Data synthesis and databases

One result of PAGES and PEP transect research and other related research on Holocene climate change has been the production of large amounts of Holocene paleoclimatic data. The systematic compilation of Holocene paleoclimatic data started in the COHMAP project (COHMAP Members 1988; Wright et al. 1993) and has been continued as part of the PAGES research agenda (Anderson 1995; PAGES 1998; Eakin et al. 2003).

It has long been recognized that meaningful and rigorous synthesis needs access to primary data (site details, chronologies, proxy records, etc.) and hence there is a major need for well-designed and well-maintained databases. Despite this need, research funding for database development and maintenance continues to be difficult to obtain, even for well-established and internationally recognized centers such as the World Data Center for Paleoclimatology, the World Data Center for Marine Environmental Sciences (PANGAEA), and MEDIAS-France.

The international scientific community has a responsibility not only to deposit their data in major databases but also to do all they can to support such databases and to encourage future international collaboration and funding for database development (Alverson and Eakin 2001; Anon 2001; Dittert et al. 2001).

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