Roy Jenne—A Mountain of Data

Imagine how much data was collected between 1948 and 1998 from weather stations, radiosondes, balloons, ships, buoys, and satellites. Now imagine those data in varying states of disintegration, in incompatible formats, and with gaps and inconsistencies. Between 1991 and 1998 a group at NCAR and the National Centers for Environmental Prediction collected, organized, performed quality control on, and reanalyzed all of these observations to create a new global dataset for 28 vertical levels of the atmosphere—generating, in all, 2.5 trillion bits of data. Heading the project was Roy Jenne, who combined the skills of a detective with those of a patient and skilled scientist and curator.