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Press Release: U.S./International Scientists Partner to Rescue Weather Data

Press ReleaseDeale, Maryland – Two groups of environmental scientists have joined forces to rescue and digitize data used to predict weather conditions for floods, drought, and disease. This data is essential to saving lives when emergency situations arise.

The International Environmental Data Rescue Organization (IEDRO) and Atmospheric Circulation Reconstructions over the Earth (ACRE) have signed a partnership agreement to work together to help rescue and preserve data to enable scientists to better analyze and predict dangerous climate conditions that can lead to natural disasters, the spread of disease, and climate change.

“Floods kill more people than all other natural disasters combined,” said IEDRO Executive Director Richard Crouthamel, D. Sc., “Developing nations have not made great strides in the timeliness and accuracy of flood and flash flood warnings, or providing historic weather data which have a global impact on climate change and the spread of disease. As weather and climate know no national boundaries, an international effort is required to provide the information to allow computer analysis of global weather and climate which are critical to saving lives.”

Crouthamel said the world may be losing about 100,000 pieces of critical weather data every day due to deteriorating paper, fading inks, and disintegrating microfiche and magnetic tape. “It is imperative we rescue this information to the greatest extent possible to contribute to our understanding of climate trends,” he said. The IEDRO/ACRE partnership mission is to locate historic data in developing countries, which can be an arduous task in less than ideal conditions, and then digitize it. The digitized data not only improves weather forecasts and severe weather warnings, but are used to forecast the spread of diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, and dengue fever and to understand the extent and rate of climate change.

IEDRO has initiated weather data rescue projects in Malawi, Kenya, Mozambique, Niger, Senegal, Tanzania, Zambia, Bolivia, Chile, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Paraguay, and Uruguay. A U.S.-based, 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization, it is staffed by volunteers who rescue and digitize historic weather observations primarily from developing nations. Efforts are supported and endorsed by the U.S .National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the World Meteorological Organization, U.S. Agency for International Development, and other international and within-country groups concerned with the preservation and digitization of weather data.

ACRE recovers historical weather observations from the past 250 years to reconstruct global and local weather patterns and support meteorological analysis. ACRE links international meteorological organizations to support data recovery projects. With the addition of the IEDRO partnership, ACRE is led by a consortium of nine core partners, including: the University of Southern Queensland in Australia; the Met Office Hadley Centre (MOHC) in the United Kingdom; (NOAA) Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) and Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado; The National Climatic Data Center (NCDC); NOAA; the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom, the British Library; and the University of Giessen in Germany, plus the University of Bern in Switzerland.

For more information, contact Dr. Richard Crouthamel, Executive Director.

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