Case 1: Hydroelectric
These utilities require an accurate understanding of both historical precipitation/snowpack quantities, but also reliable information about how those quantities are changing.
Good data are necessary not only to plan for where to build new projects, but also for planning the operation of existing ones.
Case 2: Urban Heat Island
Neighborhood-by-neighborhood observations would allow the city and utilities to account for the UHI and variations from things like greenways, parks, water bodies, and shading, and produce far more reliable estimates of energy demand and health risk.
Case 3: Coral Reefs
Coral reefs are in decline, and NOAA has estimated that by 2050, more than 90% of tropical coral reefs will have died. There are approximately 10,000 coral reefs worldwide. Of these, environmental observations have been collected, at one time or another from perhaps only 1000 reefs. If we look at current and sustained observations, that number drops to fewer than 100. Thousands of resorts and coastal communities worldwide depend on healthy and vibrant coral reefs for their very existence. Many derive 100% of their income from coral reef tourism.
Case Study 4: Skiing
This industry and local economies are highly vulnerable to climate variability and change. Like dive resorts and tropical islands, many mountain regions rely heavily on skiing and snowboarding. Similarly, these are fixed assets that were built to take advantage of and are entirely dependent on snow fall and subfreezing temperatures for a large part of the year. Even small changes in these parameters can have substantial impacts on revenue.
Case Study 5: Fishing
Fishers are particularly vulnerable to climate change in that, fish follow the climate. Geographic shifts in commercial species or their prey can cost fishing operations millions of dollars in cost and lost revenue on each trip to sea.
Case Study 6: Parcel delivery
Under climate change, the cargo capacity of aircraft will be reduced because maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) is dependent on the air temperature.
While most airports used by cargo carriers do report air temperature, these temperatures may not accurately reflect the conditions at the aircraft itself.
Case Study 7: Food security
Rural, agrarian regions often have little or no observational climate data against which long-term analyses of temperature or precipitation changes can be performed.
This limits farmers’ ability to anticipate and plan for these changes.
Case Study 8: Outdoor recreation
As with other activities that take place in largely rural or underpopulated areas, there is an almost total lack of environmental data that could inform recreational services and resource managers about their vulnerability to climate change or assist them in reducing that vulnerability.