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C3Grid-INAD: towards an INfrastructure for general Access to climate Data

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Within the earlier project “Collaborative Climate Community Data and Processing Grid – C3Grid” a broad consortium of major German climate research institutions und universities has joined forces to develop and implement a community infrastructure based on grid technology which allows earth scientists to seek for relevant data referring to the specific research goal and which can ease the access to the different data locations. The project C3Grid was funded within the D-Grid Initiative by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research BMBF, department “Software systems, Knowledge Technologies”.

Supported by specialists in information science a prototype was implemented and installed, which interconnects the different participating institutional data archives. It was shown how grid technology can effectively be used to ease data access and implement common operational procedures for scientists in climate research. The C3Grid user can browse the metadata with a required profile and then download the selected datasets in a uniform way, independent of the location where the selected data are stored. As a proof of concept some general analysis tools are implemented which operate on the distributed compute resources of C3Grid.

By adopting this prototype infrastructure as a solid foundation, the proposed project “C3Grid-INAD: towards an INfrastructure for general Access to climate Data“ aims at extending and enhancing the functionality for a broader usage perspective. The enhanced infrastructure shall also provide the flexibility for an incorporation of upcoming datasets (for example those produced for the IPCC AR5) and a range of specialized workflows in a standardized way.

In more detail, users from inside and outside the climate research community shall be enabled to operationally and efficiently use the functionalities of the C3Grid system through its portal, i. e.

  • find out which datasets (global model results, reanalysis data, regional model results) are available, and identify those datasets relevant for the particular research question by browsing the metadata;
  • get access to the datasets;
  • download data and perform basic data modifications (averaging in time and space, cutting out areas of special interest or time slices);
  • apply implemented diagnostic workflows to the data and
  • visualize and download results.

The ambition is to establish C3Grid as an accepted common platform and toolset for scientists in their daily research work and further to broadcast more general climate specific information from science to the general public. Based on the previously developed fundamental components of the community grid architecture it has to be extended by new functionalities, which are of broad interest within the scientific community. C3Grid provides uniform and transparent access to data archives. The amount of available data has to increase further. To support this enhancement of the underlying data base, the integration of new data sets will be simplified for data provider. The existing workflow operating will be generalized: New workflow classes have to be implemented which can ease the analysis for the scientists. Furthermore, the user will get more flexibility by providing an environment for operating individual workflows in the C3Grid. C3Grid will meet the challenge in the context of producing the next assessment report for the IPCC.

The project C3Grid-INAD is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research BMBF, department “Environment, Culture, Sustainability”.