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B. Agency Implementation Overviews

The Department of Commerce


NOAA is the primary agency within the DOC for GCDIS participation as both supplier and user of climate and global change data and information products. Other DOC agencies will participate in the GCDIS as their roles are better defined and as the system evolves. For example, the U.S. Bureau of the Census, through its Center for International Research, has initiated global change, data-related, collaborative activities with the CIESIN. The Census Bureau is also attempting to increase public awareness of and use of its own data through the development of its own Internet site and other online electronic collaboration with appropriate parties.

NOAA's three NDCs, and the NOAA Satellite Active Archive, the NOAA Directory Services, the NOAA Library, and the NOAA NIC are agency components that will participate in GCDIS operations. As the GCDIS evolves, NOAA, through its NOAA-wide Data System Modernization, will add additional capabilities and improved interoperability for the GCDIS user community. NOAA's Data System Modernization is now in the planning stage; system implementation is expected to start in 1995 and continue through at least 2004.

NOAA GCDIS Capabilities Available April 1, 1994

Serving as the Nation's steward for the long-term climate data record, NOAA will provide GCDIS support through its NDCs - the National Climatic Data Center, the National Geophysical Data Center, the National Oceanographic Data Center - and their associated Solar, Geophysical, and Environmental WDCs. Each center provides a customer service facility and online access to metadata and data sets. Online access to operational satellite data is provided by the NOAA Satellite Active Archive. User access to NOAA-wide data and information is also available through the NOAA Directory Services and the NIC. The NOAA Environmental Services Data Directory provides users with online access to descriptions of more than 2,500 NOAA data sets. The NOAA NIC provides Internet access for users seeking information about NOAA and its data and information holdings. The NOAA Library provides GCDIS users with online catalog access to 1.5 million volumes, including 10,000 volumes of historic worldwide meteorological and global change climatological data.

NOAA GCDIS Components Available by April 1, 1994

National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) data content. The NCDC receives data from national operational observing systems managed by the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS), NOAA, the military services, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the U.S. Coast Guard. Foreign meteorological and climate data are received from international sources through the Global Telecommunications System of the WMO's World Weather Watch Program and through exchange of foreign data through the WDC system. Designated as the WDC-A for Meteorology, the NCDC also collects and manages the data bases of international experiments such as the WCRP sponsored by the WMO and the ICSU. In addition to the observational data, the NCDC maintains an archive of modeled meteorological data and products produced by NOAA centers and laboratories and by international experiments.

Major in situ data sets archived at the NCDC include U.S. hourly surface weather observations (temperature, pressure, precipitation, weather, wind, etc.), global 3- and 6-hourly surface weather observations (land and marine surface ships), U.S. and global upper-air observations (temperature, wind, humidity, and height for various pressure levels), daily and monthly data (maximum, minimum, and mean temperature and precipitation) for approximately 7,000 U.S. locations, NOAA atmospheric trace gas data, weather radar photographs and other digital data from the new WSR88D national radar system (NEXRAD), and published daily and monthly data for foreign locations. Most of the data since 1949 are in digital form and (from before 1949) on hard-copy media.

Satellite data are archived by the NCDC and its Satellite Data Services Division (SDSD). The archive consists of full-resolution and derived products from NOAA operational polar and geostationary satellites dating back to 1978. Non-NOAA satellite data are also archived, such as DMSP special sensor microwave data. A full-resolution Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) data archive is managed through a contract with the University of Wisconsin. Both the SDSD and the University of Wisconsin have customer service groups.

NOAA is improving access to satellite data through the Satellite Active Archive (SAA). Internet access, browse, search and order, and Internet data set file transfer capabilities are available for selected AVHRR data sets. The SAA is also interoperable with NASA's Version 0 EOSDIS. Internet access is also available for NOAA- generated Pathfinder Data Sets. The University of Wisconsin also has GOES browse images and selected NOAA-NASA Pathfinder Data Sets online, accessible through a Gopher server.

The NCDC is preparing Baseline Data Sets to support research and monitoring of long-term climate trends. Some of these data sets are the Global Baseline Data Base of Atmospheric Trace Constituents, the Global Historical Climate Network (GHCN), the Comprehensive Aerological Research Data Set (CARDS), and the Comprehensive Ocean Atmosphere Data Set (COADS). Data are being prepared in a common format and processed using standard quality control processes.

A Global Climate Perspectives System (GCPS) is being developed and implemented at a limited number of research locations. The GCPS will house several global climate data sets and provide a data base management system, analysis software and graphical software packages, and data export capabilities. Researchers will be able to access the system through the Internet; have access to data sets; and be able to perform analyses, display analyses and long-term trends, compare data parameters, and export and download data across the Internet. The capabilities of this system will allow researchers to put current climate trends into perspective relative to the entire climate history.

The NCDC will also operate a rudimentary NOAA Environmental Watch (NEW) project. The NEW is aimed at integrating a variety of environmental data sets to produce primarily high-level, policy- oriented information products on a variety of media, including CD- ROMs, diskettes, hard copies, and electronic access.

NCDC access. Data are available by telephone, mail, automated facsimile, World Wide Web, WAIS, and online through the NCDC Online Access and Service Information System and the GCPS. Data sets available online are limited to most recent 2 years of data for U.S hourly surface observations, upper-air observations, NEXRAD data inventories, NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory modeled data sets, NOAA Global Climate Model data sets (100-year output), subsets of the NOAA Atmospheric Trace Gases data set, and daily data from 7,000 U.S. locations. Online access capabilities include limited browse capabilities, online ordering, and online and offline data delivery. Baseline Data Sets, the COADS Release 1a, the CARDS subset (kernel data set) and the GHCN Version 1 are available on magnetic media. A Research Customer Service Group provides customer services for research users requiring additional assistance in acquiring data or information about NCDC data sets.

National Geophysical Data Center content. The NGDC, in conjunction with its collocated WDCs (Paleoclimatology, Solid Earth Geophysics, Solar-terrestrial Physics, Marine Geology and Geophysics, and Glaciology-Snow and Ice), distributes a wide variety of global change data using many types of media and systems. NGDC's Paleoclimate Program distributes pollen count data, tree ring measurements, ice core accumulations, and fossil plankton counts, as well as historical records. The NGDC archives and disseminates data from the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (including visible, infrared, and special sensor data) for global change investigations. The NGDC also distributes a suite of global environmental data bases including the Global Ecosystems series of CD-ROMs. These global data sets include land use, wetlands, vegetation, climate, global relief, soils, and outputs from various global environmental models. The NGDC, through the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado, provides global change data relating to the cryosphere. It disseminates such data as snow cover, sea ice, glacier mass balance, and information describing polar climatology. Other relevant global change disciplines at the NGDC are solar variability and the sea floor environment. Specific examples of data sets available from NGDC are lake and marine sediment, ice core, and tree ring data; topographic and bathymetric measurements, data illustrating natural hazards such as earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes; and historical sunspot activity data.

NGDC access. All NGDC data and derived products are distributed online, on various media such as .5-in. and 8-mm magnetic tapes, floppy diskettes, CD-ROMs, or in hard-copy forms such as microfilm, paper, or 35-mm slides. Access to NGDC data is by mail, telephones, electronic mail, fax, personal contact, and through online activities. NGDC's online services include descriptions of NGDC data and services, phone lists, selected data sets, and sample images of data products. NGDC's online access system, using current technology, such as the Internet, Gopher, World Wide Web, and others, list many of NGDC's current data holdings, both as directory and guide information. A number of NGDC data bases are also available through the Internet, and these include all of NOAA's paleoclimate data as well as selected solar variability, global ecosystems, and marine environment data.

National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC) content. The NODC receives observations, publications, and other data and information products from nearly every country involved in oceanographic research. Through a system of bilateral data exchange agreements, and under the auspices of the WDC system, observational data and data products are routinely shared with more than 30 countries. Under separate agreements, the NODC also manages data for several multidisciplinary experiments operated under the WCRP.

Data received, processed, and archived include in situ observations, remote sensing data products, and research reports and publications. Data received cover the breadth of ocean science, ranging from bathythermograph and Nansen casts to subtle ocean chemistries and plankton counts; and span the global ocean from the late 1800s to the present. The NODC archives are the largest single collection of global oceanographic data covering the longest time span. Satellite and other remote-sensing data types (such as acoustic Doppler current profiles) have been added to NODC archives during the past few years and, with adequate funding support, should be available to the GCDIS.

With the support of the NOAA Climate and Global Change program, the NODC is preparing new ocean climatologies on a geographical and temporal scale never before available. The major physical oceanography data bases have been merged, quality-controlled, and statistically treated to produce a global ocean climatology for one-degree squares. In addition to the climatologies, a set of long time series observations for specific areas in the ocean and the largest and most frequently used data bases are being published on CD-ROMs, and are available online in limited quantities through the Internet and through dial-in access.

NODC access. Access to the entire holdings of the NODC are available by telephone, mail, Internet order, and fax. Funding permitting, online access is restricted to physical oceanography data bases including bathythermographs, hydrocasts, current meter, time series hydrocasts, Conductivity Temperature Depth/Salinity Temperature Depth, and one or more major experimental data bases (e.g., WOCE, JGOFS). In addition, a comprehensive catalog of holdings and the NOAA-USGS-EPA Taxonomic Code will be available.

NOAA Directory Services. NOAA Directory Services include four data bases. The NOAA Environmental Services Data Directory (NOAADIR) has more than 2,500 descriptions of NOAA information and data sets in Directory Interchange Format (DIF). The data sets described contain information about the atmosphere, oceans, climate, hydrology, geology, geophysics, and solar terrestrial physics. There are also data sets concerning astronomy, biology, diseases, and health issues. Most of the data sets regarding biology come from the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the Foreign Meteorological Collection in the NOAA Library. The library collection contains records of weather observations and geologic phenomena, as well as records that enhance the human dimensions data available for global change studies. Some of these records cover demography, diseases, health issues, morbidity, mortality, and epidemics. So far, more than 800 data records in the library have been documented in the DIF format, with about 2,000 remaining to be done.

Other data bases that are available in the NOAA Directory Services are the NOAA National Environmental Data Referral Service (NEDRES), the NOAA Product Information Catalog (PIC), and documents for the NOAA National Environmental Watch.

The NOAA Environmental Services Data Directory will be available through two versions of the Master Directory (MD) software (as supplied by NASA), as well as through the WAIS. The NEDRES, the PIC, and the NOAA National Environmental Watch will be available through the WAIS. Users can access any of these data bases through dial-in services, including local phone service and a 1-800 service, or through the Internet. Access to the MD software and the WAIS will also be provided through a Gopher server.

NOAA GCDIS Components Added by April 1, 1995.

All NOAA components participating in the GCDIS will add incremental enhancements to data content and access functions for the GCDIS user community. A major area of enhancement will be improving online access to NOAA data. Summaries of some of these enhancements follow.

The NCDC will add data to expand the period of record for online data sets, geographical coverage will be expanded, and high-interest data sets will be added. Browse and visualization capabilities will be enhanced. Information products will be available on the Internet through the NEW project. NGDC's Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) digital imagery data will be available online for browse, visualization, access, and online and offline ordering. NGDC's paleoclimatology data base will have its regional spatial and temporal resolution increased while greatly improving online accessibility. The NODC will add chemical oceanography, biologic data containing primary productivity, and chlorophyll data sets. New releases and versions of the Baseline Data Sets will be added for online access at the NCDC. The NOAA SAA will expand the number and time period of operational and Pathfinder Data Sets available for online access. More than 6,000 DIFs will be added to the NOAADIR. Many of these DIFs will come from the Foreign Meteorological Collections at the NOAA Library, the NCDC, and the NMFS. The DIFs from the NOAA library will include many human dimensions parameters, whereas the NMFS's includes many biological parameters.

NOAA GCDIS Components Added by April 1, 1996.

Baseline Data Sets, the COADS Release 2, the CARDS Version 1, and the GHCN Version 2 will be available at the NCDC. The GCPS will be implemented and accessible to an expanded number of research groups. The NEW project will have its information content about environmental issues expanded to include major scientific assessment information, such as IPCC Climate Change and WMO/UNEP Ozone Assessments. Major enhancements will be made to high-priority global change data sets at the NGDC, such as paleoclimatology, DMSP, solar variability, global snow cover, and global ecosystems. The NODC will add acoustic Doppler current profiler data. The NOAA Directory Services will add another 3,000 DIFs, and will be linked to the EOSDIS, with interoperability through the EOSDIS and the NOAA Satellite Active Archive.

NOAA GCDIS Functionality: Access Capability Table

This table shows the integration of NOAA's data and information access capabilities for 3 years. Some of NOAA's GCDIS components will be operating at higher levels, and some at lower levels.

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Department of Defense

DOD GCDIS Capabilities Available April 1, 1994

The DOD routinely collects environmental data globally in support of DOD operations. The DOD also conducts mission-related research into environmental processes and conditions that affect defense operations, tactics, and systems. The DOD does not have a mission requirement to archive data for civil uses. DOD data products are made available to the appropriate U.S. national archives for subsequent use by the GCDIS.

DOD GCDIS Components Available by April 1, 1994

GCDIS content: holdings available and identification of major data sets. The Commander, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command, supports activities that provide meteorological, oceanographic, and mapping, charting, and geodetic products for DOD and U.S. Navy operations. Complete synoptic and aviation meteorological observations, bathythermograph and STD casts, bathymetry, and limited biological observations are routinely recorded. Routine synoptic meteorological measurements and bathythermograph data, plus a full set of air-ocean analysis and forecast products, are produced by the Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center. Special Sensor Microwave Imager (SSM/I) Sensor Data Records, Temperature Data Records, and Environmental Data Records on an orbital basis for the DMSP are generated by this center.

The National Ice Center, a cooperative effort among the Navy, NOAA, and the Coast Guard, provides routine ice products to military and civil users and provides global ice observations, analyses, predictions, and advisory information to military and civilian weather forecast offices with sea/lake ice responsibilities. Data parameters include ice edge, concentration, age, and temperature, as well as features such as ridges, leads, and polynyas.

Operating Location-A (OL-A), United States Air Force Environmental Technical Applications Center, collocated with the NCDC, archives observational and analysis data for military purposes. Observational data sets archived at OL-A include Foreign Synoptic Data, Airways/METAR (Airport Weather) data, Foreign PIBAL (Pilot Balloon) data, and Worldwide Radiosonde and Rawinsonde data. Analysis data sets available at OL-A include Real Time Nephanalysis (RTNEPH) and 3DNEPH (precursor to the RTNEPH), the Air Force Global Weather Central (AFGWC) High Resolution Analysis System (HIRAS) data, and AFGWC surface temperature data sets. The HIRAS includes worldwide analysis of pressure, wind, temperature, moisture, and other analysis variables at mandatory pressure levels. The USAF DMSP satellites continually collect visual and infrared environmental data. The USAF and NASA initiated the effort to capture digital DMSP data at AFGWC on magnetic tape for archiving at the NGDC. Implementation will be in March 1994.

The USAF also sponsors the Cloud Information Reference Library and Archive (CIRLA), a reference archive containing information on cloud and cloud-related environmental data. CIRLA was designed in response to the needs of DOD systems development and operational communities, but CIRLA is also responding to increasing emphasis on requirements to transfer environmental data from the DOD to the civilian scientific and engineering communities.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers maintains the Cold Regions Research Engineering Laboratory, which conducts research on snow, ice, and frozen ground and the effects on construction, transportation, and military operations. Additional data collected by the Department of the Army include meteorological observations collected by Army Meteorological Teams and observations made by the Army Corps of Engineers in support of various civil works projects. Complete synoptic-form meteorological observations, together with soil temperature, solar radiation, and optical transmissivity, are recorded. Temperature, salinity, water quality, precipitation, river stage, wave height, wave period, wave direction, and beach erosion rates are also routinely collected by the Army Corps of Engineers in support of specific continuing projects.

The Defense Mapping Agency (DMA) is the DOD manager for mapping, charting, and geodesy (MC&G;) data around the world, and adopts or establishes MC&G; standards promoting interoperability within the DOD and with allies. In response to DOD requirements, the DMA compiles, produces, reproduces, and distributes maps, charts, and digital MC&G; data. These types of data aid in determining watershed and shoreline changes, sea level rise, variations in coastal currents, rates of urbanization, and changes in the extent of vegetated areas. Release of DMA data depends on security classification, level of resolution, and any third-party restrictions that may be in effect.

The Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC) is the central repository within the DOD for scientific and technical information generated in support of DOD research and development efforts. The DTIC primarily serves the DOD, other Federal government agencies, and their contractors. The DTIC forwards to the National Technical Information Service (NTIS) all DOD technical information provided to the DTIC by DOD organizations when cleared for public release. The NTIS serves the general public by providing access to these data for DOD and the other Federal research and development agencies.

Research organizations including the Naval Research Laboratory, NASA, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the NSF, Rand Corporation, the Army Engineering and Topographic Lab, the Air Force Institute of Technology, and Rice University provide global change information for the DTIC to disseminate. Information on global change in DTIC's collection includes analytical reports about research conducted, as well as data sets, models, projections, research proposals, and summaries of research efforts. Specific research efforts are varied and include such topics as the impact of global climate change on the U.S. Navy, sea level and sea ice changes, a CD-ROM data base containing worldwide meteorological data, global climate modeling, temperature and trace gas trends, and global cloud analysis algorithms.

Basic metadata, described as level 3 in the implementation plan, are currently provided by the DOD. Level 1 or 2 metadata are beyond DOD's mission. The DOD may, however, on a case-by-case basis, consider providing metadata at a higher level if a DOD public domain data set is identified to be an extremely high priority for the study of global change.

GCDIS access. Access to DOD unclassified and unrestricted data and information is provided through national archive centers: the NCDC, the NODC, the NGDC, the National Snow and Ice Data Center, and the NTIS. In addition, the USGS and NOAA serve as distribution agents for DMA products releasable to the public.

The DOD and NOAA share responsibilities for processing polar-orbiter satellite data and exchanging unclassified satellite data and products using the Shared Processing Network (SPN). There are four centers of expertise that process satellite data: the Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center for microwave products, the NAVOCEANO for sea surface measurements, the AFGWC for visible and infrared cloud products, and NOAA's NESDIS for atmospheric sounding data. The NESDIS is also responsible for archiving any SPN data it receives and for distributing those data and products to civilian users.

DOD GCDIS Components Added by April 1, 1995

The DOD will not add GCDIS components.

DOD GCDIS Components Available by April 1, 1996

The DOD will not add GCDIS components.

DOD GCDIS Functionality: Access Capability Table

The agencies that receive DOD data products, primarily NOAA and the USGS, assume the responsibility for GCDIS functions, such as archive, directory, distribution, networks, user support, and others.

Department of Energy


The DOE's contribution to the GCDIS comprises three focused programs: the ARM Archive, the CDIAC, and the Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison (PCMDI). The ARM archive features data from measurements and observations of radiative and atmospheric phenomena, as well as the ancillary information and documentation that allow scientists to interpret the data. The CDIAC provides data and other information concerning carbon dioxide, other greenhouse gases, and climate change to the research, policy-making, education, and corporate communities, and to the public. The PCMDI archives a broad range of global data sets of gridded meteorological data to serve in the validation of climate models. The CDIAC and the ARM Archive data and information products (all provided free of charge) are presently provided in response to mail, telephone, fax, or email request. These data are available through the Internet by ftp or on a variety of physical media to meet the needs of the users: 8-mm tape, nine-track tape, or floppy disk.

DOE GCDIS Capabilities Available April 1, 1994

The ARM Archive content. The ARM program is a DOE- sponsored global change research effort designed to improve the modeling of cloud radiative forcing in general circulation models. The primary user community for ARM data is the atmospheric research community; secondary users are the broader scientific community that has interest in some of the meteorological or radiative measurements that the ARM can provide.

The ARM Archive receives and manages a broad variety of data, such as

This information comes from a variety of sources within the ARM project and from several external sources. The primary data source is the ARM CART, which will consist of three highly instrumented sites located worldwide. The first site, centered close to Lamont, Oklahoma, has been taking data since June 1992. Data fusion products and data quality measurement products are generated at the ARM experiment center using data from the CART sites and observations from such external sources as satellites. Information about instruments, data quality, and instrument operations comes from instrument developers, instrument mentors, site operations staff, and scientists.

ARM Archive access. The ARM Archive data and information products (all provided free of charge) are presently provided in response to mail, telephone, fax, or email request. The data are available through the Internet by ftp or on a variety of physical media to meet the needs of the users: 8-mm tape, nine- track tape, or floppy disk.

The ARM Archive will continue to enhance the number and types of scientific data available as the ARM project continues to add instruments and sites. In addition, the ARM Archive will increase and enhance the quality and quality of information available to assist in the understanding and interpretation of the ARM data.

An automated user interface will be available early in 1994 for requesting ARM data and information files. This interface will allow users with X-windows-based workstations to specify the location, instrument platform, date range, and data processing level for the data they want to receive. Once that request is submitted, the ARM Archive Mass Storage System will retrieve the requested files and notify the user of their availability for transfer by ftp. If the user requests different delivery media, the system will package the data onto those media and notify an operator to ship the media to the user. Finally, the ARM Archive will maintain general information about the ARM project, instruments, and CART sites on a World Wide Web information server.

Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center data content. The CDIAC provides data and other information about CO2, other greenhouse gases, and climate change to the research, policy-making, education, and corporate communities and to the public. Thus, CDIAC's mission is broad, and the suite of data and information products provided is correspondingly broad. CDIAC's data holdings, for example, include concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and oceans, carbon storage in ecosystems, greenhouse gas emissions from industry and land use change, long-term global and regional climate, response of vegetation to elevated CO2, tree ring data, and data on the vulnerability of coastal areas to rising sea level.

The CDIAC acquires data from a large number of investigators and institutions in the United States (not limited to DOE-funded programs) and around the world. Internationally, the CDIAC obtains climate and greenhouse gas data, in particular from China and Russia, through its participation in bilateral research agreements. The CDIAC also operates the WDC-A for Atmospheric Trace Gases, a component of the WDC system coordinated by the ICSU.

The CDIAC quality assures, documents, archives, and distributes data in the form of numeric data packages (of which approximately 50 currently exist). When a particular data base does not exist, the CDIAC compiles the data from various sources (e.g., its global and country-by-country data base on emissions of CO2 from fossil fuel use and cement manufacturing).

In addition to numeric data packages, CDIAC products include the newsletter CDIAC Communications, the series Trends: A Compendium of Data on Global Change, the DOE Research Summary series, the Glossary: Carbon Dioxide and Climate, and specialized bibliographies. The CDIAC also distributes global-change-related reports from the DOE and other agencies.

CDIAC access. The CDIAC data and information products (all provided free of charge) are currently provided in response to mail, telephone, fax, and email requests. In addition, direct access to CDIAC's data and documentation files is now available electronically in its anonymous ftp area. The CDIAC data are provided on a variety of physical media to suit the needs of the users: printed reports and hard-copy listings, 9-track magnetic tapes, floppy diskettes, 8-mm tapes, and CD-ROMs.

DOE Components Added by April 1995

In late 1994 or early 1995 the ARM Archive will provide online, searchable, textural information about instrument operation and data quality. Also, information bearing directly on a set of requested data will be packaged and delivered with the data. Both of these capabilities will be available to users through the automated user interface.

The CDIAC will expand the breadth and depth of its data holdings, particularly in the areas of greenhouse gas concentrations in the oceans and atmosphere and emissions of greenhouse gases from land use changes.

The CDIAC expects to benefit from its collocation with the NASA EOSDIS DAAC for Biogeochemistry, also located at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). As the NASA EOSDIS matures, it is expected that hardware and software systems developed by and for the ORNL DAAC will also provide more online access to CDIAC data products.

DOE Components Added by April 1, 1996

The CDIAC will continue to expand its data holdings, responding to the changing needs of the global change community. As the GCDIS approaches greater operability, information system components such as the GCMD will provide enhanced online access to CDIAC data products. Further, it is possible that the CIESIN will serve as an additional conduit providing access to CDIAC data products, especially for the social sciences and the international communities.

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Department of the Interior


As the major Federal land manager and primary Federal agency responsible for managing the Nation's natural ecosystems, fish and wildlife, and energy and water resources, the DOI is particularly concerned about the potential short- and long-term effects of climate and other environmental change on these lands and resources. The DOI's global change research is addressing topics such as hydrologic and geologic processes and resources, land use, land cover, biological habitats, resources, and diversity; past global change recorded in the physical, chemical, and biological record; land surface and solid-Earth processes that relate to environmental change; geography and cartography; polar and arid region processes; ecosystem modeling and dynamics; and resource ethnology.

The DOI bureaus collect, maintain, analyze, and interpret short- and long-term land, water, air, biological, and other natural resource data and information in support of their missions. These efforts have always included maintenance of high-quality, long-term data sets, including cartographic, land cover, geologic, hydrologic, ecological, and biological data from both satellite- and aircraft-based remote- sensing and terrestrial-based observations. The DOI will provide access to directory-level descriptions of these data (and inventory- level information where feasible) through DOI and other agency directories and clearinghouse mechanisms, such as the NOAA National Geophysical Data Center. The USGS GLIS will be one of the primary inventory-level interfaces with the GCDIS and an access point to DOI global change data. The DOI also participates in the NASA EOS program through the EOSDIS Land Processes DAAC at the USGS EROS EDC, where capabilities are being developed to process, archive, and provide online information system access to EOS land- related data sets such as those from the MODIS.

DOI GCDIS Components Available by April 1, 1994

GCDIS Content

The USGS EROS Data Center. The USGS's EROS EDC is a core element of DOI's focused global change data management activities. The EDC has archived, processed, and distributed Landsat data since the launch of Landsat-1 in 1972. With the enactment of the Land Remote Sensing Policy Act of 1992, the Center was designated as the National Satellite Land Remote Sensing Data Archive. This designation has broadened the Center's responsibility for preserving and providing long-term access to satellite-acquired remotely sensed data of the Earth's land areas. The Center's 21-year collection of approximately one million Landsat scenes is the largest component of the archive. These data are currently being converted from aging magnetic media to new cassette tapes to preserve them for future use. Current activities include conversion of approximately 300,000 scenes of post-1978 MSS data (30 percent of these data were converted by the end of 1993) and 170,000 scenes of Landsat Thematic Mapper data, and the development of improved Landsat data processing capabilities.

Other types of satellite data are being added to the EROS Data Center's Archive. Since 1992, the USGS has been working with NASA, NOAA, the ESA, and more than 20 foreign ground receiving stations to collect 1-km resolution AVHRR data for each daily pass over the Earth's land surface. These data support many applications, including efforts by the global change research community to produce a global land cover maps and to monitor vegetation conditions (greenness) on a periodic basis throughout the year. This program is being coordinated with the IGBP and the CEOS. It complements the operational NOAA programs that collect global AVHRR data at 4- and 16-km resolution, primarily for oceanic and atmospheric applications.

Long-term, consistent continental and global land data sets are being developed and produced to meet the needs of global change researchers. Emphasis is being given to data sets related to land use and land cover, vegetation, soils, terrain, and satellite-derived data, such as global vegetation index and albedo (brightness) data. The application of these data sets to process research is being tested in several projects, including modeling of land-atmosphere exchange processes, analysis of vulnerability of arid and semiarid land to changes in long-term productivity, and biogeochemical exchange processes in Alaska and the Arctic.

USGS Global Change and Climate History Program Data Management System. The USGS is providing Internet access to data and information resulting from its Global Change and Climate History (GCH) Program through an online system. Users can obtain information about the GCH Program and its projects, data sets resulting from GCH-funded research, data from other sources of interest to USGS global change researchers, and freely distributable software tools that may be used to obtain and interpret data. The GCH Data Management System represents an effective approach for making the evolving results of GCH research available to a wider user community. Data sets that will be made available by 1994 include global-gridded Pliocene and Quaternary sea level; modern average global sea surface temperature and polar sea ice concentration; paleoceanographic data (Sea of Japan); methane release from submarine permafrost (Alaska); glacier velocity measurements (Antarctic); meteorological observations (North Slope of Alaska, Antarctica); fossil pollen data from terrestrial and ocean sediment cores; and eolian surficial deposits on the U.S. Great Plains. Other data sets will be released in future years as data collection and analysis are completed.

National Biological Survey global change data. The global change research programs of the Bureau of Land Management, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Park Service have been integrated under the new DOI bureau, the National Biological Survey (NBS). A Global Change Data Center was established in Fort Collins, Colorado, to manage the wide variety of global change data formerly collected by the Bureau of Land Management. Data sets will be made available from studies in meteorology, air quality, soil temperature, surface water chemistry, hydrology, vegetation, squirrel and grasshopper population density, aquatic insects, fire history, tree rings, and pack rat middens. Although some data have been provided to the Global Change Data Center, data sets are also maintained at the project level.

Although NBS global change data management activities are coordinated by the NBS Division of Ecosystem Research, each site is responsible for maintaining, storing, and providing access to its data. Major data sets, formerly collected by National Park Service global change research projects, include multimillennial tree ring growth, Sequoia forest population, and fuel and fire dynamics data in the Sierra Nevada Mountains; tree ring data reflecting water yield along several rivers in the Ozark Mountains dating back to the 12th century; and data from Glacier National Park's Lake McDonald watershed, including physical attributes, vegetation, and AVHRR data. Data sets collected under the Fish and Wildlife Service include tree ring growth records and remote sensing measurements of coastal wetlands of the southeastern states; analysis of sea level changes in the Great Lakes from sediment cores; long-term (25-year) records from the North American Breeding Bird Survey; biology and hydrology of wetlands in the Northern Great Plains; snow cover in the Alaskan tundra from AVHRR data; and fish population, status and trends, and collections.

GCDIS Access

Focused Programs

Global Land Information System. The USGS has developed the GLIS as an online, computer-based directory and inventory system to provide users with an interactive, user-friendly source for information about the land-related data sets described above. The GLIS is a primary node of the interagency Global Change Data and Information System. Examples of the kinds of data sets accessible through the GLIS are

The GLIS users can connect directly to other information systems such as the interagency GCMD, Japan's Earth Observation Information System, the ESA's On-Line Earthnet Data Availability system, and Canada's Global Change Network.

Data set information in the GLIS will be maintained in three levels of detail. The directory level will contain high-level, summary descriptions of entire data sets. Data directory textual searches will be based on discipline, project, sensor key words, geographic location, and other data set parameters. The guide level will contain detailed descriptions of data sets, including information about sensor specifications, extent of coverage, processing history, data quality, and product availability. The inventory level will contain detailed information about individual data sets, such as the time and location of a Landsat scene or AVHRR pass.

National Biological Survey Science Directory. The NBS has developed a directory of science data bases that is available in hard- copy form to help users identify and locate terrestrial natural resource data sets. The directory contains summary descriptions of each data set and information about its availability, location, and research staff contact name. Plans include providing this information to the GCMD. The NBS uses an Annual Work Plan to collect, describe, and maintain information about its data sets. This information is available upon request.

Contributing Programs

The mission programs of the DOI bureaus have always included the establishment, maintenance, validation, description, accessibility, and preservation of high-quality, long-term data sets. Many of these data sets are pertinent to global change research; information about these data sets and access to them is provided by the appropriate information systems of the responsible DOI bureaus. In addition, the DOI plays a lead role in interagency coordination activities that relate to many of these data sets. The interagency FGDC was established in 1990 through revised Circular A-16 to coordinate activities related to spatial data, and is chaired by the DOI. Major objectives of revised Circular A-16 are to avoid duplication and minimize costs in mapping and spatial data activities, while maximizing the availability of data to large numbers of users. Also, under the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Memorandum M-92-01, the DOI is given responsibility for coordinating the water data acquisition and information sharing activities of all Federal agencies, including the quality and quantity of streams, lakes, reservoirs, estuaries, and ground water, plus water use and sedimentation.

Federal Geographic Data Committee activities. In the Federal Government, the OMB has identified a need for a "national digital spatial information resource," which has come to be called the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI). To address this need, the OMB has created the FGDC and has charged it with the responsibility to coordinate various surveying, mapping, and spatial data activities of Federal agencies to meet the needs of the Nation. Executive Order 12906 (Coordinating Geographic Data Acquisition and Access: The National Spatial Data Infrastructure") was signed by President Clinton on April 11, 1994 to guide the Federal Government's development of the NSDI. The FGDC has also been charged with coordinating a variety of activities with State and local governments and the private sector to develop the NSDI. A series of data-specific subcommittees and crosscutting working groups have been established to address the issues.

NSDI is a framework within which organizations and technology interact to foster more efficient use, management, and production of geospatial data. The NSDI is primarily an umbrella of policies, standards, agreements, and partnerships among a variety of sectors and disciplines that will promote more cost-efficient production, ready availability, and greater use of higher quality geospatial data. The major objectives of the NSDI are to foster enhanced use of geospatial data through better management of existing geospatial data and through more efficient collection and production of new geospatial data in ways that maximize data usefulness for multiple data users. The NSDI will promote development and maintenance of and access to data sets that are needed for national, regional, state, and local analyses. Many of these data sets, developed by agencies to meet ongoing mission responsibilities, are important to global change research. The efforts of the FGDC will improve access to these data sets by global change researchers as well as a wide range of other users.

The FGDC is developing the NSDI to provide a means to document, query, search, and access geospatial data in much the same fashion as is being developed for global change data through the GCDIS. The clearinghouse is based on a distributed approach to geospatial data management that relies on data producers to document their data consistently using the Content Standards for Digital Geospatial Metadata. Data searches will be conducted over electronic networks such as the Internet, using public-domain WAIS query software. Organizations not connected to the network will have access to the clearinghouse through sites such as the Earth Science Information Centers (1-800-USA-MAPS) or through agency-established data servers. A prototype test of the clearinghouse is in progress. A Manual of Federal Geographic Data Products was published in hard-copy form (an electronic version is being developed) to provide an initial reference source to the types of spatial data that will become available through the clearinghouse. It contains a comprehensive descriptions of more than 150 publicly distributed Federal geographic data products from 21 Federal agencies, including maps, computer-compatible (digital) data, aerial photography and multispectral imagery, and other geographically referenced data sets.

Earth Science Data Directory. In addition to the GLIS, the USGS maintains the Earth Science Data Directory (ESDD) with more than 2,300 descriptions of data sets from a number of Federal agencies and all 50 States. The ESDD directory-level descriptions provide high-level information about data sources, their size and geographic location, format and media, and technical contacts for each data set.

The USGS also maintains the National Water Data Exchange, a computerized index to more than 450,000 sites for which water data are available from more than 450 organizations.

DOI GCDIS Components Available by April 1, 1995

Global Land Information System. The GLIS will be enhanced to provide full graphical user interface (GUI) capability in the middle of 1994. This capability will include a full suite of X- windows tools for selecting geographical search areas and displaying data coverage and browse files over the Internet. In addition, the XGLIS version will include data set user guides and sample data graphics files that are compatible with the World Wide Web document viewing tools. This will allow XGLIS users to link easily to relevant global change documents hosted by research centers all over the world that are also utilizing World Wide Web.

DOI GCDIS Components Available by April 1, 1996

Global Land Information System. The GLIS will be further expanded to support interactive query and online ordering from the National Digital Cartographic Data Base sales data base (including 1:250,000- scale land use and land cover, 7.5-minute Digital Elevation Models (DEMs), 1:100,000-scale Digital Line Graphs (DLGs), 1-degree DEMs, 1:2,000,000-scale DLGs, and 1:24,000-scale DLGs). This capability will include cross-inventory searching for identifying data sets covering the same geographic area and acquired during the same time period. The following table represents the data and information access capabilities that will be provided at the EROS Data Center between 1994 and 1996. Other individual DOI GCDIS components will provide a variety of capabilities on various time scales.

DOI GCDIS Functionality: Access Capability Table

Browse2*2* 2
Order Place221
Distribution2*2* 1
* This level of service available only for selected data sets

DOI International Linkages Related to Global Change Data

The UNEP has established its North American GRID facility at the EROS Data Center to provide improved access to global change data and information on an international scale. The EDC was recently designated as the World Data Center for Land Remotely Sensed Data under the auspices of the ICSU. This recognizes its holdings of the world's largest collection of space- and aircraft-acquired imagery of the Earth's land surface, including more than 2 million images acquired from satellites and more than 8 million aerial photographs. The DOI participates in the CEOS, an international group whose members include NASA, NOAA, the USGS, the ESA, Canada, and Japan. The DOI also participates in the Landsat Ground Station Operators Working Group. Participation by the National Park Service in the U.S. Man and the Biosphere Program facilitates use of the international network of biosphere reserves for comparative ecological studies and sharing of data.

Other DOI bureau global change programs have links to international programs. For example, the USGS is participating in the GEWEX, the GCIP, a part of the WCRP. The USGS is also participating in the Land Cover Change Pilot Study of the IGBP Working Group on Data and Information Systems. Other participating countries include Canada, France, Russia, Australia, and the countries of the European Economic Community.

Environmental Protection Agency


The EPA has the primary responsibility for data on environmental quality and the distribution and effects of pollutants on human and ecological health. As such, it is both a supplier and consumer of information on the environment, with a large potential for beneficial interchange with the GCDIS that goes well beyond its current role in the USGCRP.

The EPA has relatively small holdings that are derived from the focused USGCRP and more than five terabytes of data that are derived from its regulatory and related programs. For the short term, the EPA will seek agreements with existing GCDIS centers to house its data derived from the focused USGCRP programs. In the longer term, the EPA intends to modernize its potentially contributing data systems in ways compatible with the GCDIS, but the EPA is not currently budgeted to do this at a level that would meet the GCDIS projected schedules. To meet the GCDIS schedules, the EPA will need enhanced funding beyond the current EPA USGCRP budget, as outlined in the USGCRP special issue on data capture (see Appendix A).

If the EPA is successful in obtaining the necessary funding, the EPA intends to develop a full catalog and access system that is interoperable with the GCDIS, maintaining a level of functionality appropriate to the priority of the data assigned by the GCDIS ranking process. Under current funding, the EPA is beginning an effort to develop directory and inventory information for some of its contributing program data, it is developing extensive network and telecommunications connectivity, it is enhancing its supercomputing center activities, and it is developing plans to become a consumer of USGCRP data and information (especially satellite data from the NASA EOSDIS).

The EPA's potentially contributing data result from a broad range of programs aimed at improving human and ecological health, assessing environmental risks, and preventing environmental pollution. Data from the EPA's own programs, as well as data from programs delegated to the states, are stored in a variety of data bases at the EPA's National Computer Center (NCC) in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. These include

Ambient air quality, source, emissions, and compliance

Ambient water quality, source, emissions, and compliance

Hazardous and solid waste

Pesticides and toxic substances


Summary of EPA GCDIS Capabilities Available April 1, 1994

As of April 1, 1994, the EPA portion of the GCDIS will consist of the components, listed below, accessible at various prototype levels over the Internet through a UNIX public access server at Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. The public access server will be developed as part of the EPA's general strategy to increase access to environmental data and includes efforts focused on the USGCRP as well as other areas.

Extracts from selected program data bases and model results will be made available as part of the Envirofacts data base. The server will support Internet search tools (e.g., Gopher, WAIS, and Mosaic), and contain both data and pointers to data and information. Supported tools will be interoperable with appropriate components of the GCDIS. Electronic versions of Access EPA, the Toxic Release Inventory, the Guide to Selected National Environmental Statistics in the United States, the Online Library System, and the Information Systems Inventory will also be available on the server to assist users in obtaining EPA information available on line and by hard copy.

Data and information from the focused portion of the USGCRP (e.g., the North American Landscape Characterization data set) will be made available through arrangements with other GCDIS archives. Contributing data and information from EPA's regulatory and scientific programs, not derived from the USGCRP activities, will be incorporated into the Envirofacts data base, as funding becomes available and requirements are known from the USGCRP.

EPA GCDIS Components Available by April 1, 1994

The National Computer Center. The EPA's National Computer Center, located at Research Triangle Park RTP), was founded in 1971 as the Research Triangle Computing Center with a primary focus on EPA's air quality research and enforcement programs. It was renamed the NCC in 1975, to reflect a more nationwide mission. In 1980, all the agency's data processing and telecommunications capabilities were consolidated under the NCC. Today the NCC is a large, standardized, integrated, high-speed computing center with a computing environment that varies from workstations to a large IBM mainframe.

The NCC responds to the demands of new environmental legislation, serves as the central medium for storing and processing information, and provides nationwide services and support to more than 25,000 Federal, State, and local users of the agency's information resources. Each year it receives information inquiries from these users and solves and documents problems for them. In addition, it supports their hardware, software, telecommunications, and operations needs. The NCC would form the cornerstone of EPA's implementation of the GCDIS and would contain most of the contributing data provided by the agency.

The National Environmental Supercomputing Center. The National Environmental Supercomputing Center (NESC) at Bay City, Michigan, is the world's only supercomputer center devoted exclusively to environmental problems. The NESC supports EPA modeling efforts in regional air models, in large ecosystems such as the Chesapeake Bay and Great Lakes, and in computational chemistry for the study of toxic substances.

The NESC provides EPA programs with the ability to simulate environmental systems by mathematical models too large to be executed on conventional computers. The cost and time savings of modeling compared with that for field testing allow EPA to test environmental strategies on the computer without going through the costly and time consuming process of trial and error using the regulatory process. Its role in the GCDIS will be to provide a vehicle for processing environmental models and remote sensing data to create information supporting both research and policy formulation.

The EPA data communications network. The EPA's data communications network is designed to provide support to a wide range of clients, including EPA regional offices and laboratories, state and local agencies, and public access. RTP, Washington, D.C., and Cincinnati, Ohio, are connected by a triangle of T1 circuits. Additionally, the NESC in Bay City, Michigan, is connected to RTP with a T3 circuit. The EPA's 10 regional offices are connected by 56-Kbps circuits to both RTP and Cincinnati. All fifty state agencies, as well as Puerto Rico, are connected by analog circuits to the regional offices. Internet connectivity is supported at the T3 level through a connection at Bay City. At the workstation level, the agency supports approximately 19,000 token-ring and 2,500 Ethernet LAN-connected stations. Currently, IBM, VAX, and Cray registration consists of 12,586 users. Virtually all EPA users have the potential for Internet email access through the agency's internal email system, although all employees are not connected to the internal system. The EPA also maintains full Internet connectivity to selected workstations throughout the agency.

Access EPA. Published annually since 1991, Access EPA is a comprehensive directory and locator that provides descriptive and access information on more than 300 of EPA's major information resources, including data bases, clearinghouses, hotlines, records, models, and documents. Additional information is also available through the contacts listed. Originally designed to enhance public access to environmental information, this resource will become a key component of the agency's electronic information dissemination effort, especially once it links up with the proposed Government Information Locator Service currently under development.

Printed copies are available in main public and branch libraries and in state environmental libraries. Copies may also be ordered through the Government Printing Office or the National Technical Information Service. A brief quick-reference version, Access Express, is available at EPA's Public Information Center. A full-text online version of Access EPA is currently accessible through both the EPA Online Library System (OLS) and the Internet.

Online Library System. The EPA OLS is a bibliographic data base that references the information resources maintained by the EPA Library Network. It contains bibliographic citations from books, EPA and other Federal agency technical reports, conference proceedings, indexes, audiovisual materials, maps, journals, and a variety of other documents held in the collections of EPA Headquarters and regional and laboratory libraries. The OLS also provides summaries of selected titles. Information contained in the following data bases is also listed in the OLS: the National Catalog, the Hazardous Waste Superfund Collection Database, the Clean Lakes Database, the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics Chemical Collection Database, and Regional Files from certain EPA regional libraries.

Toxic Release Inventory. The Toxic Release Inventory is a public data base of information on releases of more than 300 toxic chemicals into the environment. The data are self-reported by industry.

Guide to Selected Environmental Statistics. The guide is a directory to selected U.S. statistical programs that collect frequently sought after, national-level, time series environmental statistics, compiled and distributed on a regular basis. Each entry describes a separate statistical program, giving program purpose, data coverage, collection methods, geographic coverage, agency contacts, pertinent publications, and data base access options. It is available in both hard-copy and electronic versions, with expanded search features and maps in the electronic version.

Statistical coverage in the guide includes data related to the state of the environment, pressures on the environment, human health and welfare issues, and societal responses to environmental problems. This information was provided by multiple agencies and departments, including EPA.

Gateway. Gateway is a Microsoft Windows-based GUI using client-server technology that provides users with a simplified means of accessing and analyzing EPA's integrated data resources. It allows users to access, through pull-down menus and user-developed reports, agency data resources stored in Envirofacts; to spatially analyze and display that information through a full-function ARC/INFO GIS capability; to employ user-developed analytical tools and models for data analysis; to access worldwide information over the Internet using WAIS and Gopher technology; and to pass the information to desktop tools such as spreadsheets and word processors.

Envirofacts. Envirofacts is an integrated, relational data base of subsets of several of EPA's national environmental data bases. It is the relational data base queried by the Gateway user interface. Envirofacts currently contains information from EPA's Facility Index System, Permit Compliance System, Toxic Release Inventory System, and the Superfund information system. In the near future, it is scheduled to include the new Water Quality Storage and Retrieval System water monitoring data base, and work is proceeding on incorporating both the Aerometric Information Reporting System and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Information System data bases. Additional programmatic and monitoring data bases will be included in the future. The Envirofacts data base architecture and structure is currently supported by Version 7.0 of the ORACLE Relational Data Base Management System (RDBMS).

Information Systems Inventory. The Information Systems Inventory (ISI) is the definitive source of summary information about approximately 500 of EPA's current information systems, including some models and data bases. The ISI was developed to enhance the agency's ability to track major information systems and to share information across media and program boundaries. Entries under each system in the inventory include system name and acronym, system level, responsible organization, contact person, legislative authority, data base descriptors, access information, hardware and software, system abstract, and key words. The ISI provides searching capabilities and pointer information so that people interested in EPA information can readily determine what EPA systems may be relevant to their interests, and whom to call to get further information.

The ISI is available in hard copy and automated forms in the EPA headquarters and regional libraries, and through the NTIS. Future plans are to incorporate the ISI into an expanded version of Access EPA.

EMAP Information Management system. The EMAP Information Management (IM) is the vehicle with which the total EMAP program manages data and information. The EMAP IM will provide the infrastructure for turning raw scientific measurements into useful information products that will serve to guide actions to improve the environment. The EMAP IM is also designed to provide a diverse user community easy access to data and processed information through a series of tools that access data and information over a distributed national network.

The EMAP IM architecture consists of seven conceptual layers: canonical data, virtual repository, security, communication access, tool set, interprocess communications, and user interface. Implementation will progress through proof of concept, technology transfer, and enterprise implementation processes. The goal is to develop by 1997 an environmental information highway allowing analysis of EMAP data across heterogeneous networks of personal and scientific computers and among an interagency federation of users.

CIESIN catalog. As part of its efforts to increase public access to environmental data, the EPA has provided assistance to the CIESIN to enable it to develop a prototype catalog of environmental information. The CIESIN will develop directory and inventory portions of an environmental catalog, using selected EPA data bases. These will be maintained on a CIESIN server that is interoperable with the other components of the GCDIS and publicly available over the Internet. Additionally, the CIESIN is developing a prototype Great Lakes Regional Information System, compatible with the Great Lakes Information Network and the GCDIS, that will be accessible by the environmental community over the Internet. The Great Lakes prototype is intended to be the paradigm for other efforts to develop environmental information systems for large geographic regions such as the Chesapeake Bay, the Gulf of Mexico, the U.S.-Mexican Border, and Eastern Europe. The purpose of these efforts, taken together, is to increase the public availability of environmental data and to facilitate human dimensions and Earth science data integration for improved decision making at the local to global level.

EPA GCDIS Components Added by April 1, 1995

Initially, activity will be focused on developing the Envirofacts data base and constructing the necessary tools and metadata to facilitate access to a prototype information system on the RTP server. It is expected that the CIESIN directory prototype will be sufficiently developed to permit implementation on the RTP server, either as a copy or as a reflector to the CIESIN facility. It is also expected that the Great Lakes and EMAP prototypes will have created access points through the server as well. An online user feedback system will be developed to help improve access and develop content.

EPA GCDIS Components Added by April 1, 1996

The Envirofacts data base will be expanded to include additional EPA program data with content related to the requirements of the USGCRP. It is expected that the prototypes developed during 1995 will be refined based on the previous year's user feedback. Additional geographic data bases may be added.

EPA GCDIS Functionality: Access Capability Table*

Order Place222
* Except for Archive, codes refer to the Envirofacts data base and Public Access Server only.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

The Ultimate NASA Vision

NASA's major contributions to the GCDIS are the components of the GCMD and the EOSDIS. The EOSDIS will be a single, distributed system that will serve the Earth science community by archiving and distributing data in support of Earth science research programs. The EOSDIS will provide easy and reliable access to Earth science (e.g., climate, oceanography, land science, hydrology, biogeochemical dynamics) data products from a variety of sources, including the following:

In order to protect the significant public investment in data, the EOSDIS has assigned the responsibility for making the data permanently available in an easily usable form to the DAACs and the SEDAC. Along with the SEDAC and the GCMD, the DAACs serve as the primary user interface to the EOSDIS.

In general, there is no period of exclusive access for EOS data. However, some of the data centers hold data sets for which there are specific stipulations that preclude open distribution. Data will be available to scientific users at the marginal cost of filling their requests, and scientific users will be required to make available their research results and any derived data products. Results of significant interest will become part of the EOSDIS data holdings and be distributed under the EOS data policy.

EOSDIS DAAC Expertise and Support

Data CenterConcentrationMissions, Instruments
ASFSea Ice, Polar ProcessesERS-1, JERS-1, ERS-2, Radarsat
SEDACSocioeconomic dataHuman dimensions, policymaking applications
NSIDCCryosphere and Polar Processes (non-SAR), Cryosphere/Climate InteractionsDORIS, GLAS, MIMR, SSALT, SMMR, SSM/I, TMR
ORNLBiogeochemical Dynamics, Trace Gas Fluxes, In situ measurements, Terrestrial/Aquatic/Marine Ecosystem Field Experiments
MSFCGlobal Hydrologic CycleMIMR, TRMM (TMI, PR, LIS), SSM/I
GSFCUpper Atmosphere, Atmospheric Dynamics, Global Biosphere, GeophysicsMODIS, AIRS/AMSU/MHS, CZCS, GLAS, HIRDLS, MIMR, MLS, SAGE, SeaWiFS, TOMS TRMM (VIS), UARS
JPLPhysical Oceanography, Air-Sea InteractionsTOPEX/Poseidon, NSCAT, MIMR, Seasat, SSALT, TMR
EDCLand ProcessesASTER, AVHRR, Landsat, MISR, SAR, airborne sensors
LaRCRadiation Budget, Clouds, Tropospheric ChemistryACRIM, ASTER, EOSP, CERES, ERBE, MOPITT, MISR, EOSP, SAGE, TES, SOLSTICE

Current NASA Capabilities

The EOSDIS is building on existing discipline-specific Earth science data centers and data systems. The preexisting data systems form the starting point for the EOSDIS. The data systems and data set initiatives that make up today's EOSDIS employ existing electronic networks for data transfer, interactive sessions, and mail. These services are provided through the NASA Science Internet (NSI). This network supports several protocols and is interoperable with the Internet. Currently, the NSI consists of a backbone based on T1 technology (1.5 Mbps) connecting 27 regional networks and more than 100 tail circuits to research sites, reaching approximately 2,500 end users.

NASA GCDIS Capabilities Available April 1, 1994

NASA provides access to Earth science data through several discipline-specific data centers and data systems, most of which can automatically be accessed from the GCMD. These centers and systems provide various levels of service for data processing, distribution, and archiving. The numerous disciplines supported include climate, oceanography, land science, hydrology, biogeochemical dynamics, sea ice, geophysics, atmospheric dynamics, radiation budget, and human dimensions.

Researchers may access most of the systems through the Internet and dial-up lines, or visit hard-copy browse facilities. Data are delivered electronically or on standard media, such as 9-track magnetic tape, 8-mm cartridges, or CD-ROMs. System capabilities allow users to search, locate, select, and order products. Searches usually can be limited by geographic area, time, or geophysical parameter. Electronic access is generally free to research users, but a fee may be charged to cover the marginal costs of filling the requests.

NASA GCDIS Components Available April 1, 1994

Although NASA's major contributions to the GCDIS are the GCMD and the EOSDIS, the building blocks available for April 1, 1994, include several other data centers and data systems. These centers and systems are operationally supporting the Earth science research community with various levels of service. Most of these services will be transferred to the EOSDIS data centers as resources allow, although because of funding limitations, a full transition is not envisioned within the next several years. These systems will probably continue to be separately funded to support the research community, and can continue to support the GCDIS at the current access levels.

In addition to the GCMD and the EOSDIS Data Centers described earlier, the following building blocks are available:

Content. Some of the most frequently requested holdings of each of the data centers and systems contributing to GCDIS on April 1, 1994, are listed in the table. These include several Pathfinder Data Sets. (See Science Data Plan for the EOS Data and Information System Covering EOSDIS Version 0 and Beyond for additional details.)

Services (access mechanisms). Most of the data systems can be automatically accessed from the GCMD, which has automated connections to approximately 30 global-change-relevant information systems. Most of the systems, however, require that the user obtain an account before obtaining data. Most of these search and order services can be accessed through the Internet and dial-up connections. Most browse capabilities at this time are limited to hard copy. Some data are available through online services, although most ordered data will be sent on standard media. In 1994, the network backbone will be upgraded to T3-technology (45 Mbps). Contact the user support personnel for the individual systems or data centers as listed in the following table.

Interoperation. In this time frame, an integrated implementation of the functions for data searching and ordering across most of the EOSDIS DAACs will be available to a restricted set (about 15) of science advisors.

NASA GCDIS Components Available April 1, 1995

In July 1994, the initial version of EOSDIS will be released - Version 0 (V0). This version is a working prototype with some operational elements, and supports the research of scientific users with currently available data and new data from other missions before the availability of EOS data. It interconnects the existing services of the various EOSDIS DAACs and the SEDAC through electronic networks, interoperable catalogs, and common data distribution procedures to provide better access. With V0, users will have a unified Earth sciences view. Version 0 provides an operating infrastructure to test and refine the evolutionary methodology essential to EOSDIS success.

Content increases. More than 250 NASA data sets and approximately 100 related products will be available with the release of EOSDIS V0, including the several Pathfinder products and data products from new missions such as SeaWiFS, Radarsat, and ERS-2. (Note that the distribution of SeaWiFS data will be restricted for 5 years after observation.) See Science Data Plan for the EOS Data and Information System Covering EOSDIS Version 0 and Beyond for additional details.

Service improvements (access mechanisms). An Information Management System will support data and information search and order across DAACs, SEDAC, and selected non-NASA Affiliated Data Centers. A user will be able to log into any DAAC and find out about the data holdings at other sites. The user will be able to submit a request to order the data from a single site, yet have multiple DAACs fill the order.

Version 0 will employ graphics to provide a simple, effective means of obtaining information about the data sets. Researchers will be able to search for data by geographic area and time period, as well as by such characteristics as data source or geophysical parameters. In addition, users may browse through samples of the data displayed on their computer screens.

Interoperation. The most important accomplishment of V0 is that it will link the EOSDIS Data Centers together and provide interoperability among them to give users an Earth science view across the DAACs for searching and ordering data. As a prototype, it will not have all the capabilities, fault tolerance, or reliability of later versions; however, it will support use by the scientific community in day-to-day research activities.

NASA GCDIS Components Available April 1, 1996

EOSDIS Version 1 (V1) will be implemented in steps during 1995- 1997. It will be designed and developed while V0 is operating, thus benefiting from V0 user feedback.

Content increases. ADEOS NSCAT data will be available for distribution from the JPL DAAC. Other data sets will be available from the DAACs based on input from their respective user working groups. In addition, preparations will be made for processing Clouds and Earth's Radiant Energy System and Lightning Imaging Sensor data from TRMM (launched in 1997), archiving and distributing TRMM data, and information management for Landsat-7 (launched in 1998) data.

Service improvements (access mechanisms). Version 1 will be physically distributed, but the system will appear completely integrated to users and will provide the complete set of capabilities needed for EOS science and mission operations. Version V1 will be interoperable with version V0.

Interoperation. The capabilities of version V1 will progressively replace (after a period of parallel operations) the V0 system to provide a smooth transition to enhances services.

NASA GCDIS Functionality: Access Capability Table

The level of NASA's contribution to GCDIS is indicated in the following table. This table indicates when EOSDIS will have access capabilities analogous to those described for the GCDIS. Although NASA will provide archive functionality through the EOSDIS as noted in the table, NASA has concluded agreements with NOAA and the USGS for long-term archiving of NASA Earth science data.

Archive4 4 2-3
Directory 2 2 1
Guide 2-3 2-2 1
Inventory 2 2 1
Browse 2 2 2
Order Place 2 2 1
Distribution 2 2 2

Capabilities currently and for 1994-1995 are being developed within EOSDIS Version 0 (available July 1994). Capabilities in 1996-2000 will be provided by the EOSDIS Versions 1 and 2, built around the EOSDIS Core System (catalog functions available 1996, complete in 1997) and DAAC-unique extensions.

National Science Foundation


The NSF sponsors a large and diverse research community that both uses and produces global change data and information. Although the NSF has no formal responsibilities for archiving and distributing data and information, it supports a major facility for meteorological, oceanographic, and climatology data sets at NCAR. By and large, however, NSF-supported scientists rely on other Federal agencies for much of their data and information needs and, when appropriate, for archiving and disseminating the research products they produce.

The NSF expects its supported investigators to share with other researchers, at no more than incremental cost and within a reasonable time, the data, samples, physical collections, and other supporting materials created or gathered in the course of the research project. Presently, the enforcement of this requirement varies considerably across the agency. For example, social and behavioral data sets are deposited in an archive for distribution within a year after the completion of a grant. Other discipline divisions at the NSF have no formal policies. The NSF will implement, in collaboration with other GCDIS agencies, a process by which important global change data sets produced with NSF support will be archived, managed, and disseminated for broad community use. Deciding which products are appropriate for this treatment and how the activity will be funded will involve a multilateral process among the research principal investigators, the sponsoring agency program manger, and the appropriate data center and its sponsoring agency. A general rule of thumb for funding responsibility is that the agency program manager should support those activities that are required for the research project itself, and the data center should support those that are required to serve the broader community needs.

NSF GCDIS Capabilities Available on April 1, 1994

The National Center for Atmospheric Research. The NCAR Data Support Section (DSS) maintains an archive of more than 400 data sets. Collectively, this archive is designed to support the wide variety of atmospheric and oceanic research at NCAR and within the university community. The complete archive is available to approximately 400 NCAR and 650 university personnel who use the NCAR computing facilities. Access to the data sets is also extended U.S. Government agencies, the private research sector, and research groups worldwide by distribution on various media and across networks.

The archive is roughly divided into the categories of atmospheric analyses and observations, oceanic analyses and observations, model output, satellite data, and supporting geophysical data sets. The NCAR archive is best known for data sets in the atmospheric and oceanic categories. Groups at NCAR develop some data sets, but a majority are contributed from outside NCAR. Often, the contributed data sets require considerable processing and enhancement to make them useful for large and small computing tasks. Furthermore, the DSS is responsible for preserving the archive, providing access, and redistributing the data sets when needed.

The efficient mass storage system and the connected computing systems provide the DSS with the capability to routinely manipulate large amounts of data. This data facility contributes important data support for research projects at NCAR and throughout the research community. For example, NCAR prepares data for Global Atmospheric Reanalysis, the Comprehensive Ocean-Atmosphere Data Set is produced in cooperation with NOAA, and output from climate models is collected and distributed worldwide for assessment studies. Continued work on these and many other large data manipulation efforts will be a primary focus for the DSS in years to come.

Access to information about data sets and data itself is available through published documents, the DSS support staff, and information systems connected to the Internet. Since 1992, persons with Internet connectivity have been able to access and browse an online data information system at NCAR. This system (using ftp and a simple directory structure), while very successful, has been enhanced to also support World Wide Web information searches through the National Center for Supercomputing Applications Mosaic interface. Mosaic supports several common GUIs for browsing hypertext and simple text files. During 1993 users connected to the system about 2,800 times each month, obtaining about 7,000 files each month. From the files copied, about 2,200 are directly related to specific information and documentation about data sets within the archive. The combination of the simple ftp and GUI systems for viewing information about NCAR's data holdings will continue to be developed in the future.

Not only does NCAR provide data support and distribution on a per request basis, but it has also begun a project to produce CD-ROMs for mass distribution. The data to be placed on the CD-ROMs will first be selected from the atmospheric analyses and observations categories. One CD-ROM was completed last year, several are in the planning phase for completion this year, and others will follow in later years. Presently, NCAR has several data sets that need to be distributed, but are too large for CD-ROMs or the existing network communications. NCAR intends to distribute these data on existing and new low-cost media as they are developed.

The NCAR archives are diverse in type and sometimes large in volume; so far, the data support focus has been on data content, data information, and easy user data access. NCAR will remain committed to these principles.

Access to data and information about data at NCAR will increase as the aforementioned projects progress. More data will be available on CD-ROMs, and growth of the Internet-accessible information system will continue to take advantage of the most practical and publicly available information distribution tools. Many of the NCAR data sets are presently described in the GCMD. The NCAR will continue to provide information to the directory, as well as support automatic connection to the NCAR data information system. Basic descriptions of all data sets are electronically available now. This information resource will be strengthened as the descriptions are enhanced and more inventories and browse data are made available. This system will meet the level four contribution criteria for GCDIS directory, guide, and inventory functionality.

The Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research. The NSF does not directly administer an archive of data relevant to the human dimensions of global change. However, the NSF has contributed to the support of the primary such archive in the United States - the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), based at the University of Michigan. The ICPSR was established in 1962, and is funded primarily from fees paid by more than 370 member academic institutions in more than two dozen countries. Most social and behavioral science data sets collected on the basis of NSF grants are deposited in the ICPSR within a year after the completion of the grant.

The bulk of data sets archived in the ICPSR consists of survey data on individual attitudes and behavior collected by scholars. The archive also contains U.S. census data and surveys on population, health, labor, income, and other conditions collected by Government agencies, international organizations, and other research institutions. The ICPSR has been working with the CIESIN to identify those data sets in the archive that would be of interest to global change researchers in order to make those available through the GCDIS. Negotiations with the CIESIN, with providers of data, and with the ICPSR member institutions have to be completed before it will be clear what the extent and exact form of ICPSR participation in the GCDIS will take. However, it is anticipated that by mid-1994 a substantial portion of the data archived at the ICPSR relevant to global change research will be available through the GCDIS.

Modes of access to the ICPSR have been in transition for the last several years. Traditionally, users could scan a list of holdings and order data sets on magnetic tape accompanied by hard-copy codebooks. In recent years, the ICPSR has made an increasing number of data sets available in alternative formats - on disk, CD- ROM, or by ftp transmission. Initially, the available format of the data the ICPSR prepares for access through the GCDIS will depend on the current state of the particular data set in the general ICPSR archive. The ICPSR is working with both the CIESIN and the National Center for Supercomputer Applications (NCSA) to develop a high level of online access to ICPSR data sets through the MOSAIC interface being developed by NCSA. By the end of 1994, the ICPSR plans to have one large survey available as an experiment within this environment. Completion of the transition to this level of access for other data sets in the ICPSR archive will require a number of years and substantial funding.

NSF GCDIS Data Available by 1995-96

National Center for Atmospheric Research. As the transmission capacity of networks increases, larger amounts of data will be directly transferred to and from NCAR. Accompanying the growth of network capability will be the development of network tools that efficiently search for data, browse data, and examine and display information files. The resident NCAR data information system will remain flexible and capable of adapting to the new network features and, in doing so, will meet the higher levels of interoperability and connectivity required for the GCDIS.

Since NCAR has long been a data provider to the university community and worldwide, it presently offers level-3 and -2 GCDIS data order and distribution functionality, respectively. As more specific GCDIS guidelines are defined, NCAR will make procedural adjustments to accommodate these standards as considered appropriate.

NCAR GCDIS Functionality: Access Capability Table

Archive 2-4 2-4 2-4
Directory 4 4 4
Guide 2-4 2-4 2-4
Inventory 4 4 4
Browse 3-4 3-4 3-4
Order Place 3 3 3
Distribution 2 1-2 1-2

The Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research. For 1995-96, work can be expected to continue both on making an increasing number of the relevant ICPSR data sets available through the GCDIS and on upgrading the access levels to those data sets that are already available.

The Long-Term Ecological Research Program. Centralized and local (i.e., project level) data management activities of NSF's LTER currently meet or exceed the GCDIS minimum requirements. Although the LTER is not formally a USGCRP-supported activity, it does serve as a good example of the direction and intent of the NSF with regard to broad accessibility of major ecological data sets. At this time, openly accessible LTER data sets include mostly physical environmental data, but there are plans for broader incorporation of primary biological and ecological data as well.

U.S. Department of Agriculture


The USDA plays an important dual role in global change research and other programs related to the environment and natural resources. USDA agencies support agriculture, forestry, and ranching programs that ensure a continued and healthy food supply for the Nation and our trading partners throughout the world. At the same time, the USDA has a vital interest in and has responsibilities for the protection of the land to preserve it for future generations.

In carrying out its various missions, the USDA conducts research to better sustain agriculture and forestry in the United States and to provide technical assistance in managing private and public lands. Agriculture, forest, and grazing management are affected by weather, climate, and other environmental variables. USDA's global change research program focuses on understanding how global change factors affect U.S. and international forest, pastoral, and agricultural ecosystems, and how these ecosystems affect the environmental variables that contribute to global change.

USDA agencies maintain various centers of data and information that have been developed to support the mission programs of each agency. These programs include the areas of ecological systems and dynamics, biochemical dynamics, climate and hydrological systems, and human interactions with land use. The USDA is in a unique position of having substantial long-term data and information relevant to global change and terrestrial ecosystems. The vast majority of USDA data and information of significant value to global change research were collected to support other agricultural programs, however, and do not carry an easily identified global change label. An intensive effort will be required to capture and incorporate these data and information into the global change research program.

At present, the USDA has no plans to develop a centralized data center to maintain or archive global change data and information. The emphasis will be on providing standards for collecting and managing data - while leaving data with the collecting agencies - and on coordination to promote effective access to these valuable information resources. The goal is to maintain distributed data that will appear fully integrated to the user.

USDA GCDIS Components Available by April 1, 1994

The incorporation of USDA data and information holdings into the GCDIS will evolve during the coming years. Resources must be allocated to identify and describe priority data holdings and perform any modifications to these holdings to enhance the total knowledge base upon which policymakers and others must make critical decisions regarding land use, agriculture, and forestry issues. The National Agricultural Library (NAL) has played a major role in identifying, cataloging, and providing access to worldwide published information related to global change issues. The NAL provides a continuing and expanding focal point for identifying and finding desired data and information.

The Current Research Information System is available through the Internet and commercial information distribution systems. This system provides information on the status of research projects funded by the Cooperative State Research Service of the USDA. The USDA has initiated several new projects to support the need to make global-change-related data and information readily available to its various user communities. A key first step is the collection of metadata describing the data sets and other information products held at various locations throughout the country. This inventory includes special information required to define spatial data and models and the particular data sets required for operation of the models. Data bases inventoried are being categorized as weather data (e.g., temperature, precipitation), atmospheric data (trace gases, deposition), soils data, forest data, plant and vegetation data, animal data, pest data, hydrologic data, economic data, and more.

A second follow-on project is the implementation of an automated locator and directory system to house the inventory metadata. This system will be interoperable with the GCMD and other servers, such as the WAIS servers installed at other Federal locations. This locator is not expected to be operational before April 1994.

The USDA has installed a department-wide Internet node for access by all of its agencies to Internet resources. This will supplement or replace several agency Internet connections now in place and will provide outside access to the USDA global change locator and directory.

A project is underway to identify and bring attention to important data sets and information that are at risk of being lost, either because of the poor quality of the storage media or the loss of knowledge of the data due to lack of appropriate documentation or the unavailability of the principal investigator who understood the data. This is a long-term effort, which is expected to result in the development of new policies and a changed culture to prevent this type of loss from seriously degrading future archiving efforts.

Snow, precipitation, air temperature, other climate parameters, and soil moisture and temperature are collected by the Soil Conservation Service (SCS) and automated under a global change pilot project. This Snow Telemetry System is enhanced through manual surveys to provide water supply forecasting capability. These data sets are easily accessible to the public through the SCS Centralized Forecasting System maintained at the Climate Data Access Facility at Portland, Oregon. This historical data set, largely of the western United States, is updated annually.

The USDA maintains several other important centers of data that currently are not readily accessible to the public. These include several maintained by the SCS. The National Cartography and Geographic Information Systems Center in Fort Worth, Texas, contains cartographic data bases, maps, selected digitized hydrologic units, soils geographic data, and orthophotography. The Iowa State University maintains the soils tabular data as well as the National Resources Inventory, which includes soil characteristics, land cover and use, erosion, land treatment needs, vegetative condition, and potential for cropland conversion. The plants data base is maintained at Fort Collins, Colorado, and various other national data sets are maintained at Washington, D.C.

Access to these data sets by researchers or others is only by request. Significant efforts are planned to improve access, but major resources to make this possible will be required.

Aerial photography maps are available through the USDA ASCS Aerial Photography Field Office in Salt Lake City. These photographs are used for conservation practices, locating field boundaries, tax assessment, urban development, pollution studies, and watershed studies. Maps of all National Forests and National Grasslands are available on paper from the USDA Forest Service in Salt Lake City. The USDA is coordinating an interagency effort to define and develop a thesaurus for global change research data and information. The pilot system uses text imaging and retrieval software that provides word meanings and relationships derived from dictionaries and thesauruses. The pilot system will allow easy access and record accuracy to global change data and information through the Internet using the Z39.50 standard for information search and retrieval.

USDA GCDIS Components Added by April 1, 1995.

The inventory and locator effort will continue as more data sets become available. The locator will be accessible through networks to any member of the public. The contents will be enhanced and the capabilities for better understanding of the specific data sets will be improved. Knowledge of the data is only the beginning step, however. Many of these data sets will need to be relocated or formatted to allow easy online access. This will be an evolving process, and progress will be based on priorities and available resources.

Data standards relating to such aspects as collection techniques, automation approach, and element definitions and naming conventions represent a critical parallel effort to those described. Several projects are in their initial stages and are progressing more slowly than desired because of limited resources. Some are being done in conjunction with other organizations such as the FGDC, and many involve State and local government cooperative projects.

Specific data holdings to be made available and access mechanisms to be used cannot be defined at this time.

Go back to Appendix A. Data Capture

Go to Appendix C. List of Acronyms and Abbreviations

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