NASA is offering more than USD 35,000 in prizes to citizen scientists for ideas that make use of climate data to address vulnerabilities faced by the US in coping with climate change.
The Climate Resilience Data Challenge, conducted through the NASA Tournament Lab, a partnership with Harvard University, kicks off on December 15 and runs through March 2015.
“More than USD 35,000 in prizes are available to the innovation community to create apps that use federal climate data to help local communities prepare for the effects of climate change and protect our ecosystems,” NASA said in a statement.
According to the recent National Climate Assessment produced by more than 300 experts across government and academia, the US faces a number of current and future challenges as the result of climate change, NASA said.
Vulnerabilities include coastal flooding and weather-related hazards that threaten lives and property, increased disruptions to agriculture, prolonged drought that adversely affects food security and water availability, and ocean acidification capable of damaging ecosystems and biodiversity.
The challenge seeks to unlock the potential of climate data to address these and other climate risks.
“Federal agencies, such as NASA and the US Geological Survey (USGS), traditionally focus on developing world-class science data to support scientific research, but the rapid growth in the innovation community presents new opportunities to encourage wider usage and application of science data to benefit society,” said Kevin Murphy, NASA programme executive for Earth Science Data Systems in Washington.
“We need tools that utilise federal data to help our local communities improve climate resilience, protect our ecosystems, and prepare for the effects of climate change,” said Murphy.