CHARMe Paper

IEA data experts, Dr Debbie Clifford and Dr Jon Blower, have played a key role in introducing a new system that will speed up the work of data analysts and research around the world. They are two of the authors of a paper about CHARMe that has been accepted for publication by the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS).

The Paper follows an EU FP7- project, led by the University of Reading, to address how climate data analysts, scientists and researchers can reliably source connected data, commentary and research that best suits their needs, quickly and efficiently.

The project consortium has created a worldwide-recognisable icon – the CHARMe (pictured) – which shows when connected items are available and how many. It will save time by allowing users to judge whether a data set is appropriate for their purpose.


Dr Clifford, co-ordinator of Climate Data from Space Stakeholders Group (CDSSG), based at the IEA, and Dr Blower, Director of Science at the IEA, worked on the paper which is expected to be published soon, and will be available as Open Access.

Dr Clifford says: “It is based on Linked Data and is the first step to providing the tools to help users judge fitness for purpose of relevant data and sources. We have done the informatics research and initial software and systems development to demonstrate proof of concept.”

The other authors of the CHARMe Paper are Raquel Alegre, University College London, Victoria Bennett, Science and Technology Facilities Council, UK, Cecelia DeLuca, NESII/CIRES/NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, USA, Philip Kershaw, Science and Technology Facilities Council, UK, Christopher Lynnes, NASA, Goddard Space Flight Center, USA, Chris Mattmann, NASA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, USA, Rhona Phipps, University of Reading, and Iryna Rozum,  European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts.

 CHARMe in action   CHARMe_button_ON_new

CHARMe (Characterization of metadata to enable high-quality climate services) gives wider access to a range of supporting information, such as journal articles, technical reports or feedback on previous applications of the data. The capture and discovery of this commentary information, often created by data users rather than data providers, and currently not linked to the data themselves, has not been significantly addressed before.

CHARMe applies the principles of Linked Data and open web standards to associate, record, search and publish user-derived annotations so they can be read by users and automated systems.

CHARMe has developed a plugin that is simple to include in existing data-access portals that highlights the existence of commentary and allows users to make comments of their own. A third party data provider is “CHARMe-enabled” by integrating the JavaScript for the plugin in their website. The plugin code is freely available via the CHARMe repository on GitHub.

In addition, the project has developed advanced tools for exploring data and commentary in innovative ways, including an interactive data explorer and comparator (“CHARMe Maps”) and a tool for correlating climate time series with external ‘significant events’ (e.g. instrument failures or large volcanic eruptions) that affect the data quality.

Although the project focuses on climate science, the concepts are general and could be applied to other fields. All CHARMe system software is open-source, released under a liberal licence, permitting future projects to re-use the source code as they wish.

Read the CHARMe Paper at  See CHARMe in use at DWD’s website:  The significant events viewer is available at (simple registration required)

Download the CHARMe software from