Wednesday, 12 January 2005: 1:30 PM
A California coastal climate data archive
The California coastline marks an extremely sharp transition in climatic characteristics, particularly in summer. Very large numbers of people crowd the shoreline in several major cities. Slight movements in the sea breeze can have major effects on air conditioning needs. Climate variations of some elements (e.g. temperature, wind) in coastal regions appear to be poorly correlated with variations just short distances inland, on several time scales. Coastal wind variations show a high degree of fine scale structure, and ocean conditions respond similarly. Important biological species and ecological systems, and especially anadromous fish, utilize both the marine and terrestrial waters at various stages in their life. Stratus and fog patterns are closely and often very delicately linked to other meteorological conditions. These sky conditions have significant social, economic and even psychological effects. For these and other reasons there is consequently a very large demand for information about coastal climate. The relevant information that is helpful or needed to meet such demand is gathered, stored, and distributed (or not) by a large number of public and private entities. Much is in only rudimentary shape for electronic distribution, and some is paper only. Key metadata histories are very hard to obtain. Indeed, it is a significant challenge simply to identify potential sources of data and information. For this reason the California Climate Change Center is working jointly with the Western Regional Climate Center to develop access to data from within (approximately) a hundred kilometers of the California coast. This California Coastal Climate Data Archive (CCCDA) is being folded into the CalClim data access system for California, but is a sufficiently large and complex challenge that it merits special attention. Currently the system includes all data from the National Data Buoy Center, a number of NOAA atmospheric data systems, the federal/state RAWS system, the California CIMIS system, and others. Numerous other organizations are being contacted. In addition, several projects are deploying stations to address major gaps in in situ coverage. Remotely sensed information such as satellite and coastal radars to measure both atmospheric and sea surface state can be included as well. The developing system provides access to data and products derived from the data (both pre-calculated and on-the-fly summaries), to reports and summaries, and to others who have substantial observing and dissemination capability.