Governance of the IPCC Data Distribution Centre (DDC) by TGICA
February 8, 2012
1. Mission of the Data Distribution Centre
Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Data Distribution Centre (DDC)
provides long-term access to data sets, climate and other scenarios,
and other materials (e.g., technical guidelines on use of scenarios)
in support of the broad IPCC community. The DDC operates under the
oversight of the Task Group on Data and Scenario Support for Impact
and Climate Analysis (TGICA), which was established by the IPCC to
facilitate wide availability of climate change-related data and
scenarios to enable research and sharing of information across the
three IPCC working groups.
2. Focus of DDC activities
The DDC provides a
repository for data from IPCC sources, quality controlled and
carefully vetted, and operating within the IPCC’s mandate. In
addition, it provides pointers to other centres and groups for data
beyond its current holdings that may be useful for impacts,
adaptation, vulnerability and mitigation assessments. Specifically,
the DDC currently focuses on:
- Supporting research on climate change
impacts, adaptation, vulnerability (IAV) and mitigation, promoting
communication and exchange of information across the IPCC Working
Groups, and facilitating studies that use consistent scenarios and
baseline data for integration into IPCC assessments;
Ensuring the long-term accessibility and stewardship of DDC data
holdings in accordance with best practices and standards, to support
future IPCC assessments and climate-related research and assessment
Providing or pointing to:
data and metadata from General Circulation Models (GCMs) that are
analysed and evaluated in the IPCC Assessment Reports;
finer resolution regional climate information downscaled from GCMs;
socio-economic, climate and related scenario information from
international modelling exercises feeding into IPCC assessments;
updated socio-economic information at scales needed for IAV and
high resolution observational climate data sets -- with guidance on
their use in observed impacts analyses;
climate-related environmental information on sea level, storm
surge, atmospheric composition, and other phenomena;
resources such as technical guidelines, fact sheets and exemplar
studies at different scales;
the documentation and training materials needed to support the
widespread and appropriate use of DDC data and information;
processing tools that permit an easy processing or visualisation of
data and results;
- Distributing data sets on various electronic
media for research groups from developing countries and
transition-economies that cannot access large data sets on-line;
Responding to user queries and addressing access and use issues on a
timely basis within available resource levels, including efforts to
ensure equitable access by developing country and transition-economy
scientists and other users;
Working to establish standards of data quality control within the
communities producing data relevant to the IPCC Assessments;
Providing a user registration service.
- The TGICA is responsible for the DDC,
providing leadership and oversight for its operations. It makes
decisions about the materials (observational data, model data, other
data and documents) to be included in the DDC. As specified in the
TGICA mandate, information provided through the DDC includes IPCC
“approved”, “adopted”, “accepted”, and “supporting”
Material that falls outside the scope of IPCC “approved”,
“adopted”, “accepted”, and “supporting” material
(including datasets) will be appraised according to the “DDC
Criteria for linking datasets” (ddcLinkingCriteria.pdf). Such links should
be clearly identified as having been reviewed by the TGICA in
accordance with the criteria.
The TGICA retains overall responsibility for the directions given to
the DDC, but may choose to delegate some decisions to a designated
work-group (see below), e.g., to facilitate day-to-day DDC
operations. Decisions regarding operations of the DDC are made with
the full participation of the DDC managers and reflect the
expertise, responsibilities, and operating procedures of the
institutions that comprise the DDC. Decisions regarding model data
and scenarios are made in consultation with participating modelling
centers and partners.
In its operations, the DDC seeks to build capacity for
climate-related research and assessment in developing and
transition-economy regions and countries.
The DDC supports users of the data and information it disseminates.
TGICA's membership includes representatives of different research
communities who use climate-related data and scenarios. These
members are responsible for representing user needs and
The data and information served by the DDC web site are available
free of charge to all users. Additional benefits or individual
services (such as provision of data on electronic media) may be made
available at cost.
The operations of the DDC are primarily funded through voluntary
“in-kind” contributions from governments that support the
participating data centres that comprise the DDC. The TGICA should
maintain regular communication with representatives of supporting
governments and the home institutions of the data centres.
4. DDC Structure and Roles of the DDC Managers
- The DDC is currently a shared operation of
the British Atmospheric Data Centre (BADC) in the United Kingdom;
the World Data Center Climate at the German Climate Computing Center
(WDCC / DKRZ) in Hamburg, Germany; and the NASA Socioeconomic Data
and Applications Center (SEDAC) operated by the Center for
International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) at
Columbia University, New York, USA. Each of these institutions has
voluntarily taken on responsibility for managing access to a subset
of the data and information provided by the DDC.
The DDC Managers make decisions by consensus. Lead responsibility
for the DDC currently rests with the BADC, which coordinates the
overall management of the DDC. Any one of the DDC Managers may bring
matters to the attention of the TGICA.
The DDC Managers are accountable for the successful operation of the
DDC. They are charged with developing and maintaining the DDC in
keeping with international standards and “best practices” for
user access and support, appropriate cataloguing, documentation,
quality control, archiving, and preservation and stewardship of DDC
holdings. The DDC Managers are empowered to undertake the following
operate and maintain the DDC website in keeping with the overall
direction provided by the TGICA to ensure that the DDC evolves and
keeps up with changes in technology and standards. The objective is
to make sure that the information on the DDC is easily accessible
and usable for a wide range of users.
Carry out performance monitoring and reporting including use and
Solicit user feedback and reactions to the site and report these to
the TGICA as requested.
Develop proposals for improving the content, data delivery, and user
support of the DDC for review and approval by the TGICA. Proposals
for new DDC initiatives should be based on knowledge of the DDC
managers and their home institutions, monitoring of the Web, and
other information sources.
Implement content changes that have been requested or approved by
TGICA, subject to review conditions if such are specified by TGICA.
Suggest changes to correct content that is outdated and implement
changes with approval of the DDC work-group or the full TGICA.
Ensure that the information and services provided by the DDC are
well integrated with the main IPCC web site (www.ipcc.ch).
At each regular meeting of the TGICA, DDC Managers will provide an
overview of DDC operations and previously implemented or proposed
modifications to the DDC.
5. The Role of the TGICA and DDC Work-group in
Providing Leadership and Oversight for the DDC
- The TGICA provides oversight for the DDC and
establishes policies for managing it.
The TGICA establishes a standing “DDC Work-group” of at least
three members. The DDC Work-group periodically reviews the websites
that make up the DDC and provides ongoing feedback to the DDC
Managers. More specifically, it reviews the DDC site before each
TGICA meeting and prepares a report for discussion by the TGICA on
its assessment of the state of the DDC and materials or aspects of
the site that need to be updated. The DDC Managers may request input
from the TGICA or DDC Work-group as needed.
The DDC Work-group will make decisions on a consensus basis.
The TGICA provides leadership for identifying needs for
observations, model data, technical guidelines, and other materials
in standard formats to facilitate research and assessment by
scientists and other users in diverse settings. It relies on its
members and the DDC Managers for suggestions and proposals for new
The TGICA approves additions of data, scenarios, technical
guidelines, fact sheets and other materials to the DDC's holdings.
Before being added to the DDC, technical guidelines and fact sheets
must be peer reviewed to ensure quality and reliability for their
intended purpose. Separate documents
outline the procedures for preparation, review and Task Group
approval of technical guidelines and fact sheets. The DDC also
provides an archiving function for the review process as well as for
the resulting documents and their updates.