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iSGTW Feature - The world's climate data from a one-stop-shop

Feature - The world's climate data from a one-stop-shop

In the recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, data from various models and sources were combined to project the future climate. This image shows Scenario A1B: simulated mean temperature change relative to 1980-1999.

How can you study something as interconnected as climate without using interconnected models?

This was one of the biggest questions facing Kerstin Ronneberger during her early research in earthsystem science modeling.

When Ronneberger found an opportunity to get into grid computing, she was immediately interested.

"I wanted to study the human influence on climate change," she explains, "which involved coupling models of biosphere, economy and climate to get a consistent simulation of their dynamic interactions. Without access to grids the relevant data was often hard to obtain and even harder to combine"

"In earthsystem science, everyone is using a different system to store and manage their data, but by using grids you can create standards and protocols that make it much easier to share data," she says.

Now at the German Climate Computing Centre in Hamburg, Germany, Ronneberger is working with Stephan Kindermann from the German C3-Grid to provide earthsystem science researchers with a one-stop resource.

Ronneberger and Kindermann are developing an infrastructure for interfacing climate databases to the EGEE grid, enabling researchers to search, exchange and manipulate data from various sources.

Increasing amounts of diverse climate data are being stored in distributed data centres where seamless access via a uniform interface is needed for climate scientists to provide state-of-the-art projections of future climate change.
© Michael Böttinger and DKRZ

"We are still in the development and feasibility phase, but we do have a working prototype," Ronneberger says.

"Our concept can easily be adapted to other projects in other countries and we are talking to other initiatives, such as the earth system grid project, about coming on board. We would really like to make this into a global enterprise."

The team is also working with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which recently attracted worldwide attention with their projections of future climate change.

These newest IPCC projections were based on the latest climate science research and involved a lot of data analysis. Their next report will involve even more data, which means grids might provide the perfect solution.

Ronneberger says she has quite a bit of work ahead of her. "We're working to make the prototype into a more reliable and transferable model," she says.

"Grids are such amazing tools: they draw so many different people together. There is so much that works-and so much that doesn't!"

- Hannelore Hämmerle, EGEE

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