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Data Rescue

The analysis of past and present climate change requires in-situ data. In an effort to fill in data gaps in space and time, organisations all over the world are engaged in data rescue projects. Even in modern-day Europe, some historical records remain accessible only through inaccessible paper archives. The EUMETNET Data Rescue activity was launched with the goals of scouting for new permanent stations, keeping tabs on data rescue efforts across Europe, and helping participants by way of information sharing and making international connections. In doing so, it highlighted the importance of continuing efforts like data rescue. Throughout this paper, you will learn about the data rescue efforts being made in four different EUMETNET countries, each of which is concentrating on a unique set of priorities and is at a unique stage in the process. Catalonia has a different historical background than Austria, Croatia, or Slovenia, all of which share a similarity in their meteorological network’s history. Nevertheless, the challenges of data rescue are universal. As a result, the chosen nations will serve as a good microcosm of the issues and solutions discussed at EUMETNET conferences. This paper’s goal is to shed light on the various approaches to data rescue, as well as the initiatives that are currently underway. It also highlights the significance of cooperation in data rescue and provides some examples of potential partnerships.


The urgency of extending existing time series as far back into the past as possible has increased in response to rising interest in climate change and the interpretation of current changes in light of past climate developments (Kwok, 2017). This exercise is also helpful for evaluating the efficiency of climate models and enhancing previously released reanalysis products (Brunet & Jones, 2011). Therefore, DARE became more and more important to climate departments at National Meteorological Services (NMS).

Although DARE initiatives are currently being carried out all over the world, including in places like northern Africa (Brunet et al., 2013), Asia (Williamson et al., 2015), and Australia (Ashcroft et al., 2016), it was found that there are still many data void spots when looking for long-term series in Europe. DARE has been motivated by a number of recent projects and initiatives across Europe, including EMULATE (European and North Atlantic daily to Multidecadal climate variability; Brunet & Jones, 2011,, ALOCLIM (Austrian Long Term Climate; Auer et al., 2001), HISTALP (Historical Instrumental Climatological Surface Time Series of the Greater Alpine Region;

Together, the European Union’s Copernicus framework and the World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) focus on this issue, and as a result, a set of shared actions has developed, bringing together the knowledge of many experts in data recovery to aid those with less expertise in the field. Among these are the World Meteorological Organization’s MEDARE project (Brunet et al., 2013; and the Atlantic Climate Research Expedition (Compo et al., 2011;

Most NMSs share the same primary challenges, including a lack of resources (both human and material), external funding (or knowledge of how to obtain it), and digitization infrastructure (i.e., scanners). Additional challenges in saving long-term time series arise from shifts in governmental priorities during the course of climatic observation periods at multiple locations.

To further understand how long-term series should be made more accessible and communication amongst European institutions about data rescue bolstered, the EUMETNET Climate Programme’s EUMETNET-DARE Activity was launched in 2013. Using channels of communication like the EUMETNET Data Management Workshops and the corresponding online portal (, it brought together diverse parties with a common interest in data rescue. Centennial series and those located in mountainous regions were singled out for special attention. Expanded access to foreign data traded with archives has made researching the past of weather stations more simpler.

EUMETNET has been active in this field for the past six years, and while the framework has shifted its focus, the emphasis on climate activities has not. Therefore, the exchange and rescue of climate data remain ongoing efforts. The I-DARE activity (; Brönnimann et al., 2019; Siegmund, 2014) maintains a database of up-to-date details about active data rescue initiatives.

This article provides a summary of the DARE activities conducted in four countries as part of the EUMETNET activity, illustrating a range of results. Although the four nations have shared comparable issues, each has taken a unique approach: Catalonia prioritised the creation of a platform for managing salvaged digital information and the search for data from sources outside the archives of national meteorological agencies. When it came to digitising and ensuring the quality of its archival climate data, Austria’s focus was squarely on that country’s own climatic data sheets from the past. For historical reasons, Slovenia adopted Catalonia’s methods and began concentrating on the search for data hidden away in the archives of other meteorological services. Since Croatia’s data rescue efforts began later, it has benefited from the knowledge gained by other countries.


Station networks tend to expand in response to market demand and existing infrastructure investments. Figures 1 and 2 show data on how the total number of stations and the density of the network of observatories in the four regions changed by the end of the nineteenth century. The management of weather stations is affected by political events, which in turn determines which archives store the data. Observation networks in these four countries are managed by a wide variety of different institutions, as shown in Figure 3. Table 1 provides a glimpse into the background of data rescue efforts in the four countries.


Time series of the total number of observing stations used by ARSO (blue), DHMZ (green), SMC/AEMET (red), and ZAMG (black) meteorological networks. The number of manned stations is represented by the solid line, while the number of automated sites is represented by the dotted line. The effects of World War II, which began in the case of Catalonia four years earlier as a result of the Spanish Civil War, result in a general decrease of stations between 1940 and 1946. (1936-1939). Peaks in the number of stations reached their highest levels around the years 1895 and 1970. Between 1980 and 1990 is when automation first started.

As of 1895–1896, a station network had been established. This number is comprised of mostly monthly reporting sites, though key stations provide daily or sub-daily updates. The black bars represent data from the Austrian yearbooks, the orange bars from the Hungarian yearbooks, the green bars from the Bosnian yearbooks, and the green bars from the hydrological institute yearbooks for Slovenian stations (blue). There are currently 34 measuring sites in the Catalonian station network (red stations), most of which are located along the coast but some are also located on islands such as Mallorca and Menorca.

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