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Earth System Data Exploration

The new research group Earth System Data Exploration develops innovative methods and tools for the integration and analysis of complex, heterogeneous, and big datasets related to air pollution and atmospheric composition, climate, and terrestrial systems.

Activities concentrate on two main research lines:

  • Development of interoperable data and web services to facilitate access to Earth System data for research
  • Development of new analysis methods for multi-variate Earth System data based on deep neural networks and statistical models


A key objective of the Earth System Data Exploration group is to deliver end-to-end solutions that are of immediate use to scientists and other users. Therefore, we engage in several international coordination activities and in (primarily global) assessment studies.


The group has strong links to the JSC Simulation Laboratories on Climate Science and Terrestrial Systems and to the Cross-sectional team on Deep Learning. It benefits from FSD activities on federated data services.


The first projects of the Earth System Data Exploration group are:

  • The Tropospheric Ozone Assessment Report (TOAR) database of surface ozone observations (the world’s largest collection of global surface air quality measurements)
  • The Juelich Open Web Interface (JOIN)


The group also collaborates with the Simulation Laboratory Climate Science on the Jülich Atmospheric Data Distribution System (JADDS).


Group leader is PD Dr. Martin Schultz.

Earth System Data ExplorationCopyright: Forschungszentrum Jülich

This figure illustrates the concept of multiple earth system data layers, which shall be jointly analyzed similar to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and used for the characterization of atmospheric composition, weather, or hydrological timeseries.

From bottom to top: 1) Google map of a region near Cologne with station markers denoting air quality monitoring sites in the TOAR database; 2) human settlements from the Global Human Settlement Layer (GHSL) at Joint Research Centre (JRC), Ispra, Italy; 3) nighttime stable lights from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA); 4) population density from Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) (Gridded Population of the World v3); 5) leaf area index from Sentinel-2 (Copernicus land monitoring service); 6) Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) radar topopgraphy (U.S. Geological Survey).


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