One of the most time consuming and difficult aspects of conducting climate change and health vulnerability assessments is finding data to assess.
Before tracking down data, you’ll first need to identify the most meaningful and measurable indicators to help you determine the severity and likelihood of potential climate exposures and impacts. Indicators include:
- Exposure indicators (e.g. Annual Heat Waves)
- Impact indicators (e.g. Hospitalizations for Heat-related Illness)
- Population sensitivity indicators (e.g. Uninsured Residents)
- Adaptive Capacity Indicators (e.g. Households with Air-Conditioning)
Once you know what indicators will be most useful, you’ll need to track down the most credible sources of data for those indicators. You’ll be looking for data that is as location- specific as possible and allows you to evaluate historical, baseline (current), and projected (future) trends. Ideally this data will come in a tool that aggregates and filters the data in useful ways and displays the data visually and spatially in charts and maps. While some data may have to provided internally by the tribe (e.g. Well water levels or Households displaced), below are some of the best aggregated data sources we have come across that allow you to look at local level data.
- National (Comprehensive)
- National (Exposure Focused)
- National (Health & Social Environment)
- National (Natural Environment)
There are also a number of state or regional data sources.
- SNAP (Alaska/Arctic)
- Local Environmental Observer (LEO) Network (Artic)
- Landscape Climate Dashboard (Western US)
- Tribal Climate Tool (Pacific Northwest)
- Northwest Climate Toolbox (Pacific Northwest)
- Cal-adapt (California)
- Climate Change & Health Vulnerability Indicators (CCHVIz) (California)
- California Healthy Places Index
- Tracking California
- Climate Change Tree and Bird Atlas (Eastern US)
- USDA Forecasts of Climate-Associated Shifts in Tree Species (ForeCASTS) (Eastern US)
In addition, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) operates Regional Climate Centers throughout the country that offer a variety of online data tools can work with tribes to provide assistance with climate data and modeled forecasts. Tribes in the Pacific Northwest can access climate data assistance through the UW Climate Impacts Group’s Tribal Climate Technical Support Desk. We also recommend reaching out to your closest Tribal Epidemiology Center or County epidemiologist for health-related data, if your tribe doesn’t manage that data in-house.
Are you familiar with other climate and health data sources that tribes can benefit from? Please let us know in the comments below!