- The text on this page is taken from an equivalent page of the IEHIAS-project.
Meteorological (i.e. short-term weather) conditions are important determinants of many human activities and environmental processes. For example, they directly affect energy use, transport choices and consumption decisions, and the release, environmental transport and ultimate fate of pollutants. Extreme weather events (e.g. heatwaves and cold spells) also pose direct risks for health. In addition, longer term climatic conditions are powerful influences on population distribution, environmental capital, economic activity and human well-being, so that changes in climate are crucial drivers of policy action.
Climate and meteorological data are therefore crucial inputs to many integrated environmental health impact assessments. Traditionally, these data have been derived from ground-based monitoring networks, and over the years extensive series of climate and meteorological statistics have been built up at both national level and internationally. In recent years, a large number of satellite-based weather stations have been launched, and these have greatly extended both the supply of data and the potential for climate and weather modelling.
These different types of data pose rather different problems. Ground-based observations are, by their very nature, location-specific. For many purposes, therefore, the data have to be extrapolated either to other locations, in order to provide estimates at unsampled sites, or to areas in order to provide maps of climatic or meteorological conditions. While this can be done using simple interpolation methods (especially with the help of GIS), spatial variability in meteorological conditions can be complex, so that sophisticated models (and ancillary data on, for example, topography and land cover) may be needed to provide reliable estimates at a local scale. Satellites, in contrast, often yield areally continuous data, but in some cases only at a relatively coarse spatial resolution, and for recent years. In addition, high level atmospheric measurements (e.g. of solar radiation) do not necessarily translate simply into meaningful data on conditions in the ground-layer, where people live.
The table below summarises some of the main data sources available for the EU, and provides links to the providers. Further information, in the form of factsheets, is available where indicated.
|Data set||Description||Content/variables||Coverage||Data holder/ provider||Further information|
|ECMWF||Modelled daily and monthly meteoerological data for period since 1957; accessible via interactive data-finder||Wide range of variables, including: Temperature, precipitation, windspeed, vapour pressure, potential evaporation, global radiation||Global||European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting|
|JRC Meteorological Database||Daily and long-term meteorological data from 1500 weather stations (since Jan 1975), spatially interpolated to 50x50km grid.||Temperature, precipitation, windspeed, vapour pressure, potential evaporation, global radiation||Europe + Maghreb countries and Turkey||JRC|
|European Climate Assessment and Dataset||Daily data for 3339 meteorological stations, and gridded data sets of rainfall and temperature for 1950-2009.||Temperature, precipitation, sunshine, windspeed, atmospheric pressure, humidity, cloud cover||Europe and N. Africa||ECA&D|
|CLINO||Publication containing climatological norms for 4000 stations||Temperature, precipitation, sunshine, windspeed, atmospheric pressure, vapour pressure, relative humidity||130 countries, worldwide||WMO|
|GHCN||Monthly meteorological data, since 1967||Temperature, precipitation, atmospheric pressure||Global||NCDC|
|Solar Irradiation Database||Monthly solar irradiation data for various cities||Solar horizontal irradiation (expressed in kWh m-2 day-1)||Global||University of Massachusetts Lowell Photovolatic Program|
|PVGIS||1 km raster grids of irradiation based on data from 566 measurement stations for 1981-90||Global irradiation, atmospheric turbidity, ratio of diffuse/global irradiation||Europe||Photovoltaic Geographical Information System||Factsheet|
|SoDa||Web application providing wide range of long-term time-series of solar irradiation and associated data||Irradiation, temperature, rainfall, longwave radiation, Linke turbidity factor, atmospheric turbidity, clear-skies properties, photosynthetically active radiation, spectral distribution||Europe and Africa||SoDa Service||Factsheet|