News Archive

Affiliate of West Big Data Innovation Hub at SDSC Launches Hawai’i Climate Portal

New website serves as model for effectively organized big data sites

Published July 5, 2022

Raingage in Haleakalā, Maui.  Credit: John DeLay

By Kimberly Mann Bruch, SDSC External Relations

The West Big Data Innovation Hub (West Hub) is an inclusive community for catalyzing and scaling data science for societal needs—needs such as knowledge of climate patterns for the purposes of resource management. For example, groundwater and surface water development and protection, controlling and eradicating invasive species, protecting and restoring native ecosystems, and planning for the effects of global warming.

In support of closing data gaps and providing easy public access to Hawai’i climate data and information, several West Hub affiliates including the Hawaiʻi Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (Hawaiʻi ESPCoR) at the University of Hawai'i (UH) ʻIke Wai Project, and the Hawaiʻi Data Science Institute, partnered with the Water Resources Research Center (WRRC) and East-West Center on a new online open-source platform called the Hawai’i Climate Data Portal (HCDP). The site hosts a wide range of data products, climate tools and resources.

“Using data science and computational techniques to understand societal issues requires more than reducing large-scale data to simulations or numbers—one must translate this output via a user interface that can be readily understood by stakeholders to inform decision making,” said Christine Kirkpatrick, Research Data Services director at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at UC San Diego and co-principal investigator for West Hub. “The Hawaiʻi Climate Data Portal has organized a tremendous collection of relevant data in a platform tailor-made to its intended audience.”

Climate data available through the portal include more than 100 years of monthly rainfall maps, 30 years of daily temperature maps and a range of other variables and products, most of which are updated in near-real-time. Other features of the HCDP include climate map visualization and download tools, a library of related journal publications and reports, climate research highlights, information on Indigenous knowledge and climate perspectives, and links to decision support tools and resources.

“The Hawaiʻi Climate Data Portal provides streamlined access to high-quality reliable data and information that can be utilized by a range of stakeholders and be incorporated into near-real-time planning activities and management decisions,” said East-West Center Fellow and ʻIke Wai researcher Ryan Longman, who worked on the development of the portal with a team of about 20.

In the near future, the HCDP will host data from the Hawaiʻi Mesonet project which will deploy more than 90 climate stations statewide. Other features under development include near-real-time fire risk and early warning, drought forecasting and an avian malaria risk warning tool.

“Improving weather and climate monitoring in Hawaiʻi through the Hawaiʻi Mesonet and providing easy access to the data and data products through the HCDP will revolutionize Hawaiʻi-based research across a broad range of disciplines and provide much needed information to resource managers, emergency response agencies, decision makers and Hawaiʻi residents,” said Thomas Giambelluca, ʻIke Wai project co-investigator

Future features are being supported by the Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

“The West Hub shares in the excitement of the University of Hawaii with the launch of this critical planning tool,” said Ashley Atkins, executive director of West Hub. “We encourage the West Hub community to utilize this incredible resource, and we look forward to seeing what it catalyzes.”

More information on the HCDP and related UH research can be found on the EPSCoR Hawaiʻi website.