Climate change around the globe through the year 2100 is predicted in a massive new set of data generated by NASA. The new study foretells the most likely changes the planet will experience over the next 85 years, due to the effects of greenhouse gases emitted from factories and vehicles around the globe.

The NASA Earth Exchange (NEX) platform utilized data from 21 different models to determine how global temperatures will change by the year 2100. The dataset, compiled on supercomputers, combines global temperature readings, geophysical modeling and historical records. Data shows predictions for small regions, with details as small as 15.6 miles, including daily weather histories of individual regions as well as predictions for the future.

"Each of the climate projections includes daily maximum temperature, minimum temperature, and precipitation for the periods from 1950 through 2100," Climate Model Data Services (CDS) reported for NASA.

The predictions in the new dataset were based on two possible scenarios of future greenhouse gas emissions. The first assumed a "business as usual" approach, with greenhouse gases being released at around the same rate as they are today. The second model formulates predictions based on a dramatic increase in the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere.

Compilation of the NEX dataset was powered by OpenNex (a collaboration between Internet giant Amazon and NASA).

"NASA is in the business of taking what we've learned about our planet from space and creating new products that help us all safeguard our future. With this new global dataset, people around the world have a valuable new tool to use in planning how to cope with a warming planet," Ellen Stofan, a chief scientist at NASA, said.

This project produced a mammoth dataset, composing 11 terabytes (11,000 gigabytes) of information, enough to completely fill more than 170 modern smartphones.

The new dataset, which is freely available to the public on the World Wide Web, could allow researchers to predict how individual regions will change over the next eight-and-a-half decades. Areas subject to drought, flooding, wildfires or other conditions can select data specific to the regions in order to prepare for such eventualities.

In 2013, NEX researchers released a similar, albeit much smaller, set of data predicting the extent of climate change across the United States over the rest of the century. That work is currently being used by cities, towns and municipalities to predict how global warming and other climate change will affect their communities. This new data could be similarly used by environmentalists studying other locations.

Photo: Tim J. Keegan | Flickr

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