STA3CD: Subsetting Tools for Advanced Analysis of Airborne Chemistry Data

Principal Investigator (PI): Gao Chen, NASA's Langley Research Center
Co-Investigators (Co-PI): Morgan Silverman, Damian Gessler, Crystal Gummo, Emily Northrup*, Aubrey Beach*, Amanda Early*, Glover Barker*, Tim See*: NASA's Atmospheric Science Data Center (ASDC)
* prior members


Aircraft measurements of atmospheric trace gases and aerosols are an important component of NASA’s Earth observing system. The data are used to study climate change and air quality and to validate satellite measurements.

In 2014, NASA’s Atmospheric Science Data Center (ASDC) developed and released the Toolsets for Airborne Data (TAD) web application to enhance airborne data discovery and usability, focused on atmospheric composition. The goal of the follow-on Subsetting Tools for Advanced Analysis of Airborne Chemistry Data (STA3CD) project (pronounced “stacked”) is to enhance TAD with additional geographical map capabilities to better serve the research community. STA3CD adds new features that provide the ability to extract data through geographic and vertical profile subsetting. This includes:

  1. Interactive display of flights over their geographical ranges, allowing the selection of flights and campaigns based on their geographical coverage and/or date of data collection;
  2. Visual display of vertical profiling tracks and metadata associated with their collecting flights;
  3. Integrated map and faceted search: selecting flights automatically filters Common Name variables, allowing the researcher to build a shopping cart of variables based on where and when the data were collected.

The current TAD user interface (UI) has been improved in both design and functionality. The UI uses a modern “reactive data” technology that allows immediate UI updating without round-trips to the server, yielding a more satisfying, “app-like” experience. A middle-layer Application Programming Interface (API) enables programmatic data retrieval, thereby broadening avenues for both data discovery and access.

STA3CD image 1

Geographic subsetting can be accomplished through either box or bounding circle options, graphically or numerically. The bounding circle is designed to facilitate research based on airborne observations and a ground site measurement, which is very useful in air quality studies. The flight track display has been enhanced with mouse-over highlighting, consistent track coloring, and dynamic flight info display. The selection of variables has been improved through a new workflow and consolidated list of instruments and techniques.

STA3CD image 2

STA3CD has the added option of a NetCDF output format, along with the current International Consortium for Atmospheric Research on Transport and Transformation (ICARTT) standard. STA3CD will be integrated into the TAD toolsets. Once complete, the tools and an updated User Interface (UI) will be available on the TAD website.

The STA3CD team conducted a webinar focused around “How’s and “Why's” of full-stack Web site architecture, technology choices, and best practices. The featured use case was the Advanced Analysis of Airborne Chemistry Data web application. The target audience for the webinar was web engineers, developers and data providers. Watch the STA3CD webinar on NASA Earthdata's YouTube channel.


Read more about TAD.


Last Updated: Aug 5, 2019 at 2:46 PM EDT