The Earth System Grid Federation: Delivering globally accessible petascale data for CMIP5

Dean N. Williams, Bryan N. Lawrence, Michael Lautenschlager, Don Middleton, V. Balaji


The fifth Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) will involve the global production and analysis of petabytes of data. The Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison (PCMDI), with responsibility for archival for CMIP5, has established the global “Earth System Grid Federation” (ESGF) of data producers and data archives to support CMIP5. ESGF will provide a set of globally synchronised views of globally distributed data – including some large cache replicants which will be persisted for (at least) decades. Here we describe the archive requirements and key aspects of the resulting architecture. ESGF will stress international networks, as well as the data archives themselves – but significantly less than would have been the case of a centralised archive. Developing and deploying the ESGF has exploited good will and best efforts, but future developments are likely to require more formalised architecture and management.

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