An Introduction to dClimate: A Decentralized Network for Climate Data
By Sid Jha, Ben Andre, Philippe Heilberg, and Osho Jha
Today, we are proud to introduce the world to dClimate, a decentralized marketplace where climate data, models, and forecasts are standardized, monetized, and distributed.
Who Is dClimate For?
Those of us living in developed nations might take the importance of accurate local weather forecasting for granted. The only reason to check the weather forecast in some locations is so that you can make personal preparations: Do I need to carry an umbrella today? Do I need a jacket? Snow boots? But while we might use a weather forecasting app on our phones to make personal preparations in our daily lives, there are numerous local businesses, small family farms, multinational corporations, industries with exposure to the weather, and national governments that rely on sound forecasting, climate data, and models to make critical planning decisions at every juncture.
70% of businesses globally have some financial exposure to the weather. Around the world, and in some cases in the very communities where we live and work, we are already beginning to see the toll that volatile weather conditions can take on the physical and economic stability of households and businesses. Researchers at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research estimate that California’s devastating wildfires this past year could result in up to $10 billion in damages. Damages due to the impact of hurricanes are taking a greater toll each year on households, businesses, and public sector entities too, with last year’s damages projected to be in excess of $54 billion according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
Governments at every level need accurate forecasting and climate data to inform almost every major strategic planning and public policy decision they make. Every decision from how much money is allocated to defense and foreign policy budgets, to decisions about how to prepare food assistance programs in advance or determine the electricity needs of a given city are informed by climate data.
Local shipping and trucking companies rely on accurate forecasting in order to optimize routes around weather and ensure that they can deliver goods on time.
Construction companies need rain and wind forecasts to plan projects and avoid costly delays and building issues.
Professional sports leagues like Major League Baseball (MLB) require long-term, accurate forecasting models to plan their season schedule. The same is true for event companies that plan outdoor concerts and music festivals.
As the physical and economic costs associated with climate change continue to put a greater strain on communities throughout the world, the need for accurate, secure, and easily accessible and interpretable climate data increases exponentially. The bottom line is that demand for climate data is growing.
The Problem dClimate is Trying to Solve
Because so many different kinds of entities rely on accurate climate data, models, and forecasts to make decisions, there should be a common place where they all go to obtain this critically important information. But there isn’t. The climate data ecosystem as it exists today is fragmented and difficult to navigate for even the most sophisticated user.
There is no common marketplace where publishers of climate data, be they independent researchers or larger academic institutions, can go to monetize their work product. For consumers of climate data, ranging from casual to sophisticated and professional, there is no place where up-to-date, accurate data can be selected based upon a number of important factors, including location and the category of data, which can then be compared and contrasted based upon an independent skill rating assigned to the source. There is no Amazon for climate data.
We know how troubling the current state of the climate data ecosystem is because we rely on it.
The four of us are the co-founders and principal executive officers at Arbol, an insurtech platform for parametric products that are designed to help businesses build resilience against climate risk. Unlike traditional insurance products that use human adjustors to evaluate and assess damages and determine payouts, our platform is parametric, which means that we utilize objective, third-party metrics like publicly verifiable climate and weather data sources to determine payouts. We conceived of dClimate as an alternative to the current status quo of climate data. As a place where platforms like Arbol, and other businesses and entities who rely on this information can shop for the data they need in a standardized marketplace that empowers and benefits all users.
dClimate is the culmination of Arbol’s work in building a decentralized, blockchain based data network over the past two years. Arbol will be an anchor client for the network, using it to structure our parametric insurance and derivatives products. The way we think of dClimate is Amazon building out AWS for their own needs and then releasing it to the outside world due to its inherent utility. dClimate, similarly, is Arbol’s data infrastructure being launched as a standalone network. As the economic and social need for climate data grows, we believe dClimate can become the premier platform for businesses and organizations to retrieve data and prepare proactively for natural disasters.
dClimate’s mission is simple and straightforward: End the stagnation in the industry and bring increased access, lower costs, better security, better accuracy, and both wider and deeper data coverage — to the benefit of all participants. dClimate creates an open marketplace where all data and forecasts have impartial “skill scores’’ to make it easier for consumers to shop for climate data. The dClimate marketplace leverages Chainlink’s widely adopted oracle network for retrieving climate data and validating associated skill scores on-chain.
The algorithms for determining skill scores are proposed and voted on by the dClimate DAO (decentralized autonomous organization), and if approved by the community, get deployed as standalone Chainlink external adapters. Once these adapters are created, they are connected to Chainlink’s decentralized oracle network, which serves as a trusted and easy-to-integrate mechanism for validating and distributing data from publishers within the data marketplace. This allows data providers and forecasting entities to monetize their work and establish domain variable standards that make consuming climate data simple enough for even the most casual user.
dClimate is our solution to the inefficiencies that plague the climate data ecosystem. It is our solution for the businesses, farmers, multinational corporations, and governments who depend on this information to make important decisions. And it is our solution for the scientists, researchers, academics, and data scientists who have critically important climate research and data to contribute, but no place where it can be housed and properly utilized.
dClimate brings all of the stakeholders in the climate data ecosystem together under a modern architecture that supports data immutability and removes barriers to entry in the marketplace for both consumers and publishers.
About the Authors:
Sid Jha: Sid is the founder and CEO of Arbol Inc. and a founding partner of dClimate.
Ben Andre: Ben is a co-Founder of Arbol Inc. currently serving as its CTO. He is a founding partner of dClimate.
Philippe Heilberg: Philippe is a co-Founder of Arbol Inc. currently serving as its CFO and COO. He is a founding partner of dClimate.
Osho Jha: Osho is a co-Founder of Arbol Inc. currently serving as its Chief Data Scientist. He is a founding partner of dClimate.