Historical climate data are crucial to placing today’s weather and future weather into perspective. During the 2000’s, NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center with assistance from the Midwestern Regional Climate Center (MRCC), launched an effort to rescue climate data in the US, and then for other regions around the world. The MRCC, hosted by the Illinois State Water Survey, was instrumental in developing a program to quality control 19th century climate data spanning the lower 48 and Alaska, and the MRCC remains the archive for these data. 19th century data provide a crucial link between paleo-environmental records and modern data sets.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Commission on Climate with other global or regional partners (volunteer groups, consortiums of universities, and National Meteorological or Hydrological Institutions) have spearheaded climate data rescue activities and climate assessment efforts around the world. To improve the capacity of Jordan and Palestine to examine and understand climate change causes and impacts in their region, the UN-based Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) and the WMO launched a number of initiatives, including a workshop on climate data rescue and an assessment of needs.
While climate data rescue is to a large degree relatively straightforward, its accomplishment is not an easy task in either the US or the Middle East. Based on experiences gained through a first-hand assessment of climate data rescue status in the US, Jordan and Palestine, issues involved and lessons learned, in rescuing historical data, in adapting it to today’s standards and practices, and obstacles to its accomplishment will be discussed.
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