Having worked in an atmospheric research lab during my undergrad back in 2008, and then as an energy consultant presenting data about weather influences on the energy market, I have always been interested in weather data. I was excited to see that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has been working on a big data program to provide open source cloud access to its data. The data will be hosted by different providers with multiyear contracts under the stipulation that the data must be available to the public for free. NOAA’s “Big Data Project” will contain petabytes of information from all the different atmospheric data they have been collecting for decades.
The open access aspect to this data is exciting to me because it not only represents opportunities for NOAA to improve their data cohesion to protect lives and property from weather events, but it also allows analysts all over the world to dive into the datasets to find new and interesting connections. Having open source data will increase transparency and hopefully counteract some of the anti-science bias we currently see in the climate change discussions since the data will be open to all to evaluate. Through this project they are specifically hopeful that with more people working the data, increases in environmental solutions will arise. Not only is it likely to solve environmental problems, but it will directly save researchers time and money in accessing the data that they already require to complete their current research. This new analytics project is likely to have far reaching impacts upon sustainability issues both big and small, and I am excited to see what new solutions are derived from it.
Author: Logan Callen
Boyd, Aaron. 2019. “NOAA Contracts With 3 Major Cloud Providers on Big Data Project.” NextGov, January 06, 2020. https://www.nextgov.com/analytics-data/2019/12/noaa-contracts-3-major-cloud-providers-big-data-project/162062/