Data archaeology in the Mediterranean region

Although early instrumental meteorological measurements took place in Mediterranean locations, enabling the region to develop a wealthy heritage of long surface climate records, this rich legacy is largely underexploited. Currently available and accessible high-quality surface climate data are mostly restricted to the second half of the 20th century onwards, though older data exist. The lack of long climate records is preventing the region from developing robust climate assessments.

EURO4M improves current limited data availability over this region by integrated data archaeology activities. High-quality and long-term Essential Climate Variables datasets are developed based on recovered surface climate records of, for instance, temperature, precipitation and air pressure.

Data are collected and digitized for several key stations from the poorest documented parts of the Mediterranean Basin, namely the north African and Middle Eastern countries. The recovered climate data fill gaps in the atmospheric observation system.

In the first two years of the project a team from the University Rovira i Virgili (URV), Spain, has digitized more than two thirds of the observations from sites in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Cyprus (see map below). Data from any station located in the neighborhood of each site have been used for constructing long-term, as-complete-as-possible (after merging) and reliable (after quality-checking and homogenization) time series. Several quality controls are run such as gross check errors, tolerance tests, internal coherency and temporal and spatial consistency checks.

Location of the selected sites and parameters for which station records are being digitised and quality controlled.
Location of the selected sites and parameters for which station records are being digitised and quality controlled (source: URV).

The MEditerranean climate DAta REscue (MEDARE) initiative develops, consolidates and progresses climate data and metadata rescue activities across the Greater Mediterranean Region.
Global coordination of historical surface observations is being undertaken by the international Atmospheric Circulation Reconstructions over the Earth (ACRE) initiative.