Open Cloud Consortium Collaborates With NOAA to Release Environmental Data

Open Cloud Consortium's data alliance will make finding and accessing NOAA data easier, driving discovery

April 29, 2015

4 Min Read


Chicago, IL. April 28, 2015 – The Open Cloud Consortium (OCC) is pleased to announce an agreement with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to make more of NOAA’s extensive environmental data available to the public. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker presented attendees with a first glimpse of the potential these collaborations offer on April 21st during a keynote at the American Meteorological Society’s Washington Forum. The OCC data alliance will leverage existing partnerships in the research, nonprofit, and commercial community, along with the OCC’s pioneering experience building, managing, and curating “data commons” and their surrounding ecosystems to implement the administration’s vision of open data access.

"NOAA is America's environmental intelligence agency, producing over 20 terabytes of data every day. These new agreements are a novel way to make our data available to industry and the public, so they can innovate to produce valuable new products and services, " said Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, NOAA Administrator and Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere.

"Ease of access to NOAA’s wealth of climate, weather, and environmental data will have an enormous impact on researchers across many disciplines. The purpose of the Open Cloud Consortium (OCC) collaboration with NOAA is to make finding and accessing this data easier for the academic, non-profit, and research communities, to enable scientific analysis and to drive discovery," said Dr. Robert Grossman, director of the Open Cloud Consortium.

The OCC has managed data commons with open source architecture as part of the Open Science Data Cloud (OSDC) ecosystem since 2010.  Data commons co-locate data, storage and computing infrastructure, and commonly used tools for analyzing and sharing data.

“NOAA’s data is one of the fundamental sources of data for researchers that describes the world around us,” said Tom Schenk Jr., Chicago’s Chief Data Officer. “The agency collects data that impacts each one of Chicago’s residents. Improving out ability to access this data will help us predict a range of activities, from economic activity to downed trees. Through OCC, we’ll be better-equipped to provide real-time analytics that can improve our city.”

The OSDC currently offers a petabyte-scale data commons encompassing a wide array of disciplines including 1000 Genomes Project data, NASA’s Modis and Landsat satellite images, the General Social Survey, Project Gutenberg, and many others. Like the NOAA datasets that will be selected by members of the OCC alliance for redistribution, this data is freely available to download or via APIs. Individuals and groups with OSDC resource allocations can conduct analysis or build data products without having to transfer datasets to their local environments.

Public availability of this data is important not only for Earth science and environmental studies, but also for studies of human health, social behavior, economic impact, and urban development.  For example, researchers involved with Project Matsu, an OCC collaboration with NASA for processing satellite data, are interested in combining different sources of Earth science data to improve the prediction of floods for regions such as Namibia, which are prone to floods and do not have the regional resources for such efforts themselves.

The NOAA alliance will be managed as part of the OCC’s Open Science Data Cloud Working Group.

Interested parties are invited to join the OCC alliance planning meeting on June 2nd in downtown Chicago.   In the meeting, the alliance will gather requirements from the community for datasets to be hosted, prioritize key middleware services, and develop a roadmap for the alliance.  

·       To learn more about the initiative visit NOAA’s data alliance site:

·       To see NOAA's announcement visit:

·       To find out how get involved with OCC's NOAA data alliance or attend the June 2nd meeting in Chicago: [email protected].

·       For more information about joining the OCC visit:

About the Open Cloud Consortium

 The Open Cloud Consortium (OCC) is a not-for-profit managing and operating cloud computing infrastructure to support scientific, medical, healthcare, and environmental research.  OCC members span the globe and include universities, private companies, and government agencies and national laboratories.


Walt Wells

[email protected]
Open Cloud Consortium

c/o Matter

222 W. Merchandise Mart Plaza, Suite 1230

Chicago, IL   60654

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