PROGRAM TITLE:	Geosystem Databases (GEODATA)
ACTIVITY STREAM:	Data
SCIENCE ELEMENT:	Climate and Hydrologic Systems; Biogeochemical 
Dynamics; Ecological Systems and Dynamics; Earth System History; Solid 
Earth Processes

 NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

SCIENTIFIC MERIT:  	Geosystems Databases (GEODATA) supports the 
development of global change-related data and information and their 
efficient and effective use by researchers.  It involves a sustained effort, in 
cooperation with other science agencies, to assemble, document, archive and 
disseminate long-term global synoptic data needed to understand global 
change processes and to develop and validate climate system models. 
 
A major NSF role will be to provide the hardware, software, and 
communications networks resources necessary for the scientific community 
to use data effectively for research and education.  These systems will allow 
local research and educational users a selection of options for accessing large 
data sets, building their own local data archives, and doing interactive 
processing, analysis, and interpretation of the data with the necessary 
computer power.  Research on new techniques for managing large, complex 
data sets and on standards for general archiving of value-added or derived 
subsets of raw data is also supported. GEODATA supports global change data 
assembly and processing activities at the National Center for Atmospheric 
Research (NCAR).   GEODATA will involve a variety of projects, including 
database building (directly from observations as well as from observations 
assimilated with state-of-the-art atmospheric and oceanic models), data set 
documentation, information-system management, networking, mass storage 
technology, intercomparisons of in situ validation data with observations 
from space, and end-to-end (from observation to data product) observing 
system performance evaluations.  A major emphasis is to enable scientists to 
access and manage large, complex data sets as well as information from value-
added products. These data projects will be carried out coupled to the science 
they serve, with explicit links to climate analysis and diagnostics research.

NSF participates on the Interagency Working Group on Data Management for 
Global Change (IWGDMGC).  This multi-agency group has as its goal the 
implementation of a national Global Change Data and Information System 
(GCDIS) that is consistent across agencies and supports universities and other 
user communities.  GEODATA is an NSF contribution to the IWGDMGC 
program and will be carried out within the framework of that program.  

STAKEHOLDERS:  The NSF GEODATA initiative benefits global change 
researchers, US and international, and other users with requirements for 
easily accessible, high quality, well documented data and information for 
studying global change problems.  It complements the data management 
activities of other IWGDMGC agencies and benefits those agencies through 
the provision by NSF-supported PIs of high-priority global change data sets to 
public archives.
   
POLICY RELEVANCE:  Short-term products include multi-decade, global 
climate data set of unprecedented scope and quality and integrated 
paleoclimatic data sets covering the past 500 years of Earth history. These, as 
well as other individual data sets, e.g., surface marine data sets, will enable 
scientists to provide global change assessments based on longer and more 
accurate records of environmental history, thus providing the basis for more 
informed policy decisions on environmental issues such as climate change 
and natural variability and biodiversity.   Longer-term payoffs include, 
additionally, NSF's full participation in the national GCDIS, through NCAR's 
data center and through the provision to the GCDIS of relevant data and 
information resulting from NSF-funded research projects.   The ease of 
identifying and accessing data and information relevant to global change 
issues provided by the GCDIS will stimulate and accelerate progress in the 
science and assessment of global environmental change.  This is of primary 
benefit to U.S. and international environmental policy decision-making over 
the broad spectrum of pressing environmental issues.     

PROGRAM CONTACT:  Jay Fein, Climate Dynamics Program Director