Making space datasets accessible to tackle climate change (and other) challenges

The Peri Peri team using RCM simulated data during Space App 2017 in Ottawa. They developed a strong conceptual idea for a user-friendly interface to access and display modelled RCM data. (Source: Judy Chang)

Climate change is among the greatest threats of our time. The unprecedented hurricane season that is still underway is one of many concrete examples of that. Governments, industries and private citizens everywhere are mobilizing to tackle this pressing issue.

Climathon is an initiative where citizens are called on to take direct climate action. Teams of students, innovators, entrepreneurs and professionals around the world will gather on October 27 for this global 24-hour hackathon to come up with innovative solutions to local climate change challenges.

Satellites are valuable tools for studying various aspects of the Earth and its atmosphere. For example, Canada's SCISAT measures over 60 trace gases that influence the distribution of ozone in the stratosphere. These and other satellite data help increase our understanding of climate processes and impacts, hence improving our ability to model and predict these changes.

In spring 2017, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) participated for the first time in NASA Space Apps hackathon events held in Canadian locations and facilitated access to Canadian space datasets. Now inspired by the lofty goals of Climathon and in keeping with the Open Government initiative, the CSA is releasing additional datasets that could help Climathon participants take action and innovate.

We took the opportunity of Climathon to create an Open Data page where the public can access a variety of space data including datasets in atmospheric sciences, space environment / space weather and Earth observation, all of which can be useful to the participants. The page also includes sets of space astronomy and planetary exploration data. We will continue to feed it as new datasets become available.

In October 2018, the Government of Canada will become co-chair of the Open Government Partnership (OGP). In the spirit of the OGP's "vision of governments truly serving and empowering their citizens," we at the CSA continue to support Canada's Open Government initiative by making scientific data publicly available to encourage innovation and contribute to the advancement of knowledge.

Explore our open data page

Climathon 2016 in numbers:

  • 59 cities on 6 continents
  • 2330 ideas created
  • Reached 16.8 million people worldwide