About the Project

The main objective of the Earth System Data Lab (ESDL) activity is to establish and operate a service to the scientific community that greatly facilitates access and exploitation of the multivariate data set in the ESDL and by this means advances the understanding of the interactions between the ocean-land-atmosphere system and society. To this end, the main tasks of the project are fall into four main categories:

Infrastructure & operations
Data sets & tools
Use cases & scientific exploitation
Communication & outreach

The set-up and operation of the ESDL service requires an adequate infrastructure that ensures an attractive user experience for the scientific users. This implies first and foremost, convenient, reliable, and fast data access and rapid computations of workflows that may involve the entire data set of the ESDL. In addition, stability and data security are requirements that are typically only noticed when corrupted or missing. The major challenge for service provision is clearly the fluctuating workloads for the system, as the number of users and their activities greatly vary over time. Dynamic resource allocation and rapid scalability of the system are thus cornerstones for a reliable service provision that fully meets the expectation of  ESDL users. The approach adopted here involves the dynamic instantiation of virtual machines, a solution that has already been successfully demonstrated at the end of ESA’s CAB-LAB project, which has been the successful precursor of the ESDL project.

The core part of the ESDL is the data in analysis-ready form, together with tools and methods to generate, access, and exploit the ESDL. In the preceding project CAB-LAB, the software to generate the ESDL and the data access APIs have been developed. The modular open source approach adopted in CAB-LAB has proven to be convenient, flexible, and powerful and effectively meets user requirements. In the course of the ESDL activity, the range of available tools will further evolve according to the requirements formulated by the different user groups of the service. Of course, users may also contribute their own solutions and share them with others. We invite everyone to join us on github to advance the ESDL!

We are planning to significantly etxtend the datasets included in the ESDL. The additions imply both extending the data coverage in time as well as the introduction of completely new data sets.  Examples for specific requirements include marine parameters and the missing parameters from ESA’s CCI programme, e.g. Land Cover, Clouds, Aerosols, and Green House Gases. As for the software part, the main objective for these additions is to increase the ESDL’s utility and versatility and thus ultimately the uptake of scientific users, who will then have a powerful tool to advance our understanding of the Earth system dynamics.

User uptake and scientific exploitation through the implementation of use cases is actively promoted by several tasks. The project adopts a three-stage approach and accordingly defines three different user types, Champion Users (CU, pre-defined use cases), Early Adopters (EA, Open call), and the Scientific Community (SC, free use).  All ESDL users have in common that they are using the ESDL for scientific exploitation. While doing so, they are helping to improve the ESDL and the service provided, to increase the awareness for this activity and the offered service, and to extend the ESDL by contributing own source code and data sets. The ESDL is complemented by extensive outreach, communication, and training activites, which will foster user uptake, empower users to optimally exploit the ESDL, and eventually yield tangible scientific results in the form of peer-reviewed articles in international journals.