Contribute to the Climate Data Guide

The Climate Data Guide is a community-authored resource. The Guide will be a living repository for the climate community’s collective wisdom and expertise on a broad array of observational datasets and their appropriate use in analyses and model evaluation.

For more about the effort and to reference it in your work, please see the open-access article:

Schneider, D. P.C. DeserJ. Fasullo, and K. E. Trenberth (2013), Climate Data Guide Spurs Discovery and UnderstandingEos Trans. AGU94(13), 121. [article]

How to contribute

The 1-2-3 steps of contributing are described below.

Why contribute?

  • Help improve awareness of and access to a wide range of data sets for Earth system model evaluation and climate research
  • Provide reputable, trustworthy reviews of climate data sets and their applications
  • Promote intercomparison of multiple data sets and encourage the development of improved products
  • Increase the visibility of your data set and/or work assessing data sets (you do not have to be the publisher, PI or owner of the data)
  • Reach a truly broad, global audience of scientists, industry professionals, students at all levels, government officials and NGO representatives. 
  • Make contributions a part of data managment and outreach strategies
  • Ensure appropriate use of data sets and prompt further community discussion
  • Increased exposure for your science and your career. Contributions are citable, and our pages are search engine friendly, helping to raise your online profile.


Data Set Criteria

We are particularly looking to establish pages on observational or reanalysis datasets that meet the following criteria: 

  • Described in peer-reviewed literature
  • Publicly available, or freely available to researchers upon request
  • In-demand for model evaluation 
  • Regional to global in scale
  • Climatology or sufficient record length for climate change or climate variability studies
  • Related to any component of the Earth System
  • Contributions may discuss one variable in one dataset, multiple datasets of a single variable (for example, inter-comparison of SST data), or multiple variables in a single dataset (for example, reanalysis or I-COADS)


Other Categories of Contributions

  • Corrections and/or additions to an existing data set page
  • Guidance on strategies for climate model evaluation
  • Guidance on statistical methods
  • Guidance on data processing
  • Guidance on interpreting various model configurations (e.g., AMIP, fully coupled, initialized decadal prediction experiements, stand-alone component models)
  • Guidance on characterizing and dealing with uncertainty
  • Guidance on processing model output
  • Discussion of related issues such as data citation and metrics for climate models
  • Guidance for finding and using online data analysis and visualization tools
  • Climate Data Trends - Registered users may publish short announcements linking to newly released data sets, data portals, publications assessing data sets, or broad perspectives on climate data challenges and opportunities [Add news here (login required)]


Content of Contributions

  • To gain a sense of appropriate contributions, please browse our existing Data pages. Commentary is welcome from working scientists and must be rooted in the peer-reviewed literature. In addition to addressing the 10 questions below, contributors may provide metadata, figures, list of publications, and links to download portals and other web resources.
  • Please use language that is accessible to graduate students generally interested in climate science, but not well-versed in your specialty.

  • Ten key questions to address

1. What are the key strengths of this data set?

2. What are the key limitations of this data set?

3. What are the typical research applications of these data? What are examples from your work?

4. What are some common mistakes that users encounter when processing or interpreting these data?

5. What are the likely spurious (non-climatic) features, if any, of timeseries derived from these data?

6. What corrections were applied to account for changes in observing systems, sampling methods or density, and satellite drift or degredation?

7. Describe any conversion steps that are necessary or general strategies to compare these data with model output.

8. What are some comparable data sets, if any? Why use this data set instead of another?

9. How is uncertainty characterized in these data?

10. Provide a summary statement about these data and their utility for climate research and model evaluation.

First Step of Contributing

  1. Contact CAS Data Manager: cas UNDERSCORE data AT cgd DOT ucar DOT edu with "Climate Data Guide" in the subject line. 

Generate Your Guidance

You must be logged in to do the following:

  1. Contributing Guidance: To submit new "expert user guidance," "expert developer guidance," or figures, click here. The information that you submit will either be combined with an existing page or used to start a new page. More than one commentary per data set is welcome and encouraged, so do not hesitate to submit information even if the page already features another person's guidance. 
  2. Viewing what you contributed: To find the material that you submitted, look for the link in the box at the lower left of the page. To see if your material has been transferred to one of the publicly visible data set pages, find your name on the list here
  3. Please note: If you simply have a brief comment to make about something that another person wrote, please just use the comments section of the appropriate page(s); don't bother with these forms.

Your guidance appears

  1. We will do a quality control and then publish your content. In the process, we may contact you and request specific changes or clarifications.
  2. Typically pages are open for moderated comments and you can use the comments section to continue the discussion of the dataset(s).
  3. As the author of the contribution or comment, your name will be associated with it - no anonymous contributions are allowed.
  4. A modest honorarium may be available to recognize your effort - contact us.