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LEARN > Use Cases > Historical Developments & Current Issues in the Climate Change Data Ecosystem

Historical Developments & Current Issues in the Climate Change Data Ecosystem

Innovations in Data
27 Apr 2022
Use Cases

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Over a century’s worth of scientific experiments, measurements, and monitoring have yielded a vast amount of climate change data.

Analyses of these data have led to widespread agreement in the scientific community that climate change is occurring. Recently, scientists have issued a dire warning to the world: the global temperature is rapidly rising–already having risen 2 degrees Fahrenheit since the late 19th century–to the threshold where intervention will no longer be possible.1 Climate change–or the long-standing, significant changes to the Earth’s weather and temperature patterns–has resulted in melting polar ice caps, ocean acidification, loss of biodiversity, loss of human habitats, worse health, and threats to agriculture, clean water, air, and the economy.2,3 Over 1,000 scientists on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have expressed that there’s a 95 percent probability that over the last half century, human activity has been responsible for rising temperatures.4 And while there is intergovernmental agreement among scientists about the existence and likely causes of climate change, policymakers lack access to usable data to inform their decision making. The U.S., for example, is a major contributor to climate change as the world’s second largest emitter of carbon dioxide–while at the same time spending billions of dollars collecting data that are largely siloed between 13 federal agencies– making meaningful, timely analyses difficult.5,6 This Innovations in Data piece explores the historical development of climate change science and data–as well as current novel collection and uses of the data and challenges.

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