AWS Public Sector Blog

Category: Sustainability

Hurricane imagery acquired by NOAA RSD

Open data helps recovery in the aftermath of devastating weather events

Severe and extreme weather events not only wreak havoc on lives, property and the economy, but the extent of the destruction and devastation left behind can be difficult to map and quantify. Having high resolution imagery of areas devastated by weather events (hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and etc.) helps to characterize impacts, formulate needed recovery and response activities, support emergency managers in saving lives, and restart the flow of commerce. NOAA’s data plays a critical role in this process. As part of ASDI, we invited Jena Kent from NOAA’s Big Data Program to share how AWS is helping with disaster response by providing access to aerial data and imagery through open data initiatives.

Read More
SD 1020 approaches Point Bluff, New Zealand in stormy conditions after finishing the first Saildrone Antarctic Circumnavigation, sailing 22,000 kilometers around the Southern Ocean in 196 days.

Collecting data in remote oceans with a cost-efficient, scalable, and flexible infrastructure

Saildrone builds and operates a fleet of unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) designed to collect high-resolution oceanographic and atmospheric data in remote oceans. Known as saildrones, each vehicle can stay at sea for up to 12 months, transmitting real-time data via satellite. The data collected is used to inform climate models and extreme weather prediction, maritime domain awareness, maps and charts, and sustainable management of resources. Using clean, renewable wind and solar power, saildrones provide access to the world’s oceans at a fraction of the cost of traditional ship-based methods, while drastically reducing the carbon footprint of global ocean observation.

Read More
birds eye view of forest evergreen trees; Photo by John O'Nolan on Unsplash

Mission: Meeting environmental sustainability goals

From renewable energy projects around the globe to reducing water usage in data centers to the Amazon Sustainability Data Initiative (ASDI), improving environmental sustainability is possible with the cloud. By using the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud, organizations can achieve both their missions and their environmental sustainability goals. At AWS, we are committed to running our business in the most environmentally friendly way possible. Read on to learn from AWS experts on why it is greener in the cloud as well as from customers on how the cloud has reduced their carbon footprint, paper usage, and waste.

Read More
NOAA

50 years of innovation: How open data is supporting NOAA’s “science, service, and stewardship” mission

This month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) celebrates 50 years of “science, service, and stewardship.” Over the past five decades, NOAA has demonstrated its ability to push the boundaries of technological innovation to collect and understand data, as well as share that knowledge and information with others. AWS supports NOAA’s mission, in particular by providing public access to the agency’s environmental datasets since 2015 through the Registry of Open Data on AWS.

Read More
frozen river with waterfall in woods

Addressing environmental challenges with the AWS Cloud

Azavea believes in the power of geospatial technology to improve communities and the planet. Azavea has been exploring the power of this technology to help their clients to answer complex questions in a wide range of domains from urban ecosystems, infrastructure planning, and economic development to water, energy, and climate change. As part of the Amazon Sustainability Data Initiative (ASDI), we invited Jessica Cahail, product manager at Azavea, to share how her organization is using AWS and open data to develop tools that help users address environmental challenges and deliver knowledge to support decision making.

Read More
cloud horizon

Building cloud-based community knowledge about machine learning to predict and understand extreme weather

The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the National Science Foundation. It engages in large-scale Earth system science research projects in collaboration with the broader university community. NCAR hosts visitors from around the world, develops community models including the Community Earth System Model and the Weather Research and Forecasting Model, and maintains supercomputers, observational systems, and aircraft to support further study on the how the planet works. As part of the Amazon Sustainability Data Initiative, we invited Dr. David John Gagne, machine learning (ML) scientist at NCAR, to share how open data and machine learning on AWS are impacting the way we predict and understand extreme weather.

Read More
low angle of tree tops

Promoting biodiversity conservation with open data and the cloud

Working with a network of 100 biodiversity information centers and 1,000 conservation scientists, NatureServe identifies and understands the most important places to prevent species extinction and ecosystem loss. They provide land use decision-makers in federal and state agencies, industry, academics, and nonprofits with information to meet both regulatory and biodiversity conservation needs. NatureServe and its network collect and maintain data on the conservation status and location of threatened and endangered species, developed over decades of field data collection. But these data have been underutilized in environmental review decision-making processes due to challenges surrounding awareness, access, and reliable or seamless integration with other systems. To address these challenges, they developed an online spatially explicit tool on AWS.

Read More
Ocean skyline

Improving our knowledge about the oceans by providing cloud-based access to large datasets

As a physical oceanographer focused on remote sensing, Dr. Chelle Gentemann, senior scientist at Farallon Institute, has worked for over 20 years on retrievals of ocean temperature from space. She uses measurements of sea surface temperature from satellites to understand how the ocean impacts our lives. Chelle’s work requires analysis of large volumes of data, which requires access to large data storage and computational resources. Although most large research institutions can secure those IT resources, that is not the case for smaller organizations or underserved communities around the world. As part of the Amazon Sustainability Data Initiative, we invited Dr. Gentemann to share her perspective on the value of hosting high-resolution climate data on AWS.

Read More
city traffic with train overpass

Enabling rapid COVID-19 and air pollution analysis across the globe with OpenAQ and AWS

Unravelling the relationship between COVID-19 and air pollution is vital for protecting public health. For example, preliminary works suggest that those living in environments with polluted air are significantly more likely to be adversely affected by COVID-19. At the same time, air pollution is already known to cause an estimated one out of every eight deaths globally. The decrease in human activities due to COVID-19 lockdowns across the world has people wondering how air pollution levels are being impacted—and what valuable public health and policy lessons we can learn.

Read More
Flooding in Venice, Italy. Photo courtesy Jonathan Ford

Communicating a national flood risk assessment using AWS

The First Street Foundation is dedicated to communicating the flood and inundation risks posed by a changing environment, with an emphasis on allowing Americans to discover and understand those risks. By building awareness, our hope is that every individual is empowered to take steps to reduce their risk exposure to flooding, as well as that of their communities—today and in the future. First Street created a nationwide assessment of flood risk for the CONUS and DC, and is now sharing that assessment through Flood Factor™.

Read More