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GEO 2017-2019 Work Programme


Access to climate data in GEOSS

Activity ID: 75


In a world of exponential technological change and rapidly growing sophistication in climate and weather information driven in part by the ever increasing volumes of these data, GEOSS must evolve to promote not only the access to these data, but promote services that might provide greater understanding to all the components that make up the Earth System.  These understandings must be advanced by climate and weather models that can improve global and regional guidance to the Vulnerability, Impact and Adaptation (VIA) communities of climate change and extreme weather events.  There is a pressing demand for regional (extreme) weather and seasonal predictions to satisfy both the modelers themselves in the GEO community, and for use by emergency management personnel, policy makers and long-term city, energy, water and agricultural planners. 

Due to a rapidly increasing scale of global climate simulations and the need for not only access but knowledge of the appropriate use of climate information (including reanalyses, observational data and climate simulations), new areas of collaboration using shared infrastructures and on-line services need to evolve within GEOSS and GCI. Initially, to advance these objectives, the primary focus of this activity would be a coherent cluster of 3 main themes: 1) data discoverability, 2) archive access, and 3) dissemination.  Eventually, this Task will assist users of all levels of expertise to find and discover climate and weather information including access tools and visualization capabilities.  These objectives will be advanced by leveraging and coordinating with selected national and international data, modeling and information access groups and efforts including WCRP, GCOS, WMO GFCS and others to explore new opportunities for enhanced coordination and synergy among GEO Stakeholders.

The task contributors will be sought from existing climate and weather modeling groups already actively engaged in distributed and federated climate and weather data centers and producers.  Objectives include:

  • Leverage the IPCC WCRP CMIP infrastructure for access to climate model outputs under the ESGF international collaboration;
  • Leverage GEO's advocacy for these efforts which require some ground work and resources to publish data sets on ESGF;
  • Forge new partnerships and thrust areas surrounding access to associated observational data sets under the ESGF/obs4MIPs/ana4MIPs activities will be championed within a wider (beyond climate research) community;
  • Facilitate WCRP collaboration in the GEO arena to promote additional (e.g. modeling activities) high priority activities in the new Task plan;
  • Leverage the U.S. NOMADS model data access system, already a GEO contributor to advance the objectives of the CA;
  • Promote the wider development and use of ESGF for climate simulations at all spatial and temporal scales and Earth System domains, including regional downscaling (CORDEX), seasonal and decadal predictions and WCRP core projects model development and intercomparison initiatives;
  • Collaborate with the Decadal Forecast Exchange data in that context. Links with contributions from the Copernicus C3S;
  • Promote product development and collaborations within the geo-science communities (ocean, weather, and climate) to foster inter-disciplinary research to study multiple earth systems using collections of distributed data under a sustainable GCI system architecture;
  • Advance GEO collaborations and linkages to NASA’s CREATE (reanalysis clearinghouse); and;
  • Promote and advance middleware capabilities for access tools such as THREDDS Data Server from Unidata in the U.S. under the ESGF framework; and
  • Implement multi-model and ensemble based access tools to provide a new level of access to probabilistic information rather than deterministic.

Activities for the period

  • Identify outreach opportunities to enhance the understanding and usability of climate and weather model output;
  • Develop a new Task Plan and identify and coordinate this plan with select contributors;
  • Establish interfaces with GFCS;
  • Develop an implementation strategy and a work plan for a GEO interface to the Earth System Grid Federation (ESGF) within or servicing for GEOSS users;

Future Plans

An effective international federated and distributed data service requires coordination of data infrastructure and data management principles extending beyond organizational boundaries of any individual center.  The fundamental data management issue that this CA will address is how GEO institutions can organize their distributed data resources into a cohesive presence, then interface this with GCI to allow the users to make better, informed decisions about how nature will impact their future, either in their life or in their business decisions.  Activities listed in “Leadership and Contributor’s” will be advanced by engaging stakeholders and creating new and more formal agreements with related activities such as GFCS.


  • In-kind ESGF program through NOMADS ESGF node implementation (.15FTE) and WCRP leadership/activities;
  • In-kind NOMADS federation and access services support (0.10FTE);
  • In-kind NASA CREATE reanalysis access capability (0.10FTE).


Linkages across the Work Programme

Initiatives: Earth Observations in Service of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; GEO Carbon and GHG Initiative; GEOSS-EVOLVE.

Community Activities: Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3s).

Leadership & Contributors (this list is being populated)




Implementing Entity



Yuqi Bai


Tsinghua University


Michel Rixen