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Who benefits from rescued weather data

IEDRO volunteers locate, photograph, and digitize old weather observations from as early as the 1600’s and ensure that they are added to an open and unrestricted digital database for access by anyone in the world. This is especially useful to research scientists, educators, and other professionals in many fields who are directly involved with the well-being of the world community.

Our ultimate target group is every person on the earth. What we do affects the well-being of all humanity. We especially focus on those in developing countries who are more susceptible to starvation, disease, climate change, and floods.

Our extended target group includes those who work to reduce human suffering and death (scientists, government officials, researchers, aid workers, and other volunteer organizations who use the information IEDRO rescues and shares) as well as those organizations and individuals who seek green agencies to which they can contribute funding and volunteer time.

We currently are focusing on a specific form of environmental data –9ol/jm historic weather observations covering much of the past 400 years.  Over 80% of these observations have never before been available in a digitized format for anyone’s use.

The Immediate Target Groups who directly benefited from our activities during 2008 (which are generally those who benefitted since we began in 2005) are the following:

Foreign Agricultural Extension Agents: Our newly available data enables rural agricultural and development planners to show many of the earth’s 1.8 billion subsistence farmers the real frequency of drought in their countries. That way, the farmers can plant more appropriate crops and save some of their production for famine years, thus helping to prevent malnourishment or death by starvation.

Public Health Officials and Disease Researchers: The data we save is correlated with the disease epidemics and pandemics of the past. If an outbreak of an airborne disease (i.e. malaria, West Nile virus, dengue fever, yellow fever, etc.) occurs, knowing the relationship between past disease spread and the historic weather conditions at the time enables disease researchers to predict where the current disease may spread (the National Institute of Health (NIH) term for this is disease vectorization). Once the public officials know where the disease is likely to spread, they can move their limited resources (inoculation teams, mosquito spraying equipment) into place before the arrival of the disease and save many lives.

Climate Change and Global Warming Researchers: These newly available data show scientists the true extent of global warming or climate change as well as the rate at which our climate is changing.  These data are essential to determine if climate fluctuations are natural or caused by human activities.  Regardless of which side of the global warming cause issue scientists are on, all agree that we need more historic weather data for research, and we need it soon.

Hydrologists and Meteorologists: More people die each year from floods than from all other natural disasters combined (i.e. lightning, earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes).  Historic weather data (rainfall records) are critical inputs to the flood forecast computer models used by most national weather services (including in the U.S.) to forecast river flooding.  Without the digitized historic rainfall records, these models are not nearly as accurate at forecasting the arrival of the flood wave crest and its maximum height.