Google Earth maps effects of climate change on California - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Google Earth maps effects of climate change on California

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(CBS 8) - A new government report shows California faces trillions of dollars in damages from climate change, if it does not start planning now. The state is teaming up with Google to map out where and when those changes might happen.

Anyone who has used Google Earth knows that it allows you to see the most distant parts of the world and the ocean in living color. Now the brains at Google are teaming up with state leaders in California to launch a new technology that maps the effects of climate change on our state, and you'll be able to see it too, with t he click of a mouse.

Last Wednesday, Gov. Schwarzenegger unveiled a new application called CalAdapt during a news conference at Treasure Island in the middle of San Francisco Bay.

CalAdapt isn't a forecaster, but rather an electronic way to see the possible effects of climate change based on current scientific data.

California is expected to be hit especially hard by rising sea levels, increased temperatures and disappearing snow packs. Google's technology can pinpoint communities across the state to help people visualize those problems.

"People have trouble understanding what they can't see; Google Earth is particularly successful at letting you see what the world really is, not what you think it is, what you see around the corner, but what's really happening across the globe," Google Chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt said.

A new government report shows California faces trillions of dollars in damages from climate change if it does not start planning now.

The governor says CalAdapt is part of a bigger, comprehensive strategy by the state to adapt to future problems. Last month he signed an executive order to get state agencies to start preparing.

The CalAdapt program is still a prototype, and officials anticipate it to be fully functioning by September.

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