Higher temperatures, wilder weather, melting glaciers, rising sea levels, and thawing permafrost represent just a few of the shifting conditions on Earth that signal climate change. Carbon dioxide (CO2) or greenhouse gas emissions from daily human activities are major contributing factor to climate change. Between transportation, electricity production, industry, agriculture, forestry, and more, the US alone emits an estimated 6,677 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent a year.
In response, companies around the world are pledging to implement more sustainable practices. For example, Amazon co-founded The Climate Pledge in 2019, a demonstration of its commitment to achieve net zero carbon across Amazon’s business by 2040, ten years ahead of the Paris Agreement. International software technology company Intertrust, an AWS Partner, is working to help the world better understand the impacts of CO2 emissions and how subtle changes in daily activities could lead to positive change . Using Amazon Web Services (AWS), it’s developed View 2020, a tool designed to help companies, communities, scientists, and countries to track global climatology trends and gauge air quality on a granular level.
View 2020 is a set of online dashboards that track and monitor a range of climate and air quality data over time. Using interactive maps and graphs, the View 2020 Air Quality Dashboard captures fluctuations in global air quality over the last four years. These visualizations effectively show the stark impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on global air quality levels. The climate team at Intertrust will soon be updating the Air Quality Dashboard to include fine grained station-based air quality data. In addition to air quality, the View 2020 Climatology Dashboard charts global climatology dating back to the 1970s. Users can filter by date, geography and climate variable to effectively understand how our climate has changed over time, both globally and on a country-by-country basis.
“View 2020 is a data-driven application that provides a realistic view of our changing climate. This insight is sorely needed in a world where the climate crisis is increasingly politicized and sensationalized by the media. The tool is deliberately easy-to-use, making it comprehensible for people regardless of their level of climate knowledge,” said Kezia Wright, Head of Climate and Sustainability at Intertrust.
View 2020 is built on Intertrust’s Planet OS Datahub, a climate and weather data catalog. Intertrust’s Planet OS Datahub uses Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) for data storage, which provides the reliability and scalability to grow the platform in technical complexity and in bare data volumes, according to Andres Luhamaa, Data Integration Engineer and Climate Data Expert at Intertrust. View 2020 uses data from Planet OS’s Datahub to populate the Dashboards. Both Planet OS Datahub and View 2020 are ultimately designed to make climate data easier to access and use.
Planet OS Datahub has revolutionized how companies access climate data. Previously, an organization looking to access a range of weather variables would have to jump through hoops to obtain it. For example, if an energy company wanted to know the wave height and wind speed across an international network of wind farms, the company might approach individual data providers for each geographical location in question, then piece together the data. Planet OS Datahub and View 2020 eliminate these steps by providing a curated catalog of more than 2,000 climate and weather variables from data providers including Copernicus (European Union’s Earth observation program), NASA, NOAA, Global Systems Laboratory and Meteo-France. Data is made available via a single application programming interface (API), and is searchable by geography, time frame, and climate variable.
Australian agricultural technology developer The Yield, uses data from Intertrust’s Planet OS DataHub catalog to develop tools that help farmers increase crop yield and aid environmental sustainability, while also reducing waste and mitigating the risk and costs associated with bad weather. Planet OS Datahub is also used by energy companies who need access to historical and forecast weather data. For example, RWE Renewables’ Gwynt y Môr, one of the world’s largest offshore wind farms, has been able to streamline operations and maintenance using data from the Planet OS Datahub, in combination with a cloud-based tool that delivers an interactive view of the wind turbines. With these technologies, RWE Renewables can acquire and visualize weather data from multiple operational systems including IoT data, turbine SCADA, and observed and predicted weather conditions.
Intertrust also collaborates closely with the AWS Open Data team to mine relevant datasets from the AWS Open Data archives as it curates open datasets across View 2020 and Planet OS Datahub. Symbiotically, the Planet OS Datahub dataset is mirrored on the AWS Open Data archive. Together, the two envisioned one of the most valuable, in-demand weather datasets today dubbed ERA5, which they’ve highlighted through open code examples, notebooks and blog posts.
“Our collaboration with AWS is essential to both Planet OS Datahub and View 2020. We relay feedback from our users to the AWS Open Data team where relevant, and also accept insights from AWS users as well, all which help drive our platforms forward,” said Eneli Toodu, Data Integration Engineer at Planet OS. “By engaging with AWS Open Data users, we’re able to learn more about their data usage patterns and harness those insights to optimize datasets for more efficient consumption, like providing an alternative to NetCDF – ZARR formatting which that fits cloud-based access models better.”
As Amazon strives to build a more sustainable business for its customers and the planet, the data that Intertrust has made available via the Planet OS Datahub and View 2020 will be instrumental. As Kezia concludes, “The data aggregated by Planet OS and View2020 has the potential to inform a global response to the climate and biodiversity crises. But data is only one part of the picture, we also need action – urgent action. So, we encourage people to use Planet OS to develop useful and creative solutions to global environmental issues.”
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