NOAA 2000-R320
Contact: Pat Viets


Directors of the World Data Centers will meet at the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., Nov. 6 through 8 to discuss how to combine billions of bits of data into one network that gives a window into environmental sciences, ranging from our stars to the Earth's core, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced today.

"The representatives will develop a plan for transforming 48 individual centers in 11 countries into a globally networked system," said Gus Shumbera, director of World Data Center-A for Meteorology, which is co-located with NCDC in Asheville. "Such a system would help scientists access a wide variety of environmental data from around the world."

The World Data Center system, created more that 40 years ago, has provided geophysical, solar, and environmental data and information to scientists around the world. The WDC system was established in 1957 to improve access to data and to promote data security as part of the international geophysical year. It also provided an effective mechanism for international data exchange during the years of the Cold War. Today the system is responding to new scientific programs that involve new disciplines, use new technology, and have a broader international base.

The world data centers, maintained by their host countries, operate under guidelines set forth by the International Council for Science, a non-governmental, international organization of scientists. The archived data range from the stars (astronomy) to the Earth's deep interior (seismology).

NOAA operates several data centers in the system, including the World Data Center for: Meteorology, Asheville; Marine Geology and Geophysics, Boulder, Colo.; Paleoclimatology, Boulder; Solar Terrestrial Physics, Boulder; Solid Earth Geophysics, Boulder; and Oceanography, Silver Spring, Md. NOAA also operates the WDC for Glaciology (Snow and Ice) in conjunction with the University of Colorado through a NOAA-CU cooperative agreement.