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21 April 2023 2921 reads

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Earth, Space, and Environmental Sciences & Climate Change Composed by: Lina Sitz (RDA/EOSC Future Ambassador for Earth System Physics/Data management)

RDA and The Arctic Data Community composed by: Jonas Koefoed Roemer (RDA/EOSC Future Ambassador for the Arctic Data Community, Ecosystems And Climate Change)

RDA and Microbiome research composed by: Stephanie Jurburg (RDA/EOSC Future Ambassador for Microbial Ecology)

Contributors: List TBA 
Comments requested: Please note that this is a new Discipline page, and it is open for comments from the RDA Community. To add your input please use the comments section below. 

Downloadable disciplinary info sheet: Earth, Space and Environmental Sciences Climate change in the Arctic 

Earth, space, and environmental science data

Welcome to the Earth, Space, and Environmental Sciences section of RDA for disciplines.

At RDA we bring together experts from across the Earth, space, and environmental science disciplines to advance open science and develop and promote principles and best practices that support our research and digital research objects. Here, you'll find a community of scientists, researchers, and practitioners who believe in the importance of open and collaborative research to tackle the complex challenges facing our planet and universe. By embracing principles of FAIR1 (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) data, CARE2 (Collective Benefit, Authority to Control, Responsibility, Ethics), TRUST3 (Transparency, Responsibility, User focus, Sustainability and Technology), software sharing, and Open Science4, we enhance the impact of our research and contribute to a more sustainable and equitable world.

Whether you are a seasoned professional or just starting out, RDAprovides numerous opportunities for you to connect with others in your field and other disciplines; share your research, data and software; and collaborate on interdisciplinary projects.

If you are not already an RDA member, join us today - it is free - and become a part of this growing community dedicated to advancing open science in Earth, Space, and Environmental Sciences. 


The Earth, space, and environmental sciences rely heavily on data to support research and decision-making. In our community, open and FAIR data are particularly important because they enable researchers to collaborate and build upon each other's work, leading to more impactful and informed research. Open and FAIR data also help to promote transparency and accountability, as well as support innovation and decision-making in areas such as environmental policy and management. 


Data that describes or observes indigenous peoples or are impactful to the indigenous community are guided by the CARE Principles for Indigenous Data Governance5. The Earth, space, and environmental sciences includes data about the land, atmosphere, and other natural phenomena and could include data about the people themselves. Where FAIR Guiding Principles focus on the machine-actionable capability of data; the CARE Principles are “people and purpose-oriented, reflecting the crucial role of data in advancing innovation, governance, and self-determination among Indigenous Peoples.” (Carroll, 2020)


Scientific repositories that support the Earth, space, and environmental science researchers provide services for curation, preservation, and making their holdings as findable, accessible, interoperable, reusable, and as open as possible providing researchers with the necessary services needed to make data open and FAIR. The TRUST principles help guide this critical research infrastructure.    

Open Science

As defined by UNESCO, Open Science is an inclusive construct that combines various movements and practices aiming to make multilingual scientific knowledge openly available, accessible and reusable for everyone, to increase scientific collaborations and sharing of information for the benefits of science and society, and to open the processes of scientific knowledge creation, evaluation and communication to societal actors beyond the traditional scientific community.

Through efforts and initiatives such as the Research Data Alliance (RDA), the Earth, Space, and Environmental Science community has made significant progress and continues to do so towards a future where data in these fields is more openly available and accessible, empowering greater use by all parts of our global society. This openness supports more informed and impactful outputs, whether in research, decision-making, commerce, or society as a whole.

Earth, space, and environmental science community and RDA:

The Earth, space, and environmental science community within the RDA is made up of experts from a variety of disciplines. These experts work together to advance the broad field and solve some of the world's most complex challenges related to the Earth, space, and the environment.

By joining this community within the RDA, individuals can connect with colleagues, collaborate on projects, and work on challenges our researchers are experiencing related to their data and other digital research products. The RDA provides a range of resources and tools to support the Earth, space, and environmental science community, including data management best practices and networking opportunities via Working Groups and Interest Groups.

The Earth, space, and environmental science community members are leaders and/or participants of many of RDA’s Working Groups, Interest Groups, Council, and Community of Practices. We represent our discipline in these groups working in collaboration, providing our expertise, and using what we learn to inform our work and help our community.  There are countless intersections possible as we engage across the RDA. Thank you for your interest, energy, and contributions.


1.Wilkinson, M., Dumontier, M., Aalbersberg, I. et al. The FAIR Guiding Principles for scientific data management and stewardship. Sci Data 3, 160018 (2016).


3.Lin, D., Crabtree, J., Dillo, I. et al. The TRUST Principles for digital repositories. Sci Data 7, 144 (2020).

4.(2021). UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science. UNESCO.  

5.Carroll, S, et al. 2020. The CARE Principles for Indigenous Data Governance. Data Science Journal, 19: XX, pp. 1–12. DOI:

Climate Change

Welcome to the subsection related to Climate Change.

Our mission is to bring together experts from various scientific disciplines to promote and advance the sharing, integration of data in the field of Climate Change research in a standardised, sustainable and transparent way.

As the world continues to face the growing challenge of climate change, it is more important than ever to have a comprehensive understanding of our planet and the forces that shape it. The Earth Sciences community is at the forefront of this effort, with scientists working tirelessly to understand the complex processes that govern our planet and the impact of human activities on its climate.

The following resources are a great starting point for those interested in Climate Change:

  1. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): This is the leading international body for the assessment of climate change and provides comprehensive information on the latest scientific findings, including reports, assessments, and special studies.

  1. The IPCC Interactive Atlas provides access to data and information on climate change impacts, vulnerability, and adaptation across different regions. The platform promotes data sharing and transparency, enabling users to explore, visualize and download data in a user-friendly way.

  1. The German Climate Computing Center (DKRZ) provides high-performance computing and data services to support climate research. DKRZ is a Regular Member of the WDS and hosts a long-term archive for climate-related data.

  1. The CEDA Archive is a data repository that provides long-term storage and access to a wide range of Earth observation, atmospheric science and climate data, supporting research and analysis of the impacts of climate change.

  1. Climate Copernicus: Provides accurate and up-to-date information on climate change and its impacts, using data and analysis from the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S).

  1. European Environment Agency (EEA): The European Environment Agency provides information on the environment and climate change in Europe, and promotes cooperation between countries to protect and improve the environment.

  1. The Climate-ADAPT platform: The European Climate Adaptation Platform Climate-ADAPT is a partnership between the European Commission and the European Environment Agency (EEA). Climate-ADAPT aims to facilitate Europe's adaptation to climate change by providing access to information and data on expected climate change, vulnerability of regions and sectors, adaptation strategies and actions, case studies, and planning tools.

  1. The European Space Agency (ESA) Climate Change Initiative (CCI): This program aims to ensure the long-term preservation of essential climate data records from Earth Observation satellites.

  1. The Earth System Grid Federation (ESGF): The Earth System Grid Federation (ESGF) Peer-to-Peer (P2P) enterprise system is a collaboration that develops, deploys and maintains software infrastructure for the management, dissemination, and analysis of model output and observational data. ESGF's primary goal is to facilitate advancements in Earth System Science. It is an interagency and international effort co-funded by the Department of Energy (DOE) and IS-ENES.

  1. The World Climate Research Programme (WCRP): This is a collaborative program of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the International Council for Science (ICSU) that aims to coordinate and promote climate research addressing frontier scientific questions related to the coupled climate system.

  1. NASA Climate Change: A website dedicated to providing information and resources on Earth's climate, including current conditions and long-term trends, and the causes and consequences of climate change.

  1. The Global Change Master Directory (GCMD): This is a searchable database of Earth science data sets and services provided by NASA.

  1. The National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI): This is an archive of climate and weather data and provides access to data and information on various aspects of the Earth's climate.

  1. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) website dedicated to providing climate information, tools, and resources to the public.

  1. The ICOS Carbon Portal: is a web platform dedicated to advancing the understanding of the global carbon cycle through providing open access to high-quality greenhouse gas data and supporting tools and services for scientific research, policy development, and public engagement.

  1.  The Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) user facility is a multi-laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) scientific user facility, and a key contributor to national and international climate research efforts.

  1. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) investigates the causes and consequences of climate change and helps people create strategies to navigate this global crisis - The USGS National Climate Change Viewer (NCCV) includes the historical (1950-2005) and future (2006-2099) climate and water balance projections derived from 20 downscaled CMIP5 climate models for the RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 emissions scenarios.

About the author: Lina Sitz is the RDA/EOSC Domain Ambassador for Earth System Physics/Data management, supported by the Domain Ambassador programme of the EOSC Future project.

RDA and The Arctic Data Community

This page focuses on FAIR data and open science in the interdisciplinary arctic data community. The aim is to create an entry point to dive deeper into the work that is taking place in this field to make data FAIR and useful for a wide audience. Anyone interested to contribute are welcome to contact RDA with requests for additions or changes to the page. At first the focus is on northern arctic data. Recently, increasing attention is seen with regards to integrating northern arctic data with southern antarctic data, so eventually this page should be expanded or supplemented with a new disciplinary page on antarctic data.

The arctic is an interesting, special and fragile region that poses its own unique needs, opportunities and challenges when it comes to data: Geopolitically many nations pursue their own interests, research and exploration in the arctic and its resources. The progress of data sharing and open science collaboration relies on stability and friendliness of diplomatic connections between countries of very different culture. The native populations of the arctic are small compared to its vast size, but their inherent rights and interests for inclusion should always be a consideration. Climatologically the arctic is a key place to study climate change: Due to increased melting of the snow and ice covers in the arctic, temperature increase and its effects accelerates faster here than the global warming average. This is in part because of a positive feedback loop with less and less reflection of solar energy. This again leads to melting tundras releasing the greenhouse gasses CO2 and methane. Still, the arctic remains a region with long dark winters with harsh conditions, follow by short, but highly productive arctic summers. This means that many types of data are collected mainly during the summer half of the year in field campaigns by visiting scientists - at field stations, on research vessels, with drones and by other inventive means. It's also at this time that automatic loggers can be visited and maintained, possibly repaired after winters conditions. Even in summer, field campaigns are expensive and results are uncertain due to the remoteness and limited infrastructure in the arctic and quick changes in weather.

Interdisciplinary research and pan-arctic collaboration is key to both efficient data collection and field campaigns, as well as for monitoring and understanding the effects of climate change. This was also highlighted at the 2023 Arctic Science Summit Week - Science Symposium, themed "The Arctic in the Anthropocene", especially well elaborated in the IASC Medal Lecture: "Towards a holistic understanding of the contemporary and future Arctic Ocean" (Paul Wassmann (UiT The Arctic University of Norway), 2023).

Current FAIR data challenges that are shared with other disciplines and can be addressed via RDA, include:

  • Big data: Remote sensing, drone imagery, modelling outputs often do not fit well into existing open data infrastructures. 
  • Integrating interdisciplinary data with standards and shared vocabularies. 
  • Going from open data to open science. 
  • Fragmented and duplicate solutions towards open data and open science from different institutions and nations.

Important organizations 

In the following you will find an overview of disciplinary organizations and groups that influences the arctic data community, as well as entry points for searching for FAIR arctic data. 

International Arctic Science Committee (IASC): 

"The International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) is a non-governmental, international scientific organization. The Founding Articles committed IASC to pursue a mission of encouraging and facilitating cooperation in all aspects of Arctic research, in all countries engaged in Arctic research and in all areas of the Arctic region. Overall, IASC promotes and supports leading-edge interdisciplinary research in order to foster a greater scientific understanding of the Arctic region and its role in the Earth system." (IASC Website, 2023.

Arctic Council 

"The leading intergovernmental forum promoting cooperation in the Arctic. Work is currently paused in the Arctic Council as a consequence of the Russian invasion of Ukraine." (Arctic Council Website, 2023.

Initiatives and Working groups on FAIR arctic data 

Invaluable projects with technical and standard forming groups, where like-minded individuals inspire each other and work towards solutions for FAIR arctic data, include: 

Arctic Data Committee: "The overarching purpose of the ADC is to promote and facilitate international collaboration towards the goal of free, ethically open, sustained and timely access to Arctic data

through useful, usable, and interoperable systems." (Arctic Data Committee Website, 2023.

QGreenland: "A free mapping tool to support interdisciplinary Greenland-focused research, teaching, decision making, and collaboration.Combines key datasets into a unified, all-in-one GIS analysis and visualization environment for offline and online use. An international Editorial Board and Project Collaborators connects the QGreenland Team to data and user communities." (QGreenland Website, 2023.

INTERACT - International Network for Terrestrial Research and Monitoring in the Arctic: INTERACT is an infrastructure project under the auspices of SCANNET, an arctic network of 70 terrestrial field bases (formerly 89, but collaboration with Russia is currently on hold) in northern Europe, US, Canada, Greenland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Scotland as well as stations in northern alpine areas. INTERACT specifically seeks to build capacity for research and monitoring all over the Arctic, and is offering access to numerous research stations through the Transnational Access Program." (INTERACT Website, 2023.

Not all of these fora are open to general participation without invitation, but if you work with arctic data it's likely your institution has connections to the projects or can establish it. Visiting the sites you should be able to find possible contacts.

Federated search and data 

These are key projects that have established standards based metadata harvesters, to build arctic data portals where you can search across individual data repositories: 

  • POLDER: Polar Data Discovery Enhancement Research - - operates the Polder Federated Search Tool 
  • INTERACT: International Network for Terrestrial Research and Monitoring in the Arctic https://eu - Operates the INTERACT Data Portal - Virtual Access Single Entry Point
  • SIOS: Svalbard Integrated Arctic Earth Observing System - operates the SIOS Data Access Portal

About the author: Jonas Koefoed Roemer is the RDA/EOSC Arctic Data Community, Ecosystems And Climate Change supported by the Domain Ambassador programme of the EOSC Future project.

RDA and Microbiome research

While the existence of bacteria has been known for over three centuries, the ability to study entire bacterial communities is relatively novel. By extracting and sequencing nucleic acids from host or environmental samples, microbial ecologists can characterize a microbiome’s taxonomic diversity. Ever-improving sequencing technologies have altered our relationship to microbes, highlighting their diversity, ubiquity, and relevance, and generating massive amounts of microbiome sequences. 

Microbiome sequence data has a long history (>30 years) of being publicly archived, along with technical and experimental metadata, in the International Nucleotide Sequence Database Collaboration, a joint effort from national sequence databases in Japan (DDBJ), United States (NCBI SRA), and Europe (EBI ENA). These databases are synchronized daily, and grant free, public, and unrestricted access to petabytes of sequence data to users around the world. 

The greatest challenges faced by sequence-based microbiome data archiving are the large size of raw sequence data files, the rapidly changing technologies 

Microbiome Research in RDA

Within the RDA, the Life Science Data Infrastructures IG has sought to integrate omics data with data produced by other techniques in the life sciences. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the RDA COVID-19 Omics subgroup of the RDA-COVID-19 working group has sought to develop guidelines on archiving primary data (including software and code) in omics research. The FAIRsharing WG continues to provide useful outputs for all research areas including Microbiology and microbiome research:

  1. The FAIRsharing Registry,

    1. Microbiology and microbiome resource descriptions within FAIRsharing

    2. Is FAIRsharing missing any microbiome standards, databases or policies? If so, please register them with FAIRsharing to enhance their visibility and discoverability.

  2. The FAIRsharing Community Champions,

    1. Launched under the auspices of the RDA / EOSC Future Domain Ambassadorship programme

    2. Includes representatives from a number of RDA WGs and EOSC clusters.

    3. Are you an expert in microbiomes and believe you can contribute to FAIRsharing? If so, please consider joining the community champions.

Useful links and resources

About the author: Stephanie Jurburg is the RDA/EOSC Future Ambassador for Microbial Ecology, supported by the Domain Ambassador programme of the EOSC Future project.