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Data on the Global Environment

Updated: 1 October 2014

Below is a list of selected on-line data bases, EXCEL tables and pdf-documents for the study of global environmental change.

Newly listed data sites:

Transboundary movement of hazardous wastes and their disposal (Added 1 October 2014)


Ambient (Outdoor) Air Pollution in Cities Database (World Health Organization)

The database contains results of ambient (outdoor) air pollution monitoring from almost 1600 cities in 91 countries. Air quality is represented by annual mean concentration of fine particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5, i.e. particles smaller than 10 or 2.5 microns). The database covers the period from 2008 to 2013, with the majority of values for the years 2011 and 2012. The database aims to be representative for human exposure, and therefore primarily captures measurements from monitoring stations located in urban background, residential, commercial and mixed areas..

Environmental Data Explorer (United Nations Environment Programme - UNEP)

The Environmental Data Explorer is the authoritative source for data sets used by UNEP and its partners in the Global Environment Outlook (GEO) report and other integrated environment assessments. Its online database holds more than 500 different variables, as national, sub-regional, regional and global statistics or as geospatial data sets (maps), covering themes like Freshwater, Population, Forests, Emissions, Climate, Disasters, Health and GDP. Display them on-the-fly as maps, graphs, data tables or download the data in different formats.

Environment Data and Statistics (The World Bank)

Environmental data search by topic, country and region or income group. Data and indicators are available for agriculture, forest and biodiversity, energy, emissions and pollution, water and sanitation, and on environmental health.

Environmental Indicators (United Nations Statistics Division - UNSD)

UNSD Environmental Indicators disseminate global environment statistics on ten indicator themes compiled from a wide range of data sources. The themes and indicator tables were selected based on the current demands for international environmental statistics and the availability of internationally comparable data. Indicator tables, charts and maps with relatively good quality and coverage across countries, as well as links to other international sources, are provided under each theme.
Statistics on Water and Waste are based on official statistics supplied by national statistical offices and/or ministries of environment (or equivalent institutions) in response to the biennial UNSD/UNEP Questionnaire on Environment Statistics, complemented with comparable statistics from OECD and Eurostat, and water resources data from FAO Aquastat. Statistics on other themes were compiled by UNSD from other international sources. In a few cases, UNSD has made some calculations in order to derive the indicators. However, generally no adjustments have been made to the values received from the source. UNSD is not responsible for the quality, completeness/availability, and validity of the data.

Global Change Master Directory (NASA, USA)

The Global Change Master Directory holds more than 29,000 Earth science data set and service descriptions, which cover subject areas within the Earth and environmental sciences. The directory also offers online authoring tools to providers of data and services, facilitating the capability to make their products available to the Earth science community. Users may perform searches through the Directoryís website using controlled keywords, free-text searches, map/date searches or any combination of these. Users may also search or refine a search by data center, location, instrument, platform, project, or temporal/spatial resolution.

Data sets are available for agriculture, the biosphere, human dimensions, the paleo-climate, sun-earth interactions, the atmosphere, climate indicators, land surface, solid earth, the terrestrial hydrosphere, biological classifications, the cryosphere, the oceans and on spectral engineering.

Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal (Basel Convention, UNEP, Switzerland)

The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal is the most comprehensive global environmental agreement on hazardous and other wastes. The Convention has 175 Parties and aims to protect human health and the environment against the adverse effects resulting from the generation, management, transboundary movements and disposal of hazardous and other wastes. The Basel Convention came into force in 1992.

Data sources for the year 2003 (Excel)
Data sources for the year 2004 (Excel)
Data sources for the year 2005 (Excel)
Data sources for the year 2006 (Excel)
Data sources for the year 2007 (Excel)
Data sources for the year 2008 (Excel)
Data sources for the year 2009 (Excel)

National Climatic Data Center (NOAA, USA)

NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) is responsible for preserving, monitoring, assessing, and providing public access to the Nation's treasure of climate and historical weather data and information.

Climate.gov: Science & information for a climate-smart nation (NOAA, USA)

NOAA Climate.gov website is a source of timely and authoritative scientific data and information about climate. Their goals are to promote public understanding of climate science and climate-related events, to make data products and services easy to access and use, to provide climate-related support to the private sector and the Nationís economy, and to serve people making climate-related decisions with tools and resources that help them answer specific questions.


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William D. Nordhaus (2013): The Climate Casino: Risk, Uncertainty, and Economics for a Warming World. Yale University Press.

McKenzie Funk (2014): Windfall: The Booming Business of Global Warming. Penguin Press


Elizabeth Kolbert (2006): Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change. Bloomsbury.


Michael E. Mann (2013): The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines.


A. W. Montford (2010): The Hockey Stick Illusion. Stacey International.


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Hadley Centre of Climatic Research (Met Office, Exeter, UK)

The Met Office Hadley Centre, based at the Met Office's Exeter HQ, provides world-class guidance on the science of climate change and is the primary focus in the UK for climate science. Its staff make significant contributions to a variety of climate science reports, including the Assessment Report of the Intergovern-mental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The centre's climate projections were also the basis for the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change in 2006.

NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies - Climate Datasets (NASA, USA)

The NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) is a laboratory in the Earth Sciences Division (ESD) of National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). The ESD is part of GSFC's Sciences and Exploration Directorate. A key objective of GISS research is prediction of atmospheric and climate changes in the 21st century. The research combines analysis of comprehensive global datasets with global models of atmospheric, land surface, and oceanic processes. Study of past climate change on Earth and of other planetary atmospheres serves as a useful tool in assessing our general understanding of the atmosphere and its evolution..

Climate Change: Evidence & Causes (National Academy of Sciences, USA / The Royal Society, UK)

Written by a UK-US team of leading climate scientists and reviewed by climate scientists and others, the publication is intended as a brief, readable reference document for decision makers, policy makers, educators, and other individuals seeking authoritative information on the some of the questions that continue to be asked. The publication makes clear what is well-established and where understanding is still developing.

European Environment Agency (European Union, Copenhagen)

The European Environment Agency's (EEA) task is to provide sound, independent information on the environment. The agency is a major information source for those involved in developing, adopting, implementing and evaluating environmental policy, and also the general public. Currently, the EEA has 33 member countries. The EEA runs the European environment information and observation network (Elonet).

Environmental Datasets
Global and European temperature - August 2014 Assessment

Disaster Occurrence and Impact by Country (Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters - CRED, Universite Catholoque de Louvain, Belgium)

The EM-DAT database contains data and statistics on natural and technological disaster occurrence and their impact for the different periods: 1900-2010, 1970-2010 and 1991-2010. They are all based on the data available at the OFDA/CRED International Disasters Database (EM-DAT). The Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) has arranged and provided such information according to country and thematic aggregations, as requested by the UN/ISDR secretariat.

Comment: Go to "advanced search" to download the data for all countries of the world in one step.

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Copyright © 2014, 2015 by Gerhard K. Heilig. All rights reserved.

Updated: 20 May 2015