SolutionsUseCase Hurricanes Intercomparing datasets 1a

From Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP)

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Plain Language Description

Short Definition

Spatially co-register distributed Earth science datasets that measure various meteorological components of hurricanes.


With the greater awareness, due to recent disasters, of the dangers of hurricanes, bringing together information that allows us to further study their characteristics, and better predict their behavior, has become more relevant to mitigate future socio-economic misfortunes. One of NASAs more relevant investments have been in remote sensing instruments that provide new insights into studying and better preparing for hurricanes. Individually, NASA data is valuable to hurricane research and decision support systems, but taken collectively, the interplay of the available hurricane component measurements can potentially reveal an understanding of hurricanes never before obtained. The following currently active NASA instruments provide valuable information about hurricanes:

Instrument Component Resident Location

TRMM Precipitation GES DISC


MODIS Sea Surface Temperature PODAAC

OMI Effective Surface Reflectivity GES DISC

While resolving a very real problem, this use case demonstrates the need in Earth science data management to:

- Bring distributed datasets together into a single application… without delays

- Understand the demands on networks when bringing together large volumes of distributed data

- Once brought together, spatially co-register and visualize data on a common grid

- Seamlessly (to the user) provide access to the distributed datasets such that the datasets can be used together by the user

- Provide data access capability from all sites that contain contributing datasets (and wish to be a data access point)

This use case, if successful, demonstrates:

- The ability to commonly manipulate distributed and heterogeneous data sets

- Cross dataset (which can very well be interdisciplinary) science and research

- Fast data visualization and access

Goal: ‘All data is only a “click” away’ (Of course, not really a click, but something fast, seamless, and invisible to the user.

Describe a scenario of expected use

- Hurricane Katherina is churning toward the Florida peninsula, playing havoc with each island in passes

- Scientists wish to study the storm’s dynamics as it occurs, forecasters wish to better predict it’s path, officials wish to make educated decisions to assure population safety. All wish to ‘tame’ potential social and economical impacts of the storm.

- It is known that NASA has had many websites containing hurricane education, awareness, and data visualization and data sites.

- Now scientists, forecasters, and decision makers are happy to know that they can go to one of many NASA sites, and specify:

    -  A snapshot or animation time period for Hurricane Katherina
    -  The meteorological parameters of the hurricane for the time period requested (Parameters to select from, initially, would be precipitation, wind speeds, sea surface temperature, and effective surface reflectivity)

- The user chooses to visualize (i.e.,browse) the multiple parameters on the same common grid.

- Then the user can download the specific data worthy of further research, analysis, modeling, and ultimately, making better forecasts and decisions.

Definition of Success

Visualize on the same common grid, and make available for public access, hurricane data originating from distributed archives.

Formal Use Case Description

Use Case Identification

Use Case Designation

Intercomparing Huricane Datasets

Use Case Name

Spatially co-register Distributed Earth Science Datasets that Measure Various Meteorological Components of Hurricanes

Revision Information

Prepared by:
Steve Kempler
GES data and Information Services Center (DISC)
12 April 2007
Version 0.1
Modified by:
<Modifier Name/Affil>, <Date/time>, <Brief Description>


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