ClimateWatch

An initiative of Earthwatch Institute

ClimateWatch now available on the Atlas of Living Australia

April 2014

By Linden Ashcroft

You can now download and analyse ClimateWatch sightings through the national Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) web portal. Frog, barnacle and crustacean observations from 2009 until November 2013 have already been added to the ALA database, with all 50,000 ClimateWatch sightings becoming available soon.

ALA is the Australian Government’s online biodiversity database, and it provides free access to over 41 million records of plants and animals from museums, herbaria and observations projects. Adding ClimateWatch records to the ALA database now makes them freely available to be downloaded and analysed by anyone, anywhere.

To ensure the quality of the ClimateWatch dataset, we have enlisted the help of species experts from around Australia to check the sightings for errors. Over the coming months, our species advisors will be poring over the sightings looking for suspicious records. These could include a mis-identification of species, the incorrect latitude and longitude, or life cycles that are out of season.

A ClimateWatch Motorbike Frog (Litoria moorei) sighting submitted in April 2013. See the full record on ALA here.

You can explore the ClimateWatch database from the ALA website. There are lots of great tools that you can use to plot the data on a map and compare ClimateWatch sightings with other collections within the Atlas. If you see any suspicious sightings, you can even flag them yourself for us to check out.

An example of the ClimateWatch data in ALA. Each species is represented by a different colour. Access the ClimateWatch dataset at http://collections.ala.org.au/public/show/dr1010.

We will be updating the ALA database every six months or so, enabling scientists and members of the public to use the data and learn more about the biodiversity and phenology in their area. At the moment, all ClimateWatch sightings are anonymous due to privacy reasons. For future updates we hope to include the name of each ClimateWatcher, so you can tell which sightings are yours. Stay tuned for these and more exciting developments.