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Climate Observer

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Climate Observer

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Created by:
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Data source:

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Last updated:
Version:
1.0

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About this resource

The Africa Data Hub Climate Observer is a unique resource that contains historical climate-related data for African towns and cities.

Why did we build the Africa Data Hub Climate Observer?

There are several well-established public datasets published by academic institutions which are used by researchers when investigating the climate crisis. These typically aggregate data from land, sea and air-based monitoring stations all around the world, sometimes also using satellite observations, to model temperature and precipitation (rainfall) changes over time.

While these datasets are comprehensive, they are often very hard to use for non-specialists. Not only are they very large, but they use complex file structures (such as NetCDF) to combine geospatial, time and observed datapoints in one entity. 

What makes the Africa Data Hub Climate Observer different?

While there have been successful projects to make the data useful to journalists and other researchers, these are generally limited for African users. Many easy-to-use tools limit investigations to national or provincial scale queries, or focus on regions in the Global North. 

The Africa Data Hub Climate Observer, however, only contains data about Africa. You can enter any GPS location on the continent to see the best quality data there is about that area.

What are the limitations of the Africa Data Hub Climate Observer?

When dealing with a topic as broad, important and complex as the climate crisis, it is important to understand the limitations of data before you use it in your reporting. 

The data is mapped to a grid in which each square is 1 degree latitude by 1 degree longitude in size, which is roughly 100x100km. What this means is that data is only accurate to regions of that size. Rainfall for a single town within that area may be different. 

In addition, much of the data is not measured, but modelled. The planet is not covered in temperature and rainfall sensors to generate 100% accurate observations. If you see a measurement of 52mm for rainfall in a particular city, in other words, this is not an exact number and should be treated as an approximation. It’s important to bear this in mind when reporting numbers that you find here.

Can I use the data from the Africa Data Hub Climate Observer to make my own graphics?

The data is distributed under Creative Commons licences that encourage sharing and reuse, but please be sure to check any data producer specific licensing requirements below. And please credit us and the original data source for anything you use and, if possible, share your work with us too by mailing us here. We'd love to see it!

Additional licensing restrictions

Berkeley Earth’s data is licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC 4.0 International for non-commercial use only. Attribution under CC BY-NC terms should be given to Berkeley Earth, including reference to www.berkeleyearth.org when possible. For licensing in commercial applications, please contact admin@berkeleyearth.org.

Free or low cost access is also available for academics and journalists. For academic publications and other permissions requests please contact permissions@berkeleyearth.org.

Video introduction

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