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A Brief History of ESRL/GSD Central Facility Data Services

Presented by: Bob Lipschutz

Hosted by: Bob Lipschutz

Date: January 16, 2019 10:00 am
Location: CIRA Director's Conference Room

Within the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL), the Global Systems Division (GSD) develops weather information systems, weather forecast models, and other applications in support of the National Weather Service, the Federal Aviation Administration, and other agencies. Well-known GSD products include the Rapid Refresh (RAP) and High Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) models, the Meteorological Assimilation Data Ingest System (MADIS), and Science on a Sphere® (SOS). In addition, GSD has had a foundational role in the creation and evolution of NWS’ AWIPS meteorological workstation system.


A common feature of many GSD projects is that they require observational and model data provided by systems running within GSD’s Central Facility (CF). The CF systems are largely developed and maintained by CIRA Associates in the Data Services Group (DSG) of the Information and Technology Services (ITS) branch. These systems currently handle some 4 TBytes of incoming data daily as they acquire, decode, store, transfer and distribute numerous data sets for GSD scientists, developers and collaborators.


While bearing little resemblance to the original PROFS system, fielded nearly 40 years ago by GSD’s progenitor organization, the systems running in today’s Central Facility can be traced directly back to those early days. This talk provides a brief look at the ambitious goals laid out in the original PROFS program documents, and the remarkable progression from primitive capabilities to the systems running now, as viewed by a data guy who witnessed and participated in the development of those systems.