Data Management and the National Climate Assessment: Best Practices, Lessons Learned, and Future Applications (Invited Presentation)

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Monday, 5 January 2015: 4:45 PM
121BC (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Sarah M. Champion, Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites, Asheville, NC; and K. E. Kunkel

The Third National Climate Assessment (NCA), anticipated for its authoritative climate change analysis, was also a vanguard in climate communication. From the cutting-edge website to the organization of information, the Assessment content appealed to, and could be accessed by, many demographics. One such pivotal presentation of information in the NCA was the availability of complex metadata directly connected to graphical products. While the basic metadata requirement is federally mandated through a series of federal guidelines as a part of the Information Quality Act, the NCA is also deemed a Highly Influential Scientific Assessment, which requires demonstration of the transparency and reproducibility of the content. To meet these requirements, the Technical Support Unit (TSU) for the NCA embarked on building a system for collecting and presenting metadata that not only met these requirements, but one that could also be sustained for future Assessments.

The metadata effort for this NCA proved invaluable for many reasons, one of which being that it showcased that there is a critical need for a culture change within the scientific community to support collection and transparency of data and methods to the level produced with the NCA. Irregardless of being federally mandated, it proves to simply be a good practice in science communication.

This presentation will detail the collection process the TSU executed and the supporting infrastructure being refined as we move forward, as well as illustrate the value of highly detailed metadata through examples from the NCA of successful transparency. Through this presentation, we hope to impel the discussion in support of detailed metadata becoming the cultural norm within the scientific community to support influential and highly policy-relevant documents such as the NCA.