Top 5 Places to Find Climate Change Datasets | by Eugenia Anello | Jun, 2023

And try to analyze and develop models using these climate change datasets

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Climate change is not in our imagination. It’s happening right now. Just in Italy, there have been abnormally high temperatures, droughts, catastrophic floods in Emilia Romagna, fires and other events that are all consequences of global warming.

It’s hard to ignore what is happening on our planet, and it’s becoming important to be aware of this situation by analyzing Climate change data. Like we were monitoring and making predictions with covid data a few years ago, we also should do the same with climate-related data.

But as with many things, if you search on Google datasets for this purpose, you may be lost and forget what was your initial purpose. For this reason, I decided to list the best sources, some of them not so known, to encourage the analysis of these catastrophic events, that could be useful for monitoring and managing the affected areas from climate change. Let’s get started!

1. National Centers for Environmental Information

Screenshot by Author.

National Centers for Environment Information (NCEI) is a US center that provides access to climate and weather data from all over the world. As you may deduce from the image on the upper side of the website, it belongs to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which is one of the oldest agencies of the United States government. To download one of the many datasets, you just need to click Products from the menu and, then, choose the aspect you want to investigate.

Products of NCEI. Screenshot by Author.

2. World Resources Institute

World Resource Institute. Screenshot by Author.

The World Resource Institute is a global research organization founded in 1982 by James Gustave Speth, an American environmental layer. The program of this no-profit institute focuses on solving seven areas:

  • Sustainable Cities: most of the world’s population is concentrated in cities. For this reason, it’s important to create resilient, inclusive and low-carbon cities, where all people can live better.
  • Climate Change: Fires, droughts, floods and other catastrophic events are part of our everyday life. The effects of climate change show the importance of the transition to a zero-carbon economy, securing us a better future.
  • Energy accounts for 73% of global emissions, even if there is 10% of the global population that still lack access to electricity. Moreover, the demand for energy is estimated to increase by about 10% by 2030. We are faced with the fact that the situation is unsustainable and there is the need to move towards the transition to clean and affordable energy.
  • Food: the world’s population is expected to increase in this century, reaching 10 billion people by 2050. As a result, the demand for food is going to grow. This may become a problem since there are still hundreds of millions of people that remain hungry and the contribution of food production is over 25% of global greenhouse gas emissions nowadays. In addition to this, there are more than 1 billion tons of food lost and wasted every year. Consequently, there is a need to study strategies that increase food production, but at the same time reduce food production’s impact on our world and reduce food loss and waste.
  • Forests are our source of food, medicines, wood, fibre and employment. Furthermore, they are our allies to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, allowing us to fight against climate change. But statistics reveal that 11% of global tree cover has been lost compared to the beginning of the century. Therefore, it’s important to conserve and restore forests to be able to take advantage of the presence of these forests.
  • In addition to forests, Ocean constitutes another source of our life: it contributes to the global economy, feeding 3 billion people and is home to more than half the world’s species. Yet overfishing, Habitat degradation, pollution and rising temperatures are threatening the vitality of the ocean. It’s essential to move towards a sustainable ocean economy, allowing us to create millions of new jobs, reduce emissions and produce more food.
  • Clean Water is essential for our health. Moreover, it contributes to activities, such as industry, agriculture and energy production. As you may have noticed in the last few years, we are exposed to water stress conditions for at least one month a year. Like food demand, the water demand is expected to increase by up to 30% by 2050. It’s important to invest in programs for the identification of water risks, like floods, droughts and stress, and promote strategies for better management of water resources.

For each of these areas, there is a huge variety of datasets you can download.

3. Climate Analytics

Climate Analytics. Screenshot by Author.

Until now I have shown USA’s organizations. Different from the other institutes, Climate Analytics is a non-profit organization based in Berlin, Germany. The staff of this institute is international and there are other five offices situated in Africa, Australia and the Pacific, the Caribbean, South Asia and North America. It allows to get access to various tools regarding different aspects of climate change:

  • Climate Risk dashboard analyzes the impacts on the future as the temperature keeps increasing.
  • Climate impact explorer allows us to observe how the climate change impacts will increase in the world, starting with the global warming of 1.5 °C
  • Biophysical data explorer permits to explore of each country and how it’s possible to reduce future damages by staying below 1.5 °C of heating.

In particular, on Climate impact explorer and Biophysical data explorer, it’s possible to get access and download the data behind the plots. I only explained some of the tools, but take a look at the website if you are interested in other climate projections.

4. NASA Earth Observing System Data and Information System

EOSDIS. Screenshot by Author.

Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) is an enormous database provided by NASA to gather information from various resources, such as satellites and spacecraft. There is a huge amount of data, which is freely and openly available to any user. All this is possible thanks to data centers situated in the United States that collect terabytes of data each day.

To get access to the data, you need to register on the website. Don’t worry, it’s easy and straightforward. Once you have the account, you can download it manually by clicking the topic you are interested in or use directly the API to get access data.

Find data on EOSDIS’s website. Screenshot by Author. Source.

5. Climate Data Store

Climate Data Store. Screenshot by Author.

Climate Data Store is a platform that enables to access and analyze climate-related data. This website has been built thanks to the European Union’s Copernicus program, that has aim to provide reliable information about the Earth’s environment. Different environment domains are covered, such as atmosphere, land and ocean.

Like on EOSDIS’s website, you need to create an account to get access to data. After you just need to click datasets from the menu and you’ll find any dataset you want by specifying the topic on the search bar or by filtering by domain/sector.

Final thoughts:

I hope you have found this tutorial useful to find data on different shades of climate change. Do you know other places to find this type of data? Please comment on the story if you know it. Thanks for reading! Have a nice day!

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