Global climate change data provides unique insights about our changing environment over long time-scales, and helps us plan for the future. The international climate change data set CMIP6 is a collection of model data that is assembled from the most advanced climate models around the world and provides our best understanding of global climate change. Due to be released later in 2018, the CMIP6 collection will be stored at a small number of international data analysis sites. NCI is one of these major sites, organising the up-to-date data and providing it to researchers, along with all the data analysis tools and computational power needed to analyse this vast amount of information. 

For researchers at NCI, the data particularly covers many different aspects of the Australian climate, with valuable information about weather patterns, temperature, humidity and more.

CSIRO has a major project as part of their agriculture and food research programs to examine the impacts of a changing climate on our agricultural landscapes. For example, the shift in places that support wheat growing, and to assess where adaptation strategies should be put in place to reduce the heat stress effect on milk production in dairy cattle.

All of these lines of inquiry require a reliable access hub for data analysis and sharing. CSIRO’s Dr Jaci Brown says, “NCI’s data management platforms and quality control mechanisms provide the ideal home for the mind-blowing amounts of data that make up CMIP6, and importantly for us, the data needed to confidently analyse the impacts of climate on agriculture.”

Having a single home for the international reference data is the only way for teams of researchers in various locations to access the large volumes of data coming in from diverse sources, It is also the best way for them to use advanced analysis tools that can work across all this information. Without NCI specialists building the required data-rich environment, this research capability would be impossible. Furthermore, this streamlines the analysis process that now allows the researchers to focus on their areas of expertise instead of other time-consuming data management aspects.

NCI’s data platforms are the ideal home for high-performance scientific datasets such as CMIP6. By taking care of a large portion of the data acquisition, storage and management processes, NCI enables efficient, data-intensive research into the impacts of climate change.

This research highlight was originally published in the 2017-2018 NCI Annual Report.