Copernicus: new App demonstrates the current rate of Global Warming

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Image from askanews web site
Image from askanews web site

Roma, 17 mar. (askanews) - The Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) has developed an application that can give anyone an insight into the current rate of global warming. C3S, which is implemented by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts on behalf of the European Commission, says the new 'Global Temperature Trend Monitor' is just one example of how the climate data Copernicus collects and processes can be transformed into a wide variety of applications for both business and society in general.

The free app allows anyone to put the current changes in global mean temperature trends in the context of the 1.5°C target limit set out in the Paris Agreement. The agreement, now signed by 196 states and the European Union, aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping global temperature rise in the 21st century well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5°C. The number of countries currently signed up to the Paris Agreement represents about 79% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

The application provides a sliding scale to explore temperature change compared to the pre-industrial period for any point between 2000 and today. A red line - showing the average warming rate over the last 30 years - is extended into the future until it reaches the 1.5° C limit. Updated on a monthly basis, the application provides a near real-time version of a graphic originally from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report, 'Global Warming of 1.5°C'.

Scientists and tech specialists looking to develop apps like this can find a practical way for doing so, by either accessing and downloading the data to their own environments or by making use of the built-in toolbox, to create applications directly online.

Data can be accessed either manually via a Graphical user interface (GUI) or by making use of the C3S Climate Data Store's Application Programme Interface (API). C3S's API provides programmatic access to all data available on its Climate Data Store. The C3S API page offers explanations and examples of how to use the interface to access data easily to encourage innovative solutions for climate change adaptation.

The applications themselves build on tools provided in the Climate Data Store Toolbox. For all applications, users can access the code behind the application, by clicking the "Source code" tab as well as use the general toolbox documentation.

Freja Vamborg, Senior Scientist at the Copernicus Climate Change Service, comments: "C3S provides free climate data, which can be used for app development by anyone, and we hope to encourage innovation amongst tech specialists and developers. Our data and example applications can be used in all kinds of ways to raise awareness of climate change and also to encourage commercially viable solutions for climate change adaptation. By making our data easy and free to access, external app developers are given the starting blocks to invent their own applications, whether for the general public or industries like energy and agriculture. Downstream applications which can harness Earth observation and climate data to help both industry and society will play an important role in helping us adapt to our changing planet."

"To create the Global Temperature Trend Monitor, we utilise a single temperature estimate from the ERA5 dataset, making use of both the originally released 1979 to present data, as well as the recently released back-extension which extends the dataset back to 1950s. By using this dataset, we can easily update the app regularly and use it as an illustration or guide to see roughly which direction we are heading," she adds.

The versatility of C3S's environmental data is illustrated by the range of other apps that have been created through the service's toolbox environment.

One such application is the newly released Fire Weather Index (FWI) system which takes the form of an interactive map to help the user investigate current and future fire danger in any administrative region in Europe. The app has been created specifically with the tourism sector in mind as destinations relying on outdoor activities can be negatively affected by a change in fire risk. The FWI involves the use of two different C3S datasets. Long-term indicators derived from climate projections and reanalysis are combined to connect climate conditions with the likelihood of wildfires over Europe. The app can be used by anyone free of charge, whether curious citizens, fire management organisations, businesses, policymakers or researchers. It is simple for anyone to try it out in the C3S Climate Data Store, which offers a user guide, the datasets used and the source codes.

And while tourism may still be off the agenda for at least part of 2021, climate change's long-term impact is the industry's next big challenge. A particularly vulnerable and complex area susceptible to climate change is mountain tourism. The Mountain Tourism application provides an interactive map to present comparisons between past and future snow conditions at different elevations relevant to the tourism industry. A linked application also plots the variables versus the height.

Apps created by C3S are also used to advance research in epidemiology. The Monthly Explorer for COVID-19 allows any user to explore possible connections between temperature, humidity and virus spread. It also offers the possibility of looking at specific 'average' air pollution data. As with the Global Temperature Trend Monitor, C3S scientists have created an application that demonstrates the possibilities that Copernicus data can offer to researchers in epidemiology and other medical specialists involved in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent research suggests that, as often happens with other viruses, the spread of COVID-19 could be affected by air temperature and humidity. In addition, air pollution, especially fine particulate matter, could be involved in the morbidity due to COVID-19 and its spread. This application allows the user to explore some of these claims by plotting air temperature and humidity, alongside climatological air pollution levels provided by C3S's parallel service, the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS), with mortality data obtained from Johns Hopkins University.

For app developers, the Copernicus Incubation Programme, launched by the European Commission, offers support for European entrepreneurs to work with Earth observation data to create commercially viable products and services. The programme awards EUR 50,000 to 20 European start-ups each year.

As part of Copernicus efforts to enable the use of its data and to guide users to design and develop data-based climate services, C3S is hosting an event on March 24th and 25th: 'Challenges and Solutions for Spain'. This virtual free event is targeted at decision makers and managers from the public and private sector on the challenges and the data-driven solutions across water, energy and climate extremes in Spain. The event is jointly organized by ECMWF, Spanish Meteorological Agency (AEMET) and Barcelona Super Computing Center (BSC).