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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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™.
Forest wildfire risk is increasing in the western United States. In the past five decades, large wildfire frequency and the area destroyed have risen by more than four and six times, respectively. The increased risk posed by wildfires has prompted scientists to try to assess wildfire risk to help inform whether to move people to safety before disastrous wildfires occur.
Last December, AWS announced the expansion of its collaboration with the U.S. NOAA to make environmental data easier to access and use through the Big Data Program. Users can now access new, authoritative NOAA data on AWS without needing to download and store their own copies. Researchers and entrepreneurs can deploy compute resources on-demand in the cloud, perform analysis quickly and efficiently, and save costs by letting researchers ask more questions and experiment more easily. One of the foundational datasets now available on AWS through this collaboration is Himawari-8, the Japan Meteorological Agency’s satellite dataset.