The Copernicus Climate Change Service’s Climate Data Store is going from strength to strength. In 2019 its importance was recognised with a major prize and a number of other important milestones were reached.
In 2019, the ECMWF team that developed the Climate Data Store (CDS) was awarded the prestigious European Meteorological Society (EMS) Technology Achievement Award for supporting “climate services in Europe by providing seamless access to high-quality climate datasets, past, present and future”.
The award recognised that the CDS is “empowering a wide range of user communities worldwide to work on addressing climate change”.
Launched in 2018, the CDS provides easy access to a huge wealth of data from the EU’s Copernicus Programme, including climate-related Earth observations, reanalyses, seasonal forecasts, and projections of future climate. It is open to all and free to use. By the end of 2019, the number of registered CDS users had gone up from just over 5,000 at the end of 2018 to about 30,000.
The CDS is a cloud-based tool which, through a single web-based interface, gives users access to vast amounts of data distributed across many locations. The CDS also includes an application programming interface and a toolbox which allow users to extract, manipulate and plot data and to create their own web-based applications. The first set of toolbox applications was released to the public during the year, representing a game changing achievement.
CDS users have access to petabytes of data, but because of the CDS architecture and its ability to process data, the amount of data that users need to download can be as low as in the order of kilobytes.
Catering for a range of interests and levels of expertise, the CDS allows users including policy-makers, businesses and scientists to access and process data in a way that suits them and to convert those data into information to support decision-making.
The year also saw a number of other key milestones for the CDS. Forty years of data from the latest ECMWF reanalysis dataset (ERA5) were released through the CDS. Covering 1979 to present, the data represent the highest-quality reanalysis produced to date by ECMWF. A detailed land dataset, ERA5-Land, also became available. Based on ERA5 data, the world’s first reanlayses of fire and river flow data were also included within the CDS. Such reanalysis data provide a globally complete picture of weather, land surface, fire and river flow conditions which are consistent over time. They are invaluable for understanding current conditions in a wider climate perspective.
The success of the CDS is now being extended to serve the users of the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS), which is also operated by ECMWF on behalf of the European Commission.