25th Anniversary of the Data Distribution Centre

The Data Distribution Centre (DDC) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change (IPCC) is marking 25 years of support to IPCC assessments. Stretching back to the Second Assessment Report, the DDC has diligently curated, archived and disseminated data underpinning IPCC activities, acting as a long-term reference for IPCC member states. Collecting and analysing data is a fundamental building block of any scientific research and as such it is a critical component of IPCC reports which inform policy decisions at all levels. 

The DDC was established during the 13th Session of the IPCC (IPCC-13) to provide climate, socio-economic and environmental data from the past, and scenarios for the future. IPCC-13, which took place in the Maldives in 1997, determined that the DDC would be hosted by Germany and the United Kingdom. Since then, the DDC has been supporting IPCC authors and member states with quality assured, citable IPCC-relevant climate data for its assessment reports.

“The DDC plays a critical role in the IPCC ecosystem,  ensuring that relevant data is curated and available so the next generation of scientists can build on previous assessments,” said David Huard one of the Co-Chairs of the IPCC Task Group on Data Support for Climate Change Assessment (TG-Data). TG-Data oversees the work of the DDC.

The Sixth Assessment cycle (AR6) marked a major change for the DDC. Spain joined the DDC and led the development and maintenance of the Interactive Atlas, an online resource displaying key maps and results from Working Group I report. The DDC also became involved in the curation and archiving of data underlying figures and tables published in AR6. Together with the Working Group Technical Support Units and TG-Data, the DDC proposed guidelines to make IPCC data findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable. Significant efforts were devoted in AR6 to adhere to these guidelines, and enhance the transparency of the AR6 by ensuring the traceability of key statements, figures and tables, and credit all contributors.

“DDC members lend their expertise to the entire climate science community, not only to the IPCC, contributing to data and metadata standards that make international scientific collaboration possible,” added Sebastián Vicuña the other Co-Chair of TG-Data.

Currently, the DDC is jointly managed by four partners, the Deutsches Klimarechenzentrum in Germany, the Centre for International Earth Science Information Network in the USA, the Spanish Research Council and UK based MetadataWorks. Together with its collaborators, the DDC is pursuing the archival of AR6 data for future generations and preparing for the next assessment cycle and the new challenges it will bring.