Semantic Interoperability of Flux Data

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26 Jan 2021

Semantic Interoperability of Flux Data

Submitted by Anusuriya Devaraju

Meeting objectives: 

Research Infrastructures (RIs) play a critical role by enabling excellent science by observing the environment and providing scientific data.  Environmental data such as carbon, water and energy fluxes are fundamental to understanding ecosystem processes and their feedback to atmospheric boundary layers' dynamics.  These fluxes and their environmental drivers are captured by ‘best community practices’, instruments and procedures  operated by most environmental RIs.  Different data representations currently pose barriers to semantic data interoperability and data exchange across regional-to-continent-to-global observation programs.  The metadata of flux data (e.g., essential variables, UoM, instruments, and platforms) must be in a form that can be processed by machines with minimal human intervention, in the spirit of the FAIR principles. The partnership among RIs to standardize the semantic descriptions of flux data is essential to facilitate national and international research collaborations and enable national- to global-scale problem-solving. This effort is in line with one of the goals of the Global Ecosystem Research Infrastructure (GERI), and will further develop existing work the standardisation of flux data (e.g., by FLUXNET).

The objectives of this BoF session are to:

  • Bring together different RIs that are part of FLUXNET networks and GERI to review progress made and identify barriers and opportunities towards establishing the semantic descriptions of flux data (i.e., variable names, variable attributes);

  • Identify the gaps and opportunities to enable interoperable flux data through semantic-based solutions;

  • Explore ways to continue the partnership among the RIs to enable flux-data interoperability, e.g., establish an Interest Group of RDA.

Final report of the session:


Meeting agenda: 
  • Introduction to BoF
  • Invited and Lightning talks about semantic interoperability work undertaken in the Flux community
    • (Invited Talk) A short introduction to FLUXNET (and the data issues challenges we set out to solve…) : Dario Papale, Claudio D’onofrio, Deb Agarwal, Daniella Christianson, Christopher Florian, David Durden, Stefan Metzger
    • Management and Interoperability of TERENO Flux Data : Ralf Kunkel
    • TERN Ecosystem Process Flux Tower Data : Peter Isaac
    • Flux Data Standards : Deb Agarwal
    • Flux Data within the South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON) and the associated EFTEON Research Infrastructure : Gregor Feig, Bryan McAlister 
  • Group Discussions and Feedback
  • Next Steps

The representatives of the FLUXNET networks and GERI (e.g., TERN, ICOS, NEON, AmeriFlux, TERENO, SAEON and NEON) will introduce their work on flux-data interoperability and associated impediments. The group discussion will focus on the following topics and be encouraged through an interactive discussion (Miro board).

  • Existing initiatives on interoperability of flux data

  • Standard representation and management of variables, instruments and platform

  • Motivation of sharing data between RIs

  • Critical concepts of semantics and semantic ontologies in flux data integration

  • Use cases on the applications of flux data integration

  • Identify prototyping and test-bed activities

  • Establish ‘next steps’

The discussion will also delve into alignment with related RDA IGs/WGs.

Type of Meeting: 
Informative meeting
Short introduction describing any previous activities: 

The proposed BoF is a continuation of previous BoF ( but with specific focus on semantic interoperability of flux measurements across RIs. 

BoF applicant serving as contact person: 
Meeting presenters: 
Dario Papale, Deb Agarwal, Cacilia Ewenz, Mirko Karan, Christopher Florian, David Durden, Stefan Metzger, Gregor Feig, Bryan McAlister, Ralf Kunkel
Avoid conflict with the following group (1): 
Contact for group (email): 
Applicable Pathways: