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Useful sources of climate information

In this article, Professor David Brayshaw shares some freely available sources of climate information.
A photo of meteorological equipment on a green field
© University of Reading

Many climate services and other simplified portals for accessing climate data have developed over the years. To varying extents, these services gather climate datasets and make them accessible, carry out a degree of quality control, process the datasets, and tailor them for use by a variety of different business and policy sectors. The aim is to make access to very large (and very complex) climate datasets somewhat easier for non-experts.

It is beyond the scope of this course to review this rapidly developing field, as the services are many and varied. However, here are some starting points and portals that allow you to explore raw climate data (especially climate model projections) in a relatively straightforward manner:

The IPCC interactive atlas

The KNMI climate explorer

The Copernicus Climate Data Store

Climate Reanalyzer

UK Climate Projections User Interface

UK Climate Risk Indicators

Take some time now to investigate these resources, referring back to the problem-statement you constructed in the previous Step. Perhaps one of these services, or one suggested by another Learner, will begin to address your needs. When using climate data from these or any other source, it’s important that you understand:

  • the nature of the data being used,
  • how it has been processed,
  • the extent to which it has been validated, and ultimately,
  • its fit-for-purpose regarding the specific problem-statement you have in mind.

In some cases, raw climate data can be quite misleading if it’s not handled appropriately. Understanding the data’s fit-for-purpose in specific applications and decision-making is essential and that’s what we’ll be guiding you through over the rest of this Week.

Share additional sources of climate data in the discussion below. Tell us if you use them and why they suit your needs.

© University of Reading
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Climate Intelligence: Using Climate Data to Improve Business Decision-Making

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