Add-on:Climate Mapper

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Climate Mapper
Precipitation 2031-040
Precipitation 2031-040
Developer IAGT
Latest release 1.0 / 2008-10-30
License undefined
Web site IAGT

This Plug-in was developed for World Wind to give project designers access to historical weather data as well as projections of climate change. The Climate Mapper grew out of USAID's effort to develop its Climate Change Adaptation Guidance Manual.

The Climate Mapper now serves the globe, excluding polar regions. The data are available for an area of ½ degree ½ degree, or roughly 50km x 50km in the tropics. When you click on the map, the tool will pull data for the grid cell surrounding the point where you clicked and display it as a line graph. The data can be exported to a spreadsheet application.

[edit] Loading and using the plug-in

  • To load the plug-in click 'Load/Unload...' in the Plug-Ins menu (see figure 1). Then from the dialog box click 'Climate Mapper' (you may have to scroll down a bit), and press the 'Load' button (see figure 2), the indicator next to 'Climate Mapper' should now change to green, now close the dialog box.
figure 1 - Plug-Ins -> Load/Unload...
figure 1 - Plug-Ins -> Load/Unload...
figure 2 - Plug-In Load/Unload dialog box
figure 2 - Plug-In Load/Unload dialog box
figure 3 - Climate Mapper toolbar icon
figure 3 - Climate Mapper toolbar icon
  • From the World Wind screen, Click on the Climate Mapper button
figure 4 - Climate Mapper dialog box
figure 4 - Climate Mapper dialog box
  • An interactive screen will appear on top of the World Wind
  • From the first drop-down menu, select a theme (e.g., temperature, precipitation, potential evapo-transpiration (PET), soil moisture, or runoff)
  • Select the radio button for "observed" or "projected" data
  • If you select "Observed," the drop-down menu entitled "Observed" will become active. You can then choose monthly data for the 30 year period from 1961 – 1991 or the monthly average for that period.
  • If you select "Modeled Projection," you can select 1-3 General Circulation models to display graphically in the table area.
  • Under "Choose an Action," if you select "Map," a map will be generated showing the changes for the whole continent.
  • If you choose "Graph by x,y location," you can click on a spot on the globe and a graph will be generated using the outputs from the grid cell around the point where you clicked. A pushpin image should appear on the globe to show where you clicked.
  • If you want to use the data from the graph in a spreadsheet, click "export graph data." This will save the data in a spreadsheet.

[edit] More information

The Climate Mapper presents outputs of three of the models used in the IPCC’s 4th Assessment Report: the National Center for Atmospheric Research Community Climate System Model (NCAR CCSM); the European Centre/Hamburg Model (ECHAM); and the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory Coupled Model (GFDL-CM21). We chose these models because they represent the highest, middle, and lowest projections for changes in Africa in the Climate Moisture Index (CMI), a measure of the relative balance of precipitation and temperature. We ran the models using the A1B SRES scenario, a scenario of economic activity and carbon emissions that most closely represents the current or business-as-usual emissions trajectory. Currently, we are on an economic growth and emissions trajectory that resembles that described by A1B. If the world’s emissions begin to change, we will re-run the models with a more representative scenario.

Information on past weather and projected climate should inform development practitioners as they design projects to be more resilient to climate variability and change. Designers should know that climate projections are not predictions; they are scenarios of possible futures based on complex models. Models provide insights, but all of the development practitioner’s knowledge and experience should be brought into the design of a project.

If you have questions/comments, email Dan Deneau ( or Jessica Coughlin (

[edit] Links

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