SIB-ESS-C - A Spatial Data Infrastructure to Facilitate Earth System Science in Siberia

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SIB-ESS-C - A SPATIAL DATA INFRASTRUCTURE TO FACILITATE EARTH SYSTEM SCIENCE IN SIBERIA Roman Gerlach, Christiane Schmullius, Sören Hese Institute for Geography, Dept. Earth Observation, Friedrich-Schiller-University, Grietgasse 6, 07743 Jena, Germany Email: [email protected] ABSTRACT The Siberian Earth System Science Cluster (SIB-ESSC) currently being established at the University of Jena (Germany) will be a Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) for remote sensing product generation, data dissemination and scientific data analysis to support Earth system science in Siberia. The initial set of products has been derived as part of the EU funded SIBERIA-II project (EVG2-2001-00008). These products cover a 300 Million ha region in central Siberia comprising maps of land cover, fire induced disturbances, phenology, snow depth, snow melt date, onset and duration of freeze and thaw, among others. The study region represents a significant part of the Earth’s boreal biome and is believed to play a critical role in global climate change in Northern Eurasia. Hence, a major goal of SIB-ESS-C is to continue product generation in order to build up time series. SIB-ESS-C will be implemented based on standards published by the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC™) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). 1.


The concept of spatial data infrastructures (SDI) as a tool for data management, dissemination and visualization has been widely recognized and numerous initiatives (e.g. INSPIRE, GSDI, GDI-DE) emerged to implement such systems. Major drivers in the development of SDI’s have been the standards published by the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC™), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) as well as the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Initially the prime objective of an SDI was to allow users to search for a geographic dataset utilizing a Catalog Service, access or download the data through a Web Feature/Coverage Service (WFS, WCS) and perhaps visualize it using a Web Map Service (WMS). These basic components may still form a comprehensive set for many applications, but within recent years more and more authors emphasized to incorporate also processing and analysis capabilities into SDI concepts [1][2][3][4]. Especially within the earth science community there has been strong interest to go beyond pure data sharing systems and develop distributed processing and analysis services. An active research topic is also the integration of simulation models into a distributed service _____________________________________________________ Proc. ‘Envisat Symposium 2007’, Montreux, Switzerland 23–27 April 2007 (ESA SP-636, July 2007)

architecture where single components can be connected or chained utilizing standard interfaces [4]. Based on these technical advancements the Siberian Earth System Science Cluster is being implemented. SIB-ESS-C is the follow-on activity to the EU funded SIBERIA-II project (Multi-Sensor Concepts for Greenhouse Gas Accounting of Northern Eurasia, EVG2-2001-00008) [5][6][7]. SIBERIA-II was a joint Russian-European remote sensing project that improved greenhouse gas accounting over a 300 Million ha area in the central Siberian region [8]. This area represents a significant part of the Earth’s boreal biome which plays a critical role in global climate change and has been defined as one of IGBP’s boreal transects representing a strong climate change hot spot in northern Eurasia. The overall objective of the SIBERIA-II project was to demonstrate the viability of full carbon accounting including greenhouse gases (GHG) on a regional basis using state-of-the-art environmental methods, biosphere modelling and advanced remote sensing technologies. The tools and systems which have been employed include a selected yet spectrally and temporally diverse set of 15 Earth observation datasets from 8 satellites, detailed GIS databases and some of the worlds most advanced Dynamic Global Vegetation Models (the LundPotsdam-Jena LPJ-DGVM and the Sheffield-DGVM) to account for fluxes between land and atmosphere. 2.


The SIBERIA-II region (Fig. 1) stretched from the Taymyr Peninsula in the north of Siberia to lake Baikal including the administrative entities of the Krasnoyarsk Kray, Irkutsk Oblast, Taymyr and Evenk Okrug. This area in central Siberia will be extended in SIB-ESS-C to the east and west.The extended region now stretches from the Ural to the Pacific covering the Ob-, Lenaand Yenissey river systems and the “far eastern federal districts” including the autonomous okrug/oblast of Amur, Jewish, Kamchatka, Korya, Khabarovsk, Magadan, Chukotka, Sakha and Primorsky (maritime) (Fig. 1). From an Earth system modeling perspective this larger region is much better representing the northern boreal biome. Most biosphere models already work on this scale and with areas that are much larger than the SIBERIA-II region. Extending the area to

deliver geo-observational products for monitoring and modeling the key processes. A better understanding of the above processes in turn improved the modeling approaches used in the project to address the key project scientific question: What is the current average greenhouse gas budget of the region and what is its spatial and temporal variability? How will it change under future climatic and anthropogenic impacts? To achieve the goals of the SIBERIA-II project, a diverse set of multi-sensor Earth observation data was used. The definitions of land surface products to be derived from EO data, their spatial and temporal scales have been driven by the project modeling approaches and also by their use as indicators of global change in the boreal region. Tab. 1 summarizes the main properties of the EO products derived in SIBERIA-II. Only with a multi-sensor approach could the diverse set of land surface parameters be achieved at spatial and temporal scales required by the modeling approaches for the entire SIBERIA-II project area. A more comprehensive presentation of the project can be found in [5][6][7] and [8]. For detailed product descriptions refer to [9][10][11][12][13][14].

cover the complete boreal region of northern Asia was therefore a needed extension.

Figure 1: SIB-ESS-C Study Region (red line), SIBERIA-II Study Region (green line) 3.


Northern Eurasia is home to several processes that are unique, greatly affected by climate change and likely to have big consequences for global climate. The objective of SIBERIA-II Earth observation was to

Table 1. SIBERIA-II Earth observation data products


EO Product


Temporal coverage

Spatial resolution

Spatial coverage

Partner responsible



2000-2003 annual

1km & 10km


Center for the Study of the Biosphere from Space (CESBIO), France



1992-2003 on yearly basis

1 km


Centre for Ecology and Hydrology Monks Wood, UK

Freeze/ Thaw





Water bodies





Snow Depth





Snow Melt




Land cover


2001-2004 annual





3arcsec 60° N


The objectives of the SIB-ESS-C project are to develop a spatial data infrastructure to facilitate Earth system science studies in central Siberia, to set up a web interface to provide access to data products created during the SIBERIA-II project, to continue remote

entire SIBERIA-II Region SIBERIA-II Region SIBERIA-II region

TU Wien, Institute of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (IPF),Austria TU Wien, Institute of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (IPF),Austria Center for the Study of the Biosphere from Space (CESBIO), France Center for the Study of the Biosphere from Space (CESBIO), France University of Wales Swansea, UK Gamma Remote Sensing, Switzerland

sensing data acquisition and product generation to build up time series for a larger region in Eurasia and to integrate additional products from other projects as well as from external collaborators. The final stage of SIB-ESS-C will provide online geo-visualization and analysis tools (including a biosphere/Earth system modelling interface) for integrated data analysis.



The overall design philosophy of SIB-ESS-C (fig. 2) follows three major principles: a) adhere to standards to ensure interoperability, b) utilize components that are well established in the Earth Science, Earth Observation and GIS communities and c) implement free and open source software components whenever possible. The core of SIB-ESS-C will be a PC cluster providing enough processing power for high volume remote sensing data processing and complex modeling tasks. Data products created on the cluster will be stored in a product database. A GeoServer will be implemented to provide data access through OGC compliant WFS [15]

and WCS [16] interfaces. Metadata will be kept in a PostgreSQL database following ISO19115 [17]. Metadata shall be retrieved through an OGC compliant Catalog Service [18]. At a later stage it is planned to set up a THREDDS Data Server [19] ensuring access and distribution of NetCDF, GRIB or HDF data sets that are widely used in the Earth science community. In order to manage the different data sources and to provide a single interface for data discovery and access the GI-Cat toolbox will be implemented [20]. All services offered by SIB-ESS-C will be embedded into a web based user interface. In the future SIB-ESS-C will be extended with comprehensive spatio-temporal analysis tools as well as model interfaces.

Figure 2. The Planned Siberian Earth System Science Cluster (SIB-ESS-C) architecture.



The technical implementation of SIB-ESS-C shall adhere to the following multi-stage concept: Stage 1: development of an online data repository including a metadata database and a web interface to enable users to search, (pre-)view and download existing datasets. Stage 2: set up of a computing cluster for operational processing of large quantities of remote sensing data ensuring continued product generation. The cluster will also include tools for data archiving, storage management and automatic metadata creation.

Stage 3: extension of SIB-ESS-C with comprehensive interactive online geo-visualization tools through a web interface: allowing users to analyse the information content of the data sets provided (GIS functionalities, cross-comparison of data products, extraction of results using maps, graphs, text files and real data) including triggering of Earth system model runs (using biosphere models from partner organisations). The last part of stage 3 (biosphere modelling) needs the design of various model-interfaces that allow the use of Earth observation products in biosphere modelling (has been started already in SIBERIA-II). Stage 4: following the principle of interoperability SIBESS-C is planned to become part of a distributed network of similar systems where not only data is

being distributed and shared, but also applications (e.g. analysis functionalities, processing modules) are being offered and used throughout the network. 7.


The Siberian Earth System Science Cluster (SIB-ESSC) currently being established will be a Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) for remote sensing product generation, data dissemination and scientific data analysis to support Earth system science in Siberia. SIB-ESS-C will be implemented based on standards published by the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC™) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). SIB-ESS-C Services contain: • Catalogue Service: providing meta data on products and procedures (search and find data), • Coverage Service: providing direct access to datasets available from SIB-ESS-C (access and download data), • Map Service: visualization of geographic datasets available from SIB-ESS-C, • Analysis Service: advanced visualization tools for integrated data analysis (integration of multiple data sets, spatially and temporally), • Biosphere Modelling Service based on various datasets (final stage of the SIB-ESS-C implementation) Access to data products is provided free of charge. The preliminary website address for information and news concerning SIB-ESS-C can be reached through 8.


The Siberian Earth System Science Cluster is being funded by the Friedrich-Schiller University Jena (Germany) for the period commencing January 2006 until December 2010. Funding is granted for hard- and software as well as labour cost. 9.


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