NASA’s Implementation of the President’s Climate Data Initiative


In June 2013 President Obama launched the Climate Action Plan to cut carbon pollution, prepare communities for the impacts of climate change, and lead international efforts to address this global challenge. The plan recognizes that even as we act to curb the carbon pollution that is driving climate change, we must also prepare our citizens and communities for the climate impacts that are already underway across the country.

One of the efforts described in that Climate Action Plan is the Climate Data Initiative, a broad effort to leverage the federal government’s extensive, freely-available climate-relevant data resources to spur innovation and private-sector entrepreneurship in order to advance awareness of and preparedness for the impacts of climate change. NASA was asked to implement this initiative by working closely with several other Federal agencies in order to identify key data and resources and make those available to the data innovators community.

The CDI was launched in March 2014 and leverages commitments from government and the private sector to unleash data and make it accessible to the larger community. It builds on the White House’s other Open Data Initiatives—in areas such as health, education, and safety.

The Climate Data Initiative is organized around thematic areas of climate-change risk and impact, which are closely aligned with the findings of the Third U.S. National Climate Assessment. A team of federal experts works in each thematic area to build and deploy resources on for use by data innovators. Several themes have been released to date including Coastal Flooding, Food Resilience, Water and Ecosystem Vulnerability. Going forward, the Initiative will expand to include data from other themes areas including Energy, Human Health, and Transportation.