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The Development Team

Computing Climate Data from Around the Globe

June 3, 2010 —
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Since Wolfram|Alpha launched in 2009, we’ve had numerous requests to add data on climate. As part of our one-year anniversary release, we recently added a vast set of historical climate data, drawing on studies from across the globe, which can be easily analyzed and correlated in Wolfram|Alpha.

You can now query for and compare the raw data from different climate model reconstructions and studies, as reported in peer-reviewed journals and by government agencies, many of them covering more than a thousand years of history. The full set of reconstructions was chosen from as broad a collection of sources as possible, from well-known records such as ice cores and tree rings, to corals, speleothems, and glacier lengths—and even some truly unusual ones, like grape harvest dates.

Or are you more interested in global greenhouse gas concentrations?

If you’re interested in exploring this vast area of climatology yourself, you can start by looking at a detailed summary of the most prominent models in literature: simply ask Wolfram|Alpha about “global climate”, which will bring up a selection of data sets that have figured prominently in the news over the past few years.

Global climate studies in Wolfram|Alpha

Wolfram|Alpha can also compute a more local analysis of recorded temperature variations. For example, you can compare the temperature variations recorded in specific parts of the globe, like the Northern Hemisphere. Or you can ask about studies conducted in specific countries, like the United Kingdom or Japan.

If you want to focus only on the world’s oceans, try asking about “ocean climate”—which gives you the ability to view a number of different indices. These indices reflect important large-scale ocean phenomena; the Southern Oscillation Index, for example, is connected to El Niño and La Niña episodes in the Pacific. You can click the Details button to learn more about the precise regions and values tracked by each index.

Results for the Southern Oscillation Index

We hope this new addition makes Wolfram|Alpha a useful, integrated tool for those who are curious about Earth’s climate. The collection of models we have added so far is by no means complete—so we encourage researchers and laypeople alike to suggest additional studies and resources, in order to help us compile a more complete picture of the climate of our blue planet.”


Can a hurricane absorb floating crude oil from the Gulf and deposit the oil inland?
Thank You

Posted by Ron Davis June 6, 2010 at 6:59 pm

I’d recommend caution with this data. After the recent leak I had a look at some of the inputs to the HADCrut etc. data.

For the NZ data I found some data massaging and interpretation which I wouldn’t tolerate in my own work. There’s also evidence that many of the measuring stations have been giving suspect results for decades. I recommend putting a suitable error band around the data to accomodate the uncertainty.

Posted by Mike Gale June 8, 2010 at 6:21 pm