In honor of Blog Action Day 2009‘s theme of Climate Change, I am revisiting the subject of a post I wrote back in the summer of 2007: International Environmental Data Rescue Organization (IEDRO). This non-profit’s goal is to rescue and digitize at risk weather and climate data from around the world. In the past two years, IEDRO has been hard at work. Their website has gotten a great face-lift, but even more exciting is to see is how much progress they have made!
- Weather balloon observations received from Lilongwe, Malawi (Africa) from 1968-1991: all the red on these charts represents data rescued by IEDRO — an increase from only 30% of the data available to over 90%.
- Data rescue statistics from around the world
They do this work for many reasons – to improve understanding of weather patterns to prevent starvation and the spread of disease, to ensure that structures are built to properly withstand likely extremes of weather in the future and to help understand climate change. Since the theme for the day is climate change, I thought I would include a few excerpts from their detailed page on climate change:
“IEDRO’s mandate is to gather as much historic environmental data as possible and provide for its digitization so that researchers, educators and operational professionals can use those data to study climate change and global warming. We believe, as do most scientists, that the greater the amount of data available for study, the greater the accuracy of the final result.
If we do not fully understand the causes of climate change through a lack of detailed historic data evaluation, there is no opportunity for us to understand how humankind can either assist our environment to return to “normal” or at least mitigate its effects. Data is needed from every part of the globe to determine the extent of climate change on regional and local levels as well as globally. Without these data, we continue to guess at its causes in the dark and hope that adverse climate change will simply not happen.”
So, what does this data rescue look like? Take a quick tour through their process – from organizing papers, photographing each page, the transcription of all data and finally upload of this data to NOAA’s central database. These data rescue efforts span the globe and take the dedicated effort of many volunteers along the way. If you would like to volunteer to help, take a look at the IEDRO listings on VolunteerMatch.