Climate Inspector is the newest addition to the NCAR GIS Program's Climate Change Scenarios web portal. This portal has offered downloadable climate change data in a GIS format to users since 2005. Climate Inspector is an interactive web application which expands Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping and graphing capabilities to visualize possible temperature and precipitation changes throughout the 21st century. The maps and graphs are generated from a large dataset of climate simulations by the NCAR Community Climate System Model (CCSM4). These simulations were prepared for the 5th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). With Climate Inspector users can explore how temperature and precipitation may change based on different emission trajectories (i.e., Representative Concentration Pathways, RCP), investigate changes around the globe and through time, inspect climate variability and uncertainty, and download maps and data.
Climate Inspector is built using a number of technologies. All the climate simulations are natively stored as netCDF CF data files. The OGC CF-netCDF standard consists of a suite of standards that support encoding of digital geospatial information representing space/time-varying phenomena. All the climate simulation netCDF data are accessed for the Climate Inspector through a THREDDS Data Server. Unidata THREDDS Data Server is a web server that provides metadata and data access for scientific datasets, using a variety of remote data access protocols. Access through a number of different protocols is what makes the THREDDS Data Server so powerful. The map displayed in the Climate Inspector is being accessed through Web Map Service (WMS) protocol, while the data for the interactive graphs are being accessed through OpeNDAP protocols. The Climate Inspector is also using Esri ArcGIS Server to distribute the base maps. The base maps have a number of scale reference layers, which are turned on and off, depending on the zoom level of the client.
GIS Program at NCAR