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CHELSA - Climatologies at high resolution for the earth's land surface areas

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The CHELSA project has been funded by several sources ranging from third party funders such as the Swiss National Science Foundation, BiodivERsa, as well as directly from several institutions. The development of CHELSA has never been funded directly, but usually through specific projects in need of high resolution global, or european wide climate data.

Example applications of the CHELSA data

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“Unless humanity learns a great deal more about global biodiversity and moves quickly to protect it, we will soon lose most of the species composing life on Earth.” – E.O. Wilson (1929–2021). The Half-Earth Project Map is a high-resolution, dynamic world map and decision-support tool that guides where place-based species conservation activities are needed the most to save the bulk of Earth’s species, including humans. Predictions of species richness and species occurrences at high resolution are based on CHELSA climate data in collaboration with Map of Life and the Yale University.
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The Hydro4U project will adapt European technologies to Central Asia, demonstrating viability in a forward-looking cross-border water-food-energy-climate nexus. Price-competitiveness will be assured through design alterations based on a prior analysis of unexploited sustainable small-scale hydropower potential in Central Asia. Hydro4U will install and assess two demo plants: an eco-friendly low-head run-of-river plant and a medium-head plant, both with radically reduced planning and construction costs that do not compromise efficiency. These solutions will be fit-for-purpose based on innovation, modularization, meaning a radically simplified structural concept, with longevity, eco-compatibility and socio-political acceptance. The CHELSA data is used for current and future modelling of hydrological processes in the project in collaboration with the hydrosolutions GmbH in Zurich, Switzerland.
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CHELSA is used in combination with machine learning-based image recognition to identify more than 4'000 Swiss plant species from georeferenced pictures in collaboration with Info Flora. In this application, the CHELSA data is giving additional information to the algorithm on the environment in which a plant is growing to not only distinguish species by their morphology, but also by their ecology. The functionality of the algorithm will be provided in a cellphone app in 2022.
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ISIMIP is a community-driven climate-impacts modelling initiative aimed at contributing to a quantitative and cross-sectoral synthesis of the differential impacts of climate change, including the associated uncertainties. ISIMIP offers a consistent framework for cross-sectoral, cross-scale modelling of the impacts of climate change. The key goal of ISIMIP is to contribute to the comprehensive (cross-sectoral) understanding of the impacts of politically and scientifically-relevant climate-change scenarios. CHELSA provides the high-resolution data and downscaling algorithms for the ISIMIP initative.
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Restor is a science-based open data platform to support and connect the global restoration movement. It is accelerating the global restoration movement by connecting everyone, everywhere to local restoration. Restor connects people to scientific data, supply chains, funding, and each other to increase the impact, scale, and sustainability of restoration efforts. CHELSA is used to give information on the current and future environmental niche of >30.000 tree species to Restor.
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sPlot is the largest repository for plant community data in the world, containing almost 2 million records with full lists of plant species co-occurring in small areas (plots). The facility was first established as a working group funded by sDiv, then assumed as an iDiv research platform. By integrating national and continental vegetation databases, sPlot aims at understanding global patterns in plant diversity across facets, biomes and scales. CHELSA is linked to the sPlot database and provides environmental data for all the plots contained in sPlot.
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The Chilean mega-drought is ongoing since 2010, and has already severely impacted the Chilean economy. Currently a new drought observatory is being created to better mitigate the effects of droughts in Chile. The Multi-scale Drought Observatory is scheduled to start operating in 2023. The first stage of its development will consist of gathering field climate information from the Undersecretariat of Agriculture and the Chilean Meteorological Directorate, among other partners, as well as public satellite data. Once the data is collected, the team will establish a soil moisture monitoring network in the Aconcagua River basin, select indicators for agricultural and ecological drought monitoring, and implement an economic impact assessment model.