8A.2 Metadata and the Sustained Assessment: Data Transparency as Climate Science Communication

Wednesday, 28 June 2017: 8:45 AM
Mt. Mitchell (Crowne Plaza Tennis and Golf Resort)
Sarah M. Champion, CICS, Asheville, NC

Handout (8.5 MB)

The Sustained Assessment process has produced a suite of climate change reports: The Third National Climate Assessment (NCA3), Regional Surface Climate Conditions in CMIP3 and CMIP5 for the United States: Differences, Similarities, and Implications for the U.S. National Climate Assessment, Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment, The State Climate Summaries, as well as the anticipated Climate Science Special Report and Fourth National Climate Assessment. Not only are these groundbreaking reports of climate change science, they are also the first suite of climate science reports to provide access to complex metadata directly connected to the report figures and graphics products. While the basic metadata documentation requirement is federally mandated through a series of federal guidelines as a part of the Information Quality Act, Sustained Assessment products are also deemed Highly Influential Scientific Assessments, which further requires demonstration of the transparency and reproducibility of the content. To meet these requirements, the Technical Support Unit (TSU) for the Sustained Assessment embarked on building a system for not only collecting and documenting metadata to the required standards, but one that also provides unprecedented access to the underlying data and methods.

This presentation will detail the how the TSU frames the mandated requirements with their metadata collection and documentation process, as well as the technical solution used to demonstrate compliance and provide access to the content for the general public. Using successful examples of transparency, we will also demonstrate how this same metadata is a powerful science communication tool, one not yet used to its full potential, but with hope that this presentation is a step towards promoting complete and complex data as a standard climate change communication tool.

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