High-Integrity Scientific Research

Our Impact

As the world’s only independent, non-governmental source of environmental data and analysis, our impact is fundamental: Our global warming, air pollution, and COVID-19 research informs high-level policy decisions, supports academic research, provides inputs for education, and serves as an impartial source of data and research for the world’s leading media outlets. 

In 2020 we began looking at the impact of the novel coronavirus through our lens of impartial and independent scientific inquiry. As worldwide data and information become available we are collecting and analyzing the impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic and its relationship to global warming, weather, climate, air quality, economic impact, and health. Our insights on these topics are being sought and, in alignment with our mission, we aim to provide the highest quality independent investigations possible on these and related topics. 

Open-source from the outset, Berkeley Earth’s data sets are differentiated by a more flexible, inclusive approach for analyzing temperature observations, allowing us to incorporate data from a greater number of the world’s temperature stations. Created around our values of independence, impartiality, scientific excellence, and open-source science, our unique handling of interpolation and systematic biases helps to ensure the most detailed picture of climate change. Trusted by the UN IPCC in its 2018 and 2019 Special Reports on Global Warming, and cited in more than 1,800 scholarly and academic papers, our surface temperature data sets are foundational to research, policy, and education. We continue to update our data sets monthly, ensuring open-source access to the highest-quality global temperature data.

Berkeley Earth scientists have published peer-reviewed papers on global warming trends, methods of statistical analysis, the health impacts of air pollution, and the rise in ocean temperature. Our monthly temperature updates present global temperature and climate trends in highly accessible, visual representations. As of 2020 our mission expanded to include research on the relationship between COVID-19 and climate trends. Our research, papers, reports, and other publications represent a crucial, independent, and impartial voice in the global conversation on climate and temperature trends. 

Our work on air pollution began in 2014, when we recognized that air quality was quickly becoming one of the leading public health concerns worldwide. In a 2015 paper we were able to prove that air pollution causes more than 1.6 million deaths annually in China, with a later article finding that the air quality on an average day in Beijing was the equivalent of smoking four cigarettes. Currently, our air pollution map is the world’s only source for searchable, historic air pollution data, as well as providing real-time snapshots of AQI, PM2.5 concentrations, and other air quality indicators worldwide. 

Regularly cited by The New York Times, Bloomberg, The World Economic Forum, MIT Technology Review, and others, Berkeley Earth’s independent data and analysis serve as a source of high-quality, accurate, and impartial climate data and analysis for the world’s leading media outlets. Berkeley Earth’s data set was used as a source of data for the Washington Post’s 2020 Pulitzer-Prize winning series on climate change, 2°C:Beyond the Limit. Through our trusted relationship with the world’s leading media outlets we are able to share our findings with millions of readers around the world, amplifying our global reach and influence. 

The highly accessible nature of our open-source research and data allows our impact to expand beyond the scientific, policy, and media communities. We created our Skeptics Guide to Climate Change to address the common objections of climate skeptics in an accessible, evidence-based manner. In June of 2020 Paraguay-based fashion designer Emma Viedma, in conjunction with World Wildlife Fund Paraguay, transformed Berkeley Earth’s data visualizations into The Global Warming Collection, couture pieces designed to raise awareness of global warming . Graphic designers Amaury Martiny and Marcello Coelho used Berkeley Earth’s research on air pollution and cigarette equivalence to inform their “Sh**t I Smoke!” App, a highly engaging, user-friendly app that presents local air quality in terms of cigarettes smoked, creating urgency and context around this crucial issue. And our surface temperature data set is used by data science students worldwide on Kaggle, a data science learning platform, providing valuable climate analysis experience to thousands of independent and institutional students alike. 

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