

To help avoid this “shifting baseline syndrome,” ISeeChange introduced a new feature that alerts users when the daily high or low temperature in their area is abnormal.

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Take Connecticut ISeeChanger Judy Donnelly: In mid-October, she noted  it felt like summer. Logging into the app or website now, Donnelly  sees a banner alert that the high temperature was abnormal. By clicking “learn more” she sees bar charts that show just how unusual the temperature is. And her ISeeChange posts now track those changes with embedded alert icons.

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With Congress’s passage of the new $1.2T infrastructure package, ISeeChange is using this feature among others to guide public design conversations and data collection to upgrade transit, energy, and water systems.

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Learning when the temperatures they are experiencing are unusual, helps communities examine their natural, built, and social environments. Looking for signs of change each season and sharing them with the ISeeChange community can critically help local solution discussions and fill data gaps.

“Normalizing extreme weather in two to eight years, – when we have less than ten years to avoid permanent impacts- is the equivalent of humanity being a frog in a boiling pot,” says ISeeChange CEO, Julia Kumari Drapkin. “Pointing to the changes we’re seeing is the first step to making the changes we want to see happen.”

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