AERIS: An infrastructure at the service of “Big Atmospheric Data”.
AERIS relies on four Data and Service Centres (ESPRI, ICARE, SATMOS and SEDOO), where more than 40 people are involved, in order to operate the hundreds of servers with more than 4,000 computing cores and to maintain more than 6,000 terabytes of archives.
The fruit of the joint vision of CNRS-INSU and CNES, AERIS brings together 11 supervisory bodies (CEA, CNES, CNRS, École Polytechnique, IGN, IRD, Météo-France, Hauts-de-France region, Sorbonne University, University of Lille, Paul Sabatier University) which contribute to the construction and operation of this unique structure. Thanks to this data centre, scientists have a valuable tool for preserving, distributing and combining the data resulting from their research.
Indeed, observation takes place at different stages of the scientific process: description of natural environments, understanding their functioning, modelling their evolution, forecasting their future states. Technological progress provides us with an ever-increasing variety of measurement methods that generate increasingly rich datasets, but whose use or access can be made difficult by their diversity, the volume of storage they represent, the complexity of the processing required for their use by a heterogeneous scientific community, and their dispersal in their formats and locations. In order to make the most of this unprecedented influx of information for the benefit of knowledge and society, it was essential to bring consistency to the policies of the data centres that collect it, and to define appropriate approaches for processing, archiving and distributing the validated and developed products derived from it.
In addition to providing access to data, AERIS offers many services such as campaign support:
- serving the operational/real-time needs of the observations during the campaign
- by providing a complete archive of the campaign afterwards
- by archiving all kinds of information (reports, aircraft flight plans…)
In addition, AERIS provides valuable assistance to scientists in co-locating heterogeneous and complementary data sets, allowing, for example, the comparison of the same parameter measured by very different techniques and protocols. AERIS thus provides tools and products reprojected on a common reference grid, but also online services for satellite data extraction around ground stations.
In other words, AERIS not only provides the community with a unique, free and open access to atmospheric data, but also enables the development of services and new products that enhance the joint use of multiple data. Thanks to AERIS, the products (maps, sections or vertical profiles, or multi-parameter data) developed by scientists for specific uses become more visible, and the whole community gains in efficiency by pooling its experiences and resources.