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Microsoft Research support for climate change studies

March 19, 2014 | By Microsoft blog editor

Last June, U.S. President Barack Obama announced a Climate Action Plan to help predict and address the impacts of climate change. To further this important effort, Microsoft Research is pleased to launch a special Climate Data award program, which offers scientists and decision-makers 12 months of free Windows Azure cloud-computing resources. The grants will go to 40 awardees selected from proposals submitted by June 15, 2014. Each award provides up to 180,000 hours of cloud-computing time and 20 terabytes of cloud storage.

White House Climate Data Initiative addresses climate change

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.

Microsoft Research is also dedicated to sharing the powerful business intelligence tools built into the Microsoft technology platform. These tools support data self-service, analysis, visualization, and security, connecting decision makers to the information streams that will be forthcoming in response to the White House’s call to action through its Climate Data Initiative. Like FetchClimate, these business intelligence tools are available to everyone, not just the Climate Data awardees.

Here’s a sample scenario for how these all these resources could be coordinated: Windows Azure cloud services—through FetchClimate—would provide climate predictions for future extreme rainfall events. This predictive information would inform a planning model built on Microsoft Business Intelligence technologies, in turn enabling state planners to prioritize emergency preparedness and flood mitigation projects to protect population centers and transportation infrastructure.

We’re excited to be part of this effort to predict and alleviate the deleterious impacts of climate change.

View more information on the award proposal process.

—Rob Fatland, Senior Research Program Manager, Microsoft Research Connections

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