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New online tool tracks impacts of climate change by county

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Cornell University is offering a new, interactive, online tool to help people track climate change in their own counties.

Using data from 1950 to 2013, the website tracks trends in temperatures, precipitation, and information about the growing season.

It was developed for farmers, but Michael Hoffman, executive director of the Cornell Institute for Climate Smart Solutions, says it has applications beyond that.

"When you hear about climate change and the melting glaciers and the Arctic, etcetera, it's far away,” Hoffman said. “When you talk about changes that are going to hit us in 2100, that's too far in the distance. The more relevant you make it to an individual gardener, farmer, whatever, the more it strikes home and they can see the changes that have occurred."

Hoffman says in New York State, a dramatic increase in downpours, as well as unexpected frosts - just to name two factors - pose a real challenge for planting and harvesting.

The online tool allows farmers to not only see past climate trends, but future projections, so they can anticipate and respond to the changes.

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