Wired Science Blog has an interesting post up about the increase in wave height around the world and particularly at a surfing spot in the US northwest reported at this years American Geophysical Union meeting. The key excerpt from the post that I want to focus on is the following:
“This is high quality data and you didn’t have enough data to do this kind of analysis until very recently,” Ruggiero said.
This is a great example of data driven science, where the availability of data (in this case from a buoy) leads to new hypotheses and new theories. This approach to science was a big topic at the e-Science conference last week as relies fundamentally on IT. Furthermore, one of the interesting things to note was that after the discovery this change in wave height in selected locations, researchers wanted even more data from around the globe.
As scientists increasingly rely on data from multiple sources furnished from around the globe it becomes vital that the mechanisms are there to easily find out where the data is coming from.