Almost 50 years ago, the World Data Center (WDC) system was founded through the International Council for Scientific Unions (ICSU) in order to archive and distribute data collected from the observational programs of the 1957–1958 International Geophysical Year. Originally established in the United States, Europe, Russia, and Japan, the WDC system has since expanded to 51 centers in 12 countries. Its current holdings are transdisciplinary and include a wide range of solar, geophysical, environmental, and human dimensions data covering timescales ranging from seconds to millennia. These data provide the baseline information for research in many ICSU disciplines, but especially for monitoring changes in the geosphere and biosphere.
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