AWS Public Sector Blog

Category: Sustainability

How the cloud is helping remove barriers to addressing climate change

What if we were to democratize access to data and compute so that anyone, anywhere in the world could contribute to climate science? The Amazon Sustainability Data Initiative (ASDI) seeks to accelerate sustainability research and innovation by minimizing the cost and time required to acquire and analyze large sustainability datasets. ASDI supports innovators and researchers with the data, tools, and technical expertise they need to advance sustainability initiatives. ASDI is committed to making climate-relevant data easier to access and analyze. ASDI’s growing data catalog comprises petabytes of open data.

aerial view of green field and fog

Now available: CMIP6 dataset to foster climate innovation and study the impact of future climate conditions

Today, Amazon announced that it is now hosting petabytes of data from the largest and most updated climate simulation dataset in the world. Through two cloud grants from the Amazon Sustainability Data Initiative (ASDI) to the Earth System Grid Federation (ESGF), Amazon is enabling climate researchers worldwide to access and analyze the dataset used for the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report (IPCC-AR6) on the AWS Cloud. The report—scheduled to be published in May 2022—provides policymakers worldwide with the latest assessment of the scientific basis of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for adaptation and mitigation. The climate simulation dataset, also known as the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 (CMIP6) data archive, traditionally hosted and distributed through the ESGF servers, aggregates the climate models created across approximately 30 working groups and 1,000 researchers working on IPCC-AR6.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.