Open Access Climate Web
All The Navigation You Need to Know
Navigating the Open Access Climate Web is Very Simple

We call the Climate Web a climate “Brain” because it’s built with TheBrain software, a powerful yet extremely easy to use knowledge management software that makes it a lot easier to organize and access an enormous amount of information for understanding and tackling climate change.

The Climate Risk Short Course pathway is structured so that you can simply click on “thoughts” in the “plex” at left to access content in each thought’s’ “notes field,” like this one. The structure is kept very simple to minimize any confusion even for first-time TheBrain users.   

But there are a few things you may want to quickly review.


Climate Web “tours” are a new (April, 2023) addition to the power and capabilities of TheBrain software. This game-changing new feature of the Climate Web allows the Climatographers to link together thoughts from anywhere in the Climate Web, and all a user has to do is click on the “forward or backward” arrows to navigate the tour. 

Note that while visiting any given thought in a tour, users can click on other thoughts that might look interesting, and then click on the “forward or backward” arrows to resume the original tour. 

Simply linking thoughts into a “tour,” however, may not provide the context users need. That’s why the Climatographers create audio overlays for tours. The mp3 file you’ll see will open as a new tab in your browser; just click play to start the audio file. Then return to the Climate Web tab in your browser and follow along as the audio file leads you through the tour. Note that you may want to first simply follow along with the audio tour, rather than stopping to explore things in more depth. You can easily restart the tour without the audio file if you want to spend more time on individual thoughts, or explore nearby interesting-looking thoughts. 

Access a Tour of the Climate Risk Short Course!  Note that with the “eye” icon at the top right of your screen you can choose whether to navigate the tour using the combination Plex/Notes Field, or the Notes Field by itself. We would encourage you to keep the Plex open to get a better picture of what’s happening in the Climate Web as you navigate the tour. 

Plex, Thoughts, Labels, and Display

The adjacent navigation screen (if visible) is called the "plex", and each node within it is called a “thought”. Each thought can also have an informational “label”, which you can view by hovering your mouse over the thought. 

The “active" thought at any given time is located at the center of the plex, and the Notes Field for that thought is what you’ll see beside or below the plex. Any other thoughts you see in the plex are directly or indirectly related to the active thought, whether as “child,” “parent,” “jump,” or “sibling” (same parent) thoughts.

Note that this “All the Navigation You Need to Know” thought has a couple of child thoughts you can click on. Then just click on “All the Navigation You Need to Know,” which will have become a “parent thought,” to return to where you are now. 

Note that the position of the “plex” is set to automatically adjust to your browser's current orientation:

  • If your browser display is horizontal (landscape, as on a desktop or laptop), the plex will display to the left of this notes panel.

  • If your browser display is vertical (portrait, as on a mobile phone), the plex will display above the notes.

The Toolbar at the Top of Your Screen

Some of the options available to you in the toolbar are very relevant to navigating the Open Access portion of the Climate Web, others not so much: 

  • Click on “The Climate Web” at the far top left to return to the Climate Web’s front door thought. 

  • If you find the visual “plex” disconcerting (probably not the case with the Climate Risk Short Course) you can hide it entirely or change its relationship to the Notes Field.

    • The "eye" icon at top right of your screen lets you choose between hiding and seeing the visual “plex.”  Note that our Ebooks are optimized for “no plex” view.

    • The “settings” icon just to the right of the “eye” icon gives users several ways to control how content is displayed. provides different ways of displaying content. You can change the “plex” to display on “top of the Notes Field” rather than beside it (regardless of your browser display as mentioned above), giving both more screen room. You can also modify text size and several other variables.  


  • Note that the rest of the Toolbar is not limited to the Open Access portion of the Climate Web, so you may want to avoid it, but here’s what the different elements of the Toolbar do: 

    • The “Pins” button provides a drop-down menu of selected places in the larger Climate Web you can instantly jump to at any time. 

    • The Search box, in addition to searching the larger Climate Web, displays a list of your recently accessed thoughts. This can be helpful for retracing your steps, but you probably won’t need it for Climate Risk Short Course materials.

    • “Types” are feature of TheBrain software we use to help organize Climate Web content. The drop-down menu lists many of them, but they’re not particularly relevant if you’re just exploring the Climate Web. 

    • “Tags” are another feature of TheBrain software, and we use them to provide advanced curation of hundreds of topics and questions in the larger. The  drop-down menu lists the first couple of hundred of such Tags, and you can explore them, but again this drop-down menu isn’t the most helpful way to explore Tags and they can be a bit overwhelming. If you do click on a Tag you can use the Backspace key in your browser (or the Search bar) to return to where you were before exploring the Tag. 

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