Rapid increases in high performance computing are feeding the development of larger and more complex data sets in climate research, which sets the stage for so-called “big data” analysis challenges. However, conventional climate analysis techniques are inadequate in dealing with the complexities of today’s data. In this paper, we describe and demonstrate a visual analytics system, called the Exploratory Data analysis ENvironment (EDEN), with specific application to the analysis of complex earth system simulation data sets. EDEN represents the type of interactive visual analysis tools that are necessary to transform data into insight, thereby improving critical comprehension of earth system processes. In addition to providing an overview of EDEN, we describe real-world studies using both point ensembles and global Community Land Model Version 4 (CLM4) simulations.