Climate and environmental data may be separated into two classes, large amounts of well-structured data and smaller amounts of less-structured data. The large amounts are produced by numerical climate models and by satellites, handling data in the order of magnitude of 100 Tbytes for the climate modelling sites and 1000 Tbytes for the recording and processing of satellite data. Smaller amounts of poorly structured data are the environmental data, which come mainly from observations and measurements. Present-day problems in data managment are connected with a variety of data types.
FAO has a long history of involvement with climate related activities such as agroclimatological studies. Currently, the main activities on agroclimatic databases and agrometeorology, using data both from satellite and in situ observations include: (i) management of the climatic database for about 25,000 stations worldwide (FAOCLIM); (ii) production of digital maps (at various levels) based on the climatic database; (iii) compilation of a database of African sub-national crop statistics; (iv) real-time monitoring of food crop conditions and yield forecasting, in particular for African countries; (v) fulfillment of specific requests which require the analysis of climatic data to be integrated with socio-economic variables. Together with ARTEMIS, AGROMET is providing essential value-added analysis and related information products for FAOs operational GIEWS on Food and Agriculture.