Even though the calendar year of 2015 only constituted a single twelve-month span, the earth science data activities of the NASA Goddard Earth Sciences Data and Information Services Center (GES DISC) spanned decades of data, from the 1970s to the present day. During the past year, GES DISC staff were engaged in developing a new version of its noted Giovanni data system, and in improving the performance and reliability of the storage and distribution of its rapidly increasing data volumes. At the same time, the GES DISC was also rescuing data from Nimbus missions that were launched and orbited the earth more than 40 years ago.
During the past more than two decades, as the study of and increased understanding of the earth’s interconnected and interdependent “spheres” – the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and cryosphere – became increasingly important, the GES DISC provided updated data sets, innovative tools, scientific insight, and expert user assistance. This heritage led to one of this past year’s outstanding milestones, when the GES DISC began operation as the NASA data center for ozone and related atmospheric data, including data from the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership’s Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS). The GES DISC also initiated a collaboration with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Sounder Science Team to operate a Science Investigator-led Processing System (SIPS) for data from several sounding instruments, including the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) and the Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS).
So, as 2016 begins, here is a look back at some of the outstanding GES DISC accomplishments in 2015. (Click on the link to go directly to a short description of each highlight.)
- GES DISC increased its ozone data collection, now including data from the Suomi NPP OMPS. In addition, the Sounder SIPS began its co-location at the GES DISC in collaboration with the JPL Sounder Team
- On July 24, 2015, the GES DISC archive surpassed 1 Petabyte (Pb).
- Important new meteorology and hydrology data sets were archived and released: GPM IMERG, with half-hourly resolution; MERRA-2 meteorological reanalysis; GLDAS Version 2; and NEWS Web Climatology Version 1.0.
- OCO-2 carbon dioxide (CO2) data became available from the GES DISC.
- First MEaSUREs 2012 project data became available: SO2 by Krotkov.
- Data Rods came online.
- Giovanni-4 became the operational Giovanni system; 234 Giovanni-related 2015 publications were compiled.
- 72,300 files (from nine Nimbus instrument recovered data sets) were made available to the public.
- The storage area network was upgraded to a fully redundant configuration, which allows the GES DISC to sustain the growth of demand on its data products from end users with less downtime.
- TCTE solar irradiance data and MLS Version 004 data sets were released.
GES DISC increased its ozone data collection, now including data from the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) Ozone Mapping Profile Suite (OMPS). In addition, the Sounder SIPS began its co-location at the GES DISC in collaboration with the JPL Sounder Team.
The GES DISC has a long history of archiving ozone data from NASA missions, starting with the Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) on Nimbus 7. It has also been the designated data center for a primary instrument on the Aqua satellite, the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS). The GES DISC history of excellence in data support for these data categories led to its designation as the data center for ozone data and sounder data, the latter in collaboration with the Sounder Science Team at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. This designation required the creation of two Science Investigator-led Processing Systems (SIPS) for ozone and sounder data, which began operation in 2015.
Image: The OMPS instrument on Suomi NPP is shown as an inset to an image of a dust storm off the coasts of northern Africa and southern Europe.
On July 24, 2015, the GES DISC archive surpassed 1 Petabyte (Pb).
Yes, a petabyte (1 x 1015 bytes, also known as a million gigabytes) is a lot of data. The GES DISC achieved this data storage mark for all of its NASA earth science data on July 24, 2015.
Important new meteorology and hydrology data sets were archived and released: GPM IMERG, with half-hourly resolution; MERRA-2 meteorological reanalysis; GLDAS Version 2; and NEWS WEB Climatology Version 1.0.
The GES DISC made data from the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission available to the public, including data at half-hourly resolution. The data set, named IMERG (Integrated Multi-satellitE Retrievals for GPM), can be acquired from the GES DISC data system and visualized with Giovanni. The GES DISC also brought online Version 2 of the Modern Era Retrospective-analysis for Research and Applications data set (MERRA-2), the Global Land Data Assimilation System (GLDAS) Version 2, and the NASA Energy and Water cycle Study (NEWS) Water and Energy Budget (WEB) climatological data Version 1.0.
Images: GPM IMERG Early Run data show three typhoons (Linfa, Chan-Hom, and Ningka) in the Pacific Ocean. The Land Data Assimilation System is a multi-organization modeling effort.
OCO-2 atmospheric CO2 data became available from the GES DISC.
Atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) data from the Orbiting Carbon Observatory – 2 (OCO-2) became available to the public in late March. These OCO-2 data were full-physics Level 2 retrievals of column CO2 concentrations, a unique and major addition to NASA’s collections of satellite observations of atmospheric CO2 .
Image: Still image from an animation of OCO-2 atmospheric CO2 concentration data. The highest CO2 concentrations are shown in red.
First MEaSUREs 2012 project data became available: SO2 by Krotkov.
Sulfur dioxide (SO2) emitted by volcanoes is an important climate factor, because it blocks and reflects solar radiation that would otherwise contribute to the warming of the earth’s surface. The Making Earth System Data Records for Use in Research Environments (MEaSUREs) Program SO2 project headed by Dr. Nikolay Krotkov has updated the algorithms used to estimate volcanic SO2 emissions and applied these algorithms to SO2 data acquired by the Ozone Measuring Instrument (OMI) and OMPS. These MEaSUREs project data are available at the GES DISC.
Image: MODIS image of the ash plume from the eruption of Rinjani volcano, November 4, 2015. Compared to ash emissions, SO2 from volcanoes can be transported in the atmosphere for much longer distances and can persist in the atmosphere for much longer durations. Both attributes enhance the effect of SO2 on the climate.
Data Rods came online.
One solution to the disparity between how NASA stores data (as time-step arrays or maps) and how the hydrology and similar point-time-series-oriented communities prefer to access NASA data is the creation of data sets composed of data rods. Data rods are generated from satellite observational, or model output, data files, by first “stacking” them to construct a sequential set of data files for the same area. Data for a specific location are then extracted from the “stack,” resulting in a time-series of a specified data variable for that location. Data rods for many different locations can thus be created from the same stack of satellite observations or model outputs.
In 2015, the GES DISC released to the public a remarkable Web service that allows extraction of hydrological data rods utilizing data from the North American Land Data Assimilation System (NLDAS) and the Global Land Data Assimilation System (GLDAS).
Image: Schematic of the Data Rods concept.
Giovanni-4 became the operational Giovanni system; 234 Giovanni-related 2015 publications were compiled.
In September, the Giovanni-4 data system became the operational Giovanni data system, superseding the previous Giovanni-3 system. This new version provides improved performance and new analytical capabilities.
Giovanni’s record of contribution to science also continued in 2015. At the end of the year, the compiled number of peer-reviewed journal publications of research in which Giovanni was used was 234, exceeding 2014’s total of 226.
72,300 files (from nine Nimbus instrument recovered data sets) were made available to the public.
The GES DISC’s continuing Nimbus data preservation effort recovered data from the Nimbus 3 Medium-Resolution Infrared Radiometer (MRIR) and the Nimbus 7 Temperature-Humidity Infrared Radiometer (THIR), and provided them for public use. These data sets added to the volume of heritage data from other Nimbus instruments that are also available from the GES DISC.
Image: Artist’s conception of a Nimbus satellite in earth orbit.
The storage area network was upgraded to a fully redundant configuration, which allows the GES DISC to sustain the growth of demand on its data products from end users with less downtime.
For scientists, getting data from archives like the GES DISC can be frustrating, if those archives experience significant lengths of downtime, or if system performance makes downloading large volumes of data a tedious process. The GES DISC addressed these concerns in 2015 by making the data storage area network fully redundant. This technical upgrade provides the GES DISC with improved capabilities to handle large volumes of data (see #2 of “Top 10”), and markedly reduces the likelihood of significant system downtime.
Image: Consistent and reliable data access is important for scientific data users. The GES DISC, located in Building 32 (second panel from right) at the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), provides reliable data access. One of the primary data types the GES DISC supports is precipitation data (far left and far right panels). Image courtesy of the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) program.
TCTE solar irradiance data and MLS Version 004 data sets were released.
Two new data sets that the public could obtain from the GES DISC starting in 2015 are Total Solar Irradiance (TSI) Calibration Transfer Experiment (TCTE) data and MLS Version 4.2 data. The TCTE data added to the archive of solar irradiance data at the GES DISC. Notable improvements for MLS v4.2, compared to the earlier v3.3/v3.4 data, include a significant reduction in the severity and frequency of cloud impacts on the ozone, carbon monoxide, and nitric acid products (mainly affecting the tropical upper troposphere).
Images: The TCTE instrument is shown in the clean room before launch. The Microwave Limb Sounder is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
Questions or comments? Email the NASA GES DISC Help Desk: email@example.com