We can't control the climate, but are there ways to mitigate and avoid the negative effects extreme weather brings? I believe the starting point for potential solutions lies in data acquisition and environmental sensor networks (ESN).
Current technologies and sensors, ranging from cell phones to satellites, allow a “global environmental cyberinfrastructure” to be more than a topic for discussion at academic conferences. Researchers have studied connections and system interactions for some time, but now a broader segment of society is becoming aware of the precarious relationship between weather, climate and humanity.
This awareness is sometimes motivated by the need to help. Other times there's a profit incentive. The reason doesn't matter if the result is a better low-cost global sensor network that can be tapped by anyone with a signal.
A systems approach to identifying natural hazards, coupled with a communications framework that can easily make data available to the public, is the crucial cornerstone of a functional environmental sensor network. The global monitoring of short- and long-range weather patterns and the linking of sensor-network data could allow forecasters to identify potential problems before they manifest.