Speaker: Thomas R. Karl, Independent Scholar and Past Director of the National Climatic Data Center – NOAA (1998-2015). Event 18 April, 2017 – sponsored by The Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS) and the Center for Global Change Science.

Climate data comes in a rich variety of quality with varying time and space resolutions. The mystery behind climate observations stem from the fact they require careful understanding of their limitations and usefulness. The wonder of all this data is being able to deduce changes and variations in the Earth’s climate from a surprisingly robust set of independent methods to reconstruct past and present climate from an exponentially growing set of data (approaching exabyte size — 1018 or 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes). This includes thousands of climate variables and diverse methods of processing these data.

The mystery and wonder often come together as a not so glamorous nitty-gritty reality of trying to make sense of all the observations. Considerable scientific discourse is often necessary to develop and interpret data sets and models that help us understand the state and changing state of the climate system. A few examples of how this has evolved will be presented. This will include the data and methods used to deduce changes and variations in the Earth’s temperature and precipitation during the Anthropocene. and

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