1. Global Earth Science Community
  2. Community Data System Programs
  3. ACCESS Projects
  4. Subsetting Tools for Advanced Analysis of Airborne Chemistry Data (STA3CD)

Subsetting Tools for Advanced Analysis of Airborne Chemistry Data (STA3CD)

Aircraft based measurements of atmospheric trace gas and aerosols represent a major component of NASA’s Earth Observing System. Even in the era of satellites, airborne measurements remain a vital component due to the high spatial and temporal resolutions and the extensive variety of simultaneous measurements. Given these attributes, airborne observational data are well suited for characterization of atmospheric processes. In fact, the airborne data are often used as a benchmark for assessments and evaluation of both models and satellite observations, especially for the vertical distribution of atmospheric trace species. NASA's Atmospheric Science Data Center (ASDC) developed and released the Toolsets for Airborne Data (TAD), a suite of web-based tools aimed to enhance airborne data discovery and usability, in September 2014. Thus far, TAD has a variety of users, including both scientists and researchers, spanning numerous agencies and universities, and has been used to create and download thousands of files. The current active users include PIs supported through the NASA ROSES 2013 solicitation entitled “Atmospheric Composition Campaign Data Analysis and Modeling (ACCDAM)” and researchers in the atmospheric modeling communities, e.g. AEROCOM and CCMI. While users have found the current TAD tools useful and effective, they have also requested certain feature enhancements. One of these requests is data subsetting for the in-situ atmospheric composition measurement data, which is typically the very first step in analyses involving airborne observations. To address the user community research needs, we propose to develop data subsetting tools as an addition to TAD. The proposed objective will allow users to extract data two ways:

  1. Geographical: Users will be able to select data from a specific region across all relevant airborne sampling missions and flights.
  2. Vertical Profile: Users will be able to identify individual aircraft vertical profiles of interest and obtain data associated with these vertical profiles.

The proposed activities will directly serve the Atmospheric Composition focus area by substantially improving the accessibility and usability of airborne data. Specifically, these tools will help a user more efficiently access the data relevant to their research and streamline the data analysis process. The geographical subsetter is expected to be frequently used in incorporating airborne data sets into model assessments and evaluations, while satellite validation would require coincident individual vertical profile data.

As a secondary objective we propose to develop the capability for TAD to output data in both ICARTT (a NASA ESDIS endorsed standard since 2010 for airborne measurement data) and netCDF file formats, which will make the data accessible to a wider user community, especially the modeling community.

All proposed objectives will be an extension of the existing TAD suite of tools, currently operating in a production environment at a TRL of 8. One major advantage of TAD is its extensibility. The system has been designed to allow new missions to be added, with only minor pre-processing, as they become available, and the proposed objectives will take advantage of this. TAD includes extensive public documentation as well as a YouTube video tutorial that provides a complete start to finish user walkthrough. Both capabilities will be updated to include the proposed objectives, bringing TAD to an RRL of 6.

Members of this proposal team have been participants in multiple Earth Science Data System Working Groups (ESDSWG) working groups, e.g. Airborne Data, ASCII, Open Source, and Geospatial Working Groups. In addition, the proposal team has been approved to chair an ICARTT Refresh working group, which will work to update the ICARTT file format in order to enhance the usability, interoperability, and discovery of airborne data sets.


Gao Chen, ASDC

Last Updated: Nov 16, 2017 at 10:24 AM EST