The state Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department launched an interactive map that will help New Mexicans see how climate change is anticipated to impact their communities.
The department created the map in collaboration with The University of New Mexico’s Earth Data Analysis Center. In addition to showing how climate change can impact heat, precipitation, wildfires and flooding, the map shows how socioeconomic factors can contribute to the overall climate risk of an area.
“This administration is committed to acting on climate and promoting transparency,” EMNRD Cabinet Secretary Sarah Cottrell Propst said in a press release. “The Climate Risk Map speaks to both of these priorities by providing illuminating data in a user-friendly way that will give communities resources to address areas that could be most at risk.”
A 23-page user guide includes visualizations to help people navigate the free tool.
The map is divided into five categories that users can explore: wildfire, air quality, drought, flood and heat. Those categories are broken down further into subcategories of hazard factors and sensitivity factors. Some of the categories also have a subcategory of adaptive capacity factors.
Users are also able to download location-specific reports for any county, tribal area or city in the state. These reports can detail topics like air quality, drought predictions and infrastructure threats.
The heat category of the map includes past temperature data as well as projections for the future. According to the map, the greatest increase in temperatures will occur in the northern part of the state, which could see an approximately 3 percent increase in average temperatures between now and 2050. Temperatures will continue increasing after 2050, with the greatest change projected to occur between 2070 and 2099 when the northern part of the state could see a more than 8 percent increase in temperatures. Those climate change impacts could be worse for areas with high populations of older residents or lack of access to electricity.
The map has three adaptive capacity factors under the heat category. These are access to telephone, access to vehicles and percent of land covered by tree canopy.
“The Climate Risk Map aims to show the real impact of a changing climate,” said ECMD Director Louise Martinez in the press release. “We hope the map will be a useful tool to New Mexico communities seeking to prepare for the effects of climate change, and to inspire action on mitigating its worst impacts.”
The map can be found at nmclimaterisk.org.