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ForestGEO Ecosystems and Climate Lab Launches Climate Data Portal

The ForestGEO Ecosystems and Climate Lab, led by ForestGEO Staff Scientist, Kristina Anderson-Teixeira, is pleased to introduce the ForestGEO Climate Data Portal.  The Portal is hosted on GitHub and is the product of great collaboration between lab staff and interns, as well as other members of the ForestGEO network.  It is a resource to all those interested in obtaining climate data for ForestGEO’s 72 sites.

The Portal is both a directory of climate data relevant to ForestGEO sites and a repository of climate data for ForestGEO sites.  Such data originate from two sources.  Some data come from meteorological stations, like those at Huai Kha Khaeng (Thailand), Khao Chong (Thailand), Pasoh (Malaysia), Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (USA), and Barro Colorado Island (Panama).  Other data come from global data sources, like the Climactic Research Unit (CRU) and the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission, but the team has extracted only the data that pertain to ForestGEO plots.  Additionally, the Climate Data Portal includes scripts so that as new data sets become available, or new ForestGEO plots are added, researchers can independently extract new data. 

The portal also includes data on atmospheric pollution, including historical records of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) and emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulphur dioxide (SO2).  Krista says, “As we study forest dynamics in an era of accelerating climate change, the climate records we are organizing on this portal will be valuable to understanding the past and future of forest interactions with the climate.”

Bianca Gonzalez, an intern who began at the Ecosystems and Climate Lab this past spring, has authored several of these scripts, including one for data visualization using historic climate data from the CRU database. 

Image caption below.
Bianca authored a script to create the above data visualization, a representation of temperature by month and year at the Bukit Timah FDP in Singapore.


Of her internship experience, Bianca says, “I've enjoyed contributing to the Climate Data Portal because I like knowing our work is highly reproducible and thoroughly explained. It's important to me knowing other people can easily access and understand our data to contribute to science!”

GitHub is inherently a collaborative platform, and Krista hopes that members of the ForestGEO network will add to the Climate Data Portal so that it is as comprehensive as possible.  She says, “Developing this resource is an ongoing project. As my lab obtains and processes climate records, we are posting data and scripts to this repository so that they can be useful to others. We invite others to do the same.” 

To encourage participation across the network, Krista will host a Q&A session for the Climate Data Portal in October, at a date and time to be determined. If you have questions about the Portal and would like to attend the session, please e-mail to indicate your interest.