"FACTS" provides tools and data for studying weather and climate variability

Sample output from FACTS: A map showing correlation between monthly precipitation and Nino 3.4 index

The FACility for Weather & Climate AssessmenTS (FACTS) is a free online resource developed at the Physical Sciences Laboratory (PSL) that offers analysis tools, climate model ensembles, and observational/reanalysis datasets that can be used to address a variety of problems related to weather and climate variability and its causes. In a new article published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, CIRES and NOAA researchers with PSL and their coauthor provide an overview of the available datasets, visualization capabilities, and data dissemination techniques provided by FACTS. Examples are given of its interactive analysis and visualization feature to explore questions related to climate variability and trends. The authors also share a few of the published studies that used data downloaded from FACTS to illustrate the types of research that can be pursued with its unique collection of datasets.

FACTS was initially designed to support weather and climate research within PSL, but as the datasets and analysis capabilities grew over time, it became apparent that this tool would be useful to the general weather and climate research community. Within PSL, the data and tools have supported a number of peer-reviewed studies and countless investigations into emerging weather and climate variability-related phenomena such as climate change, drought, and flooding. Beyond PSL, researchers have used FACTS datasets to diagnose the forced response to observed sea surface temperatures, the climate change contribution to extreme weather-related events, and the impact of observed Arctic sea ice loss on the weather/climate system. During the COVID-19 shutdown, it has been an invaluable tool for PSL researchers to continue productive investigations into weather and climate variability since it provides external access to the data and tools.

The FACTS data archive and interactive visualization tools allow users to quickly investigate factors in extreme climate and weather events and perform more detailed analyses. This capability is a resource for the entire weather and climate community to investigate the cause and effect linkages to occurrences of extreme subseasonal-to-interannual states, and to better understand regime shifts and long-term trends.

Authors of "Facility for Weather and Climate Assessments (FACTS): A Community Resource for Assessing Weather and Climate Variability" are Donald Murray, Andrew Hoell, Martin Hoerling, Judith Perlwitz, Xiao-Wei Quan, Dave Allured, Tao Zhang, Jon Eischeid, Catherine Smith, Joseph Barsugli, Chris Kreutzer, and Robert Webb of PSL, and Jeff McWhirter of GEODE Systems.