ORNL researchers enhance access to US government climate-data resources

Jun 29, 2015

The latest addition to Data.gov, “home” of the US government’s open data, launched June 25, 2015, thanks to a team led by Benjamin Preston of the Climate Change Science Institute (CCSI) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Called the “Energy Infrastructure” theme, it provides a gateway to federally created scientific and technical resources related to the potential impacts of climate change on the US energy sector and other critical infrastructure. 

“Data are increasingly becoming an indispensable resource for those working to enhance the nation’s resilience to climate variability and change,” says Preston. “We hope this data portal will enhance the accessibility of key resources relevant to understanding the implications of climate change for our energy and infrastructure systems.”

Data.gov is an online clearinghouse focused on enhancing access to data created by government agencies. In March of 2014, as part of the White House’s Climate Data Initiative (CDI), “Climate” was introduced as a topic within Data.gov. Since then, CDI has been working with federal agencies to identify government data relevant to understanding different aspects of climate resilience, facilitate greater access to those data, and offer improved search capabilities. The Energy Infrastructure theme is the latest release—previous releases have addressed themes such as coastal flooding, transportation, and water.

Preston and others hope Data.gov will “free” climate data for policy analysts, researchers, decision makers, application developers, and others to add value through the development of new tools and applications that spur change.

The data curation team included Kathryn Grabenstein, Biva Shrestha, Giri Palanisamy, and Tom Boden at ORNL and Marc Imhoff and Allison Thomson (both formerly) at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Curation efforts were supported by the DOE Office of Science in collaboration with NASA and other agencies.