• 28 September 2018

Big problem that was big data. A blog by Obed Ogega


Remember days when one had to spend so much money to buy big capacity hard-disks to store weather and climate data? Then poor internet connectivity would make it impossible to download huge data-sets for use in your climate data analysis? And after all the trouble, you finally get a hold of your climate data, stored in a couple of external hard disks ready for your climate data analysis. Then the devil, in form of a virus, decides to invade your space with unimaginable ruthlessness. And in a split second, just like that, your precious little hard disk is gone. With all your climate data. Gone!

It’s difficulties like these that, I bet, made climate science research unfashionable for many students. I mean why on earth would you want to subject yourself to such a potentially heart-breaking experience when you could do just as fine in many other, and often sexier, career options out there?

Consequently, climate science was, for a long time, perceived to be a preserve of a few abnormal guys stuck in some less-than-amazing research institutions (at least from my part of the world), and with zero social life. Well, guess what? Climate science research is now one of the sexiest career options in town! I mean look at these cool guys in the image above who attended the just concluded #ERA4CS #climateservices4users Summer School 2018, aren’t they lovely? Yes, they are some of the greatest minds in climate science research from around the world!

Thanks to great guys such as @OphidiaBigData doing some great stuff aimed at facilitating the access and use of #BigData, you no longer need those bulky and expensive external hard disks and high capacity laptops. All you need is login-in to a platform from the comfort of your home, vacation, office, ..wherever you may be. And with a few words typed in your computer device, you can access loads of data, do your analysis, and export your plots and statistics for use in your blogging, journal articles, or just to inform decision making! Better still, you can actually write some computer instructions (script), launch the process, and go for a walk in the park to meditate and think of great ideas!

The ERA4CS #climateservices4users Summer School 2018 was held at the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR) in the magnificent city of Pisa, Italy. Very useful content, great facilitators, and an amazing audience. I leave the Summer School with more knowledge, useful contacts, and more energized for my doctoral studies in Climate Change and Sustainability, at Kenyatta University, Kenya. My employer, the African Academy of Sciences (AAS, @AASciences) is just about to launch an exciting postdoctoral fellowship scheme called Climate Research for Development (#CR4D). CR4D, like other AAS postdoctoral fellowship schemes, seeks to build a critical mass of African research leaders well-equipped to independently lead science programmes at local and international levels. I am quite excited to be part of the team running the CR4D scheme, as well as being part of the great institution that is @AASciences.
Watch this space for more blog articles regarding the amazing insights that came out of the very informative #ERA4CS #climateservices4users Summer School 2018. Meanwhile, I just initiated some data analysis process on my laptop and I will log out now to go check if the #LeaningTowerOfPisa is still leaning.




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