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15 Jan 2020

Adoption Grant Introductions - Improving The Copernicus Climate Data Store Metadata Scheme With The “RDA Metadata Standards Repository”

In December 2018, RDA Europe issued an open call for projects adopting outputs from the RDA’s various Working and Interest Groups. Following recommendations from external evaluators, eight funding grants were awarded in April 2019. This blog series will introduce the eight Adoption Grant cases, giving an overview of their project remits and demonstrating the practical approaches organisations can take when looking to implement the RDA’s Recommendations & Outputs.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash Like other projects that have benefited from RDA Europe 4.0 adoption grants, the Barcelona Supercomputing Centre’s (BSC) successful grant application is part of a wider initiative. The BSC is leading a project to evaluate the quality and the provision of quality assurance information to users of the Copernicus Climate Data Store (CDS). The CDS has over 35,000 registered users from over 60 countries, with the service providing around 50TB of daily data to the users. The BSC is tasked with improving the quality of the data available to CDS users and developing procedures for the CDS in relation to how it ingests submitted data. To do this, it has employed the RDA Metadata Standards Directory in order to identify appropriate standards and formats that can be applied to the CDS’s data assets.

Issues to address

The focus of the activity funded by the RDA Europe 4.0 grant was on quality assurance of the data stored in Copernicus CDS and evaluating the quality of the services offered by the CDS infrastructure from a user perspective. The CDS repository houses several hundred terabytes data of varying types - this includes satellite and in-situ observations, climate model outputs, forecasts, and reanalyses of data. In addition to providing summaries at the level of variable and dataset, the project team at BSC will also look to develop recommendations on common data models and metadata standards for data that will be presented in the CDS portal.

The plans for the first stage of this project includes a review of the existing standards presented in the RDA Metadata Standard directory to investigate how each one can be applied for each of the products in the Climate Data Store. The next step is to apply the chosen standards to the data in the repository, along with flagging the degree to which each data asset complies with the relevant standard. In the final stage of the project, the aim is to be able to propose recommendations about the usage of these standards for any data submitted to the CDS in the future.

The approach to an RDA solution

So far, the bulk of the work done on the project has consisted of evaluating the available standards and establishing a set of Key Performance Indicators to monitor the quality of the CDS metadata and the users’ experiences of the service. At this stage, the project team are in the process of developing KPIs around their chosen CF (Climate and Forecast) Metadata Conventions, and NetCDF and GRIB data formats, as well as aiming to put in place a series of checks concerning the INSPIRE compliance of the data discovery services of the project, using the INSPIRE Validator tool. In the longer term, the team is aiming to extend their work on data quality and the KPIs for monitoring this to develop a system to measure and assess the FAIRness of the data held in the CDS.

Next steps...

Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash As this RDA Europe project grant is part of a larger initiative, work to promote the project has been underway from an early stage. Joan Sala from the BSC presented at the EOSC Symposium in Budapest and at the C3S General Assembly, both in November 2019. The BSC has been involved with the RDA in many other aspects in previous years; it is the host organisation for the RDA Spain National Node, it was involved in the RDA Europe 2.0 and 3.0 projects, and acted as the local organisers for the RDA Plenary 9 in Barcelona in 2017. Its continuing involvement in all things RDA means that this project is in a strong position to benefit from the connections afforded by the RDA community.

Find out more about the other RDA Europe 4.0 Adoption Projects here.

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