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ICSU/WMO World Data Center for Remote Sensing of the Atmosphere (WDC-RSAT)

Michael Bittner(1), Kathrin Hoeppner(1), Beate Hildenbrand(1) and Frank Baier(1)

(1) German Aerospace Center (DLR), Muenchner Str. 20, 82234, Germany


Primary focus of the ICSU/WMO World Data Center for Remote Sensing of the Atmosphere (WDC-RSAT) is to offer scientists and the general public free and simplified access (in the sense of a “one-stop shop”) to a continuously growing collection of atmosphere-related satellite-based data sets and user-driven services (e.g. air quality platform). These data holdings are available on-line and range from raw data collected by remote sensors to higher level data and information products.

WDC-RSAT is supporting the development of user oriented value added products. The current WDC-RSAT data holding contains data and information on trace gases, aerosols, clouds, land and sea surface parameters, and solar radiation. This is achieved either by giving access to data stored at the data center or by acting as a portal that contains links to other data providers.

Since 2003 the Remote Sensing Data Center of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) hosts and operates the WDC-RSAT under the nongovernmental auspices of the International Council for Science (ICSU). In addition, the WDC-RSAT is the most recent data center in the WMO-WDC family; in cooperation with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), WDC-RSAT is currently being implemented as part of the WMO-GAW Strategic Plan 2008-2015 especially in the context of IGACO within the WMO program Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW).

WDC-RSAT cooperates with partners in establishing and making use of modern information technologies (e.g. Grid) in order to promote networking. It is already being implemented as a data publication agent for data related to remote sensing of the atmosphere and is thus authorized to assign so-called ‘Digital Object Identifiers’ (DOI) to data sets. The German ICSU WDC’s (WDC-Climate, WDC-Mare, WDC-Terra, and WDC-RSAT) have formed in 2004 the “WDC-Cluster on Earth System Research” in order to promote interdisciplinary research related to Earth sciences.

WDC-RSAT serves as a communication and data management platform for the recently established international and global Network for the Detection of Mesopause Change (NDMC). It also serves the Bavarian Environmental Research Station “Schneefernerhaus” (UFS) on the mountain Zugspitze, which is a WMO-GAW Global Station, with all aspects related to data management.