Document Details

Title Software tools for automated synthesis of LTER, USGS and NOAA climate and hydrologic data
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A prerequisite for any study of altered ecosystems and ecosystem services is to understand historic conditions. For many studies this requires in-depth analysis of trends in past climatic conditions, often using data collected over large geographic regions. Long-term, spatially-extensive climate and hydrologic databases maintained by the LTER Network (ClimDB/HydroDB), USGS (National Water Information System) and NOAA (National Climatic Data Center) are valuable resources for such synthesis projects, but differences in data formats, attribute names and measurement units complicate integrating data from these databases and comparing results with local data. Conventional software used for data analysis, such as spreadsheets and statistical packages, provide few options for mitigating these semantic and syntactic differences; however, metadata-based analytical software developed by the Georgia Coastal Ecosystems LTER project - the GCE Data Toolbox - can significantly simplify this task. This toolbox, written using the platform-independent MATLAB programming language, contains easy-to-use graphical dialogs for retrieving data from any station in ClimDB/HydroDB and the USGS NWIS over the Internet as well as importing NOAA NCDC data downloaded manually. Column names, units and quality-control flags are automatically standardized as data are imported based on editable metadata templates and unit conversion tables provided with the software. After importing, data sets can be sub-sampled by removing unneeded columns and filtering records, or re-sampled by statistical aggregation and binning. Multiple data sets can then be integrated using metadata-based unions and relational joins to create synthetic data sets for analysis. Use of these tools, alone or as part of a larger data analysis workflow, could significantly enhance studies of long-term climate trends for evaluation of ecosystem alteration.

Contributors Wade M. Sheldon and Suzanne M. Remillard

Sheldon, W.M. and Remillard, S. 2006. Poster: Software tools for automated synthesis of LTER, USGS and NOAA climate and hydrologic data. Long Term Ecological Research Network All-Scientists Meeting, September 20-24, 2006, Estes Park, Colorado.

Key Words computer, hydrologic, LTER, LTER-IMC, NOAA, software, synthesis, USGS
File Date 2006
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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under grants OCE-9982133, OCE-0620959, OCE-1237140 and OCE-1832178. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.