Making climate data free for all

International workshop will propose ways of creating a comprehensive climate databank. By Rhiannon Smith.

A surface temperature image taken from the Graphical Forecast Editing Suite (GFE) shows the influence the local terrain has on the surface temperature. A surface temperature image taken from the Graphical Forecast Editing Suite (GFE) shows the influence the local terrain has on the surface temperature (Image Courtesy: NOAA).

In a recent article in Nature News by Rhiannon Smith at www.nature.com/news/2010/100905/full/news.2010.448.html discusses the upcoming workshop of meteorologists at the UK’s Met office.

The workshop, to be held in Exeter on 7-9 September, will be hosted by Britain’s Met Office. It follows years of discussion within the climate-science community, which wants to draw disparate climate data together into a single, comprehensive repository to streamline research.

Collating land temperature data into a central bank will expose exactly where the information gaps are, the organizers say, potentially encouraging efforts to fill them. And although the creation of the database itself will not alleviate the political and economic pressure that currently limits data accessibility, the scientists behind the scheme hope that this workshop will engage and encourage the international community to be more open with climate data.

Read the rest of the article online at: www.nature.com/news/2010/100905/full/news.2010.448.html

The UK’s Met Office publishes a regular Climate change newsletter that accepts subscribers at:
www.metoffice.gov.uk/climatechange/email_alerts.html, Their description reads as follows.

Our newsletter gives an inside view of what’s being said about climate change and what’s being done across government, business and society to tackle it. The newsletter is a controlled circulation document sent free of charge to decision-makers in Government, science and commerce, for whom climate change information has an impact.

The USA’s NOAA Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research publishes News About Our Climate, Weather, and Oceans from NOAA Research as regular Podcasts. They can be accessed at: www.research.noaa.gov/podcast/oar-podcast.xml.

Background

Presently there are established databases and climate models online and accessible.?? For example, Science On a Sphere?? (SOS).

SOS was initially developed as a way to explore environmental data using new visualization techniques. It became quickly obvious that when combined with the narration and supporting educational material, a well-crafted visualization provides a unique and powerful teaching tool. Over the past several years, NOAA has been using SOS to support educational initiatives, primarily in informal education venues, such as those found in science centers and museums.

Visit NOAA’s Office of Education website.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established by WMO and UNEP to assess scientific, technical and socio- economic information relevant for the understanding of climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation. It is open to all members of the UN and of WMO.” – from www.ipcc.ch

In an effort to better visualize the future of climate change, the IPCC releases assessment reports on the current state of the atmosphere and what the future could hold. Models from various atmospheric and oceanic organizations are included in these reports in order to establish a broad understanding of the science.

Data from three of the IPCC models following temperature change from 1870 – 2100 have been formatted for Science On a Sphere?? .

The models available on SOS are the Climate Model 2.1, developed by the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory; the Community Climate System Model 3.0, developed by the National Center for Atmospheric Research; and the Hadley Centre HadCM3, developed by the United Kingdom Meteorology Office.

All three models have similar forcing agents. For the past data they use the 20th Century Model 20C3M, which takes into account the historical record of greenhouse gases, sulfate aerosol concentrations, volcanic aerosol optical depths, and historical solar irradiation.

Clearly the meteorologists working in the field belive now they need to obtain more and better data with which to improve the forecasts and the models themselves.

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