While it can be difficult to accurately predict the weather, you can predict and address the impacts of climate change by looking at past and present observational data. As computing power grows exponentially, Big Data is becoming an increasingly important tool for helping scientists predict the long-term impacts of climate change, such as the likelihood of extreme rainfall events.
That’s why, in response to President Barack Obama’s Climate Data Initiative announced last summer, Microsoft Research is launching a special Climate Data award program to offer scientists and decision-makers 12 months of free Windows Azure cloud-computing resources. The grants from this program will go to 40 awardees, with each award providing up to 180,000 hours of cloud computing time and 20 terabytes of cloud storage.
Microsoft is also making FetchClimate—an intelligent environmental information-retrieval service for past and present observational data and climate prediction—available for adoption by members of the research community. Microsoft will provide the FetchClimate cloud-based system for re-implementation and adaptation to the specific needs of new projects.
You can read this Microsoft Research blog post for more information about Microsoft’s involvement with the Climate Data Initiative, and this press release from the White House discussing the partnership.