Microsoft Launches “Innovation Challenge” around Food Resilience

WASHINGTON, July 27, 2015 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture is partnering with Microsoft to launch the “Innovation Challenge,” a competition to develop software applications that help farmers, agriculture businesses, and consumers explore how climate change will affect their food systems.

The Innovation Challenge was formally launched on July 27th at a conference of the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association in San Francisco. Challenge participants have 3 months to create their applications, with a top prize of $25,000 going to the most creative application that best exploits USDA data sets that are now being hosted on Microsoft Azure, Microsoft’s cloud computing platform.

Entrants are invited to develop and publish new applications and tools that can help users analyze multiple sources of information, including key USDA data sets. In addition, Microsoft is granting cloud computing awards to aid university researchers and students that are looking to take part in the challenge.  Challenge winners will be announced in December 2015.

Full details of the challenge can be found at >http://usdaapps.challengepost.com<.

First International Conference on Surface Transportation System Resilience to Climate Change and Extreme Weather Events

September 16-18, 2015

The National Academy of Sciences Building
Washington, DC

The Transportation Research Board will host a conference September 16-18, 2015 to provide transportation professionals with information about emerging best practices and research results on how to adapt surface transportation networks to the potential impacts of climate change and extreme weather events. The conference will examine efforts to mainstream consideration of climate change and extreme weather resilience in all aspects of the transportation sector, including planning and programming, capital improvements, and operations and maintenance.

Launch of Energy & Infrastructure Resilience theme of Climate.Data.Gov

To help communities, governments, businesses, and research institutions better understand and plan for the risks of storms, floods, and other climate-change-related impacts, the U.S. Government is enhancing accessibility and releasing today a collection of datasets containing scientific and technical information that may help inform the current and potential future effects of climate change on energy and infrastructure.

These data are also being made available via mapping services on Geoplatform.gov. The resources provided here can be used to explore and develop insights for a number of relevant questions, such as:

1) How are fundamental energy resources impacted by climate?

2) How might changes in climate and natural resource availability impact energy conversion infrastructure and processes?

3) How might climate impact energy transmission and distribution systems?

4) How might energy demands be impacted by climate change, including heating and cooling but also energy losses and energy used for adaptation by other sectors?

5) What capacity do we currently have to adapt energy systems, and how might technology solutions, systems designs, and operational changes improve energy system resilience for climate change?

6) How might climate change impact energy infrastructure and its interactions with networked and interconnected infrastructure systems?

Launch of Health theme of Climate.Data.Gov

(April 7th 2015) The U.S. Government has released a collection of datasets to help individuals and communities plan for the impacts of climate change on the public’s health. These resources can help answer a number of relevant questions, including:

  • In what ways does the changing climate affect public health where I live?
  • What risk factors make individuals or communities more vulnerable to climate-related health effects?
  • How can public health agencies, communities, and individuals plan for uncertain future conditions?

Launch of Ecosystem-Vulnerability theme of Climate.Data.Gov

(Dec 9th, 2014) The U.S. government has released a collection of data and tools that will advance planning capabilities for the impacts of climate change on our nation’s ecosystems. The data and tools will provide information and will help to stimulate innovation in preparing for climate impacts on fire regimes, water availability, carbon sequestration, biodiversity conservation, ocean health, and the spread of invasive species. Here are some examples of how the data and tools could be used:

  • Help communities and natural resource managers determine if they are currently at risk from wildfires and if they will be impacted in the future due to wildfires becoming more prevalent and severe;
  • Provide information to the public on their sources of water and their sensitivities to climate change;
  • Aid in the public understanding of the role that ecosystems play in mitigating rising carbon dioxide levels due to their absorbing and storing of carbon, as well as how land management activities may influence storage capabilities;
  • Identify the potential impacts of climate change on rare and endangered species, iconic species, and ecosystems;
  • Identify which invasive species may threaten specific locations and their impacts on local communities and their economies. This effort will contribute to early detection, rapid response activities.