Microsoft Climate Data Initiative

In response to President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, Microsoft offers the Climate Data Initiative (CDI) Award program. This program supports the CDI’s goals of preparedness for and resilience to climate change impacts.The Microsoft Azure for Research program granted 12 months of free cloud computing resources to 20 awardees selected. Each award provides up to 180,000 hours of cloud computing time and 20 terabytes of cloud storage to be used for the project.

This special Climate Data award is part of the ongoing Microsoft Azure for Research program, through which Microsoft Research not only provides grants of cloud-computing resources but also in-person and online training on how to use Windows Azure for scientific and scholarly research. Windows Azure enables investigators to harness the power and scalability of cloud computing to facilitate the collaborative and computational needs of data-intensive research.

To further promote resilience to the impacts of climate change, Microsoft commits to make FetchClimate available for adoption. FetchClimate is available to all researchers - not just the award recipients - as a "fast, free, intelligent environmental information-retrieval service that provides past and present observational data and climate prediction information." Microsoft will provide the FetchClimate cloud-based system for re-implementation and adaptation to the specific needs of new projects.

The initiative is also an effort to open, organize, and centralize climate-relevant data on’s Climate website. To support the CDI, public and private partnerships have emerged, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) joining forces with Microsoft Research to organize data sets and tools in the cloud to provide insight into vulnerabilities in the food system.

The USDA has implemented its data and tools on Microsoft Azure, which makes it easy for agricultural researchers to explore, analyze and share insights to address climate-change concerns and help farmers and producers improve the food system.

Publication Date: July 2014

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  • Climate science
  • Funding program

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