Microsoft supporting climate change studies with cloud computing access

Microsoft supporting climate change studies with cloud computing access

Climate change research continues, and at increasingly frantic rate as new and better ways of gathering and analyzing data continue to be found. There is a lot of information to look at and countless models that need to be considered. This growing amount of data requires a lot of storage and ease of access for the scientists doing the work.

Now Microsoft Research is stepping in to help out. “Microsoft Research is launching a special Climate Data award program to offer a set of scientists and decision-makers free access to Windows Azure cloud-computing resources”, the Microsoft Citizenship Team announces.

This will offer the key players in this research 12 months of free Azure access. Grants will go to 40 organizations, with the winners announced this June 15th. “Each award provides up to 180,000 hours of cloud-computing time and 20 terabytes of cloud storage”, Microsoft details.

The company will also make FetchClimate available for adoption. This project is available to all researchers and is free to use. It is also a cloud-based system and Microsoft will be the provider of it for whoever wishes access.

All of this is explained in the announcement by way of example -- “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”.

While Microsoft takes a lot of flack for some of what it does, and some of that criticism is deserved, I doubt many would argue with giving aid to scientific research. The prospect of climate change is one that faces every single one of us and the need for answers grows increasingly greater.