MCRN Climate Data Hackathon 2014

What's a "hackathon"?

A hackathon is an event where you spend a day doing focused work on some small project – in this case, a research question related to climate data. Typically, people work in small groups of two or three. A hackathon is a great way to make a low risk bet on an idea you've always been meaning to explore, to learn a new skill set, or to work with some new collaborators.

Climate Data

Click here for climate data

We've compiled some reasonably sized files – mostly monthly climatologies – of basic elements of the Earth's climate – top of atmosphere radiative fluxes, the ocean, sea ice, the atmosphere, clouds, and precipitation, along with some simple research questions, on the page linked to above. Each climate dataset has a short description which points the way to more detailed observations. For even more data, see NCAR's wonderful and comprehensive Climate Data Guide, the IPRC's great clearinghouse, or the online environment at KNMI. To get your bearings, this website gives a birds-eye view of the Earth from any day over the last few years, using MODIS imagery.


Open Questions

Click here for some open questions in climate science

We've solicited climate scientists to give us some important open questions that climate data analysis could significantly help with. Take a look!

Software & Presentations

Enthought Python is a great, free, open source environment for scientific computing.

NASA's Panoply is a simple and lightweight NetCDF viewer, with versions available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Ferret is a Mathematica for climate data, with more ability to manipulate data than Panoply.

The SSA-MTM Toolkit is useful for spectral analysis.

Workshop 1 Scripts:

Workshop 2 Scripts:

Workshop 3 Scripts:

Workshop 4 Materials:


The hackathon will take place on Friday, September 12th, as part of the MCRN Junior Researchers Meeting

  • 9:00-9:30 Introduction and idea pitches; after the introduction session, MCRN members are free (and encouraged) to go begin exploring some research question
  • 9:30-10:15 Optional workshop 1: setting up Python, SciPy, and Panoply w/ Daniel Koll
  • 10:30-11:15 Optional workshop 2: look at climate datasets: what, why, and how w/ Jonah Bloch-Johnson
  • 11:30-12:15 Optional workshop 3: basic data analysis w/ Sarah Iams
  • 12:30-2:00 Lunch
  • 2:00-2:45 Optional workshop 4: working with ferret (a Mathematica for climate data) w/ Malte Stuecker
  • 2:45-4:30 Hacking
  • 4:30-5:00 Show what you've made