What is the purpose of this site?
To document the negative effects of global warming that are unfolding in a structured, easily searchable database. It is updated regularly as new research is published in the scientific literature so as to document the effects of global warming as they continue to unfold.
Why only focus on observed, negative effects to humans?
There is a wide array of climate change papers published every week. This theme was chosen firstly to narrow the focus to something, so that the site's purpose is clear and contained. Secondly, because we feel that negative effects on humans is (rightly) typically of greatest interest to the public and policy makers. Predictions and theory are valuable tools to predict the future, but these are simply outside of the scope of what ClimateObserved serves to record.
What is the motivation?
First, it's useful to be able to answer questions like:
- "Is there any hard empirical evidence that hurricanes have gotten stronger accross the world?"
- "What does the scientific literature say that global warming's impact has been, to date, on wildfire frequency in the continental US?"
- "What are all of the different impacts of climate change that have been recorded so far in Brazil?"
Second, because nobody else is doing it, and we think it's important. While IPCC reports summarize research, each one is only for a specific time period, and the observational studies are mixed in with predictive studies in every section. Searching Google or Google Scholar also typically yields mixed results with many model-based predictive studies, or non peer reviewed articles, included in the results.
As far as we know, ClimateObserved is the first and only tool available that can quickly and easily return relevant citations to answer questions about what has already been observed to be happening.
How does it work?
Papers are pulled primarily from aggregators of newly published research on climate change. Each paper is read. Most are rejected as being out of scope. Papers are only added if they are deemed to be based upon observational evidence of trends over time, that have a reasonably clear, negative impact on humans. All papers are categorized accross several attributes to allow for easy searching and filtering. Every record on the site also includes a "Key Line", a relevant quote that can be quickly read to illustrate succinctly why the paper was selected (in other words, a quotable excerpt that stands on its own to demonstrate to others how the paper supports the category it was given on ClimateObserved.)
How do I use it?
Papers are organized by category, to allow one to answer questions about specific types of effects. They are also grouped geographically, so you can easily click on a particular country -- or view papers that have looked at trends on a global scale -- to see specifically what the science says about what negative effects have been already observed to be unfolding in those areas. A direct DOI link to the original paper is always included.
What is the funding of ClimateObserved.org?
At the moment it is purely a passion project. We are not affiliated with any other organization, we have never accepted any payments or donations, nor do we include any banner ads. Our internal team has experience in both climate change and coding websites, so no expensive external resources are needed, keeping our costs to a minimum. Review of papers and the coding of the site is done solely on a volunteer basis.
What is the platform that it runs on?
ClimateObserved.org is a light, custom-built web application that serves a database of links to scientific papers. The MySQL database is the heart of the site, with a small PHP layer that was written from scratch for the purpose. The page designs are intentionally minimalist to reduce clutter and optimize performance on slow internet speeds.
How can I contact you?
To inquire about joining our team as a volunteer, suggest additional papers that we missed, correct errors, or report a bug, just drop an email to email@example.com. Expect some delay in getting back as we also have day jobs, and often the only time that can be spent on this is spent on reviewing additional papers for inclusion, but we do try to keep up with emails as best we can.