Earth System Grid Federation (ESGF)

Climate model data contributions to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) are expected to exceed hundreds of petabytes, and this data will need to be made available to the international climate community. The Earth System Grid Federation (ESGF) is a partnership of climate modeling centers created to provide secure, web-based, distributed access to the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) model data that is serving as the basis for IPCC AR5. The ESGF allows scientists and others to search, download, analyze, and visualize this distributed data through one common web interface.

The CISTO Climate Data Services (CDS), located at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, is contributing to the ESGF by providing access to the model data produced at the NASA Center for Climate Simulation (NCCS) by the Global Modeling Assimilation Office (GMAO) and the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS). The CDS is also hosting CMIP5 data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies (COLA) produced with NOAAʼs National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) model. In addition to climate model data, the ESGF is providing access to selected datasets from the 30-year GMAO Modern Era Retrospective-Analysis for Research and Applications (MERRA) and NASA observational data.

Data Access and VisualizationESGF_Flyer_GMAO_Image_Feb07

To access data, visit the CDS ESGF Gateway

Users can search by categories such as Institute, Model, and Variable and visualize the data, as in the above figure, using Live Access Server (LAS).


For help using ESGF and more information, see the ESGF Tutorials page.

The Obs4MIPs project identifies NASA satellite-derived observational data products that exactly match the CMIP5 variables and publishes them in an easily comparable format (matching units and data format, comparable resolution) on ESGF to allow for the comparison of Climate Model output to NASA observations.  Data on errors and number of observations are also published where applicable and all data sets provide a companion Technical Note fully describing the methodology behind the processing of the data.

Obs4MIPs data can easily be compared to climate model output and reanalysis data using UV-CDAT, a 3D visualization tool, a collaborative project by the Department of Energy, universities, vendors and NASA’s Climate Data Services.

Observational data sets published by CDS include:

  • Shortwave and Longwave Radiation
  • Precipitation
  • Leaf Area Index
  • Fraction of Absorbed Photosynthetically Active Radiation
  • Aerosols
  • u, v wind vectors from Reanalysis projects

CDS has also made available a python based script to convert data into the required CMIP format for ESGF publication.  Click here for more on this CMOR Data Converter.

The ana4MIPs project publishes Climate Model Reanalysis products in ESGF for the purpose of comparing reanalysis output from different reanalysis projects.  The data can also be used for comparisons to the CMIP5 model output or the NASA observational data (obs4MIPs) with the use of UV-CDAT, a 3D visualization tool, a collaborative project by the Department of Energy, universities, vendors and CDS.

Reanalysis data sets published by CDS include:

Click here to visit Ana4MIPS CoG site