Google and Microsoft Helping the White House Track Climate Change

By Jamie Condliffe on at

The White House has announced that it's teaming up with Google and Microsoft to centralise its climate change data—and make it more accessible for public and researchers alike.

The Data.gov website's new climate portal is one of the results of President Obama's Climate Data Initiative (PDF), and it will be powered in part by teams at Mountain View and Redmond. While the raw data will continue to come from the likes of the US Department of Defense, NASA and the US Geological Society, Google, Microsoft and others will massage and present it.

So, Google will donate 50 million hours of its Earth Engine's computing power, and will also team up with academics to develop near real-time drought maps and monitoring systems. Microsoft is developing a system called FetchClimate that stores historical climate data and can forecast future weather trends based on the information.

White House advisors John Podesta and John Holdren explain the benefits:

"By taking the enormous data sets regularly collected by NASA, NOAA, and other agencies and applying the ingenuity, creativity, and expertise of technologists and entrepreneurs, the Climate Data Initiative will help create easy-to-use tools for regional planners, farmers, hospitals, and businesses across the country-and empower America's communities to prepare themselves for the future."

Elsewhere, the project will see initiatives from other tech companies, too: maps and mobile apps for climate changes made by Esri, for instance, and a disaster risk field guide by the World Bank Group. You can expect to see more over time, too. [The White House]