RENO, Nev. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) -- The University of Nevada teamed up with UNLV and the Desert Research Institute in 2008 to change the way scientists study the climate in the silver state. Now they've got 13 measuring stations and a year's worth of data, and they're looking to expand their project.
"The ideal thing for a network like this would be that it would be running for a decade or decades," said University of Nevada Geography Professor Scott Mensing.
Mensing said that gives scientists a bigger, clearer picture - which they're updating online every minute for everyone to see.
"When you have longer-term triends, that's when you're going to see what are anomalies versus what are shifts in trends," Mensind said.
For example, whether last year's dry winter and this year's below average one are random off-seasons or a sign of climate change.
"If you don't understand what the variation is in the system, it's really hard to know what to plan for," Mensing said.
Their data network could help plan for everything from emergencies to routine water management.
"How much goes to urban areas, how much goes to agricultural areas, how much water storage capacity we need," Mensing said.
He said prior to their network scientists had blind spots in their data collection.
"Our snow and our water comes from these mountain areas, but most of our climate stations are down in the valley," Mensing said.
Now they're covering everything from the sagebrush to the top of the forest, and they want to work with other researchers to combine their climate data with information on floods, fires and earthquakes.
"It makes it much, much easier for the public or anyone else to find this information and it also makes it possible to analyze these in ways that you hadn't thought before because they're all there in one database," Mensing said.
Mensing said they want to get other agencies involved and put a plan in place within three years to get the multi-system database up and running.
To see the climate change data for yourself, click here