This guest post is written by Jeremy Wang, one of our Google Summer of Code students for 2012.
I am a PhD student in the Computer Science Department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. My primary research focus is in bioinformatics and computational genetics. I have a particular passion for web-based development, supporting interaction with and visualization of large data sets. I have put this to use in my bioinformatics work, developing web-based tools for analysis and visualization of genomic data.
To make climate science more accessible to those who are not scientists or programmers, we need some tools which are very easy to get and very easy to use. Web-based technologies are ideal for exactly
this type of application. I aim to create a platform which exposes some of the basics of climate research in a way that is accessible to non-scientists – an online map.
Most internet users have used Google Maps or something equivalent. I propose to use a similar map-based interface to show, instead of roads and directions, climate information, superimposed over the world.
Spatial phenomenon and relationships among climate data can be well demonstrated on a map. Temporal changes can also be illustrated through animations or an select-able snapshots. By using an interface
most people already understand, we can lower the barrier for getting people interested in and looking at climate data.
The major goal of the project is to create a very intuitive user interface to illustrate global climate in the modern era. I plan to create a navigable map wherein users can pan in two dimensions and zoom in, visualizing climate at global and local scale. Climate data will be derived from the ccc-gistemp implementation of the NASA GISTEMP climate analysis, including global gridded temperature measurements, factors affecting normalization, and individual weather station measurements. I hope for this platform to be flexible enough to allow visualization of arbitrary geographic information such that it can be easily extended and remain useful for a variety of analyses in the future.
Follow my progress on the project blog.