The German Remote Sensing Data Center of DLR has been the location of the World Data Center for Remote Sensing of the Atmosphere (WDC-RSAT) since 2003. This function is being performed under a mandate of the International Council for Science (ICSU), and since 2009 of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The DFD Atmosphere department coordinates the functions of WDC-RSAT, which is managed as an internal DLR project with the participation of several EOC departments (DFD-Atmosphere, DFD-Information Technology, DFD-International Ground Segment, IMF-Atmospheric Processors, IMF-Experimental Methods).
Since 2006 WDC-RSAT has been supported by an external advisory board composed of one representative each from ESA, DWD, HGF and DLR. In 2009 this board was expanded to include one representative each from EUMETSAT, WMO and NASA.
Data and information products, in most cased based on satellite measurements, are archived, documented and made freely available to the international scientific community via an easy-to-use Internet portal. Besides DLR’s own data and information products based primarily on European missions (such as ENVISAT, ERS-2, MetOp, MSG), access to practically all existing satellite-based information sources worldwide is possible (“one-stop-shop”). For example, a Letter of Agreement has been concluded with NASA to regulate mutual data exchange. A corresponding Memorandum of Understanding with the WMO was signed already in 2009. In addition, WDC-RSAT is to be linked to the WMO Information System WIS. The result of a recent evaluation of all World Data Centers conducted by ICSU placed WDC-RSAT in the top group and it is the desire of ICSU that it join other selected ICSU-WDCs in a pilot project to develop and implement a data platform for GEO. WDC-RSAT is a component of the GEO realms “Disasters,” “Health,” “Energy” and “Climate.” WDC-RSAT is, in addition, to be expanded to become a portal for satellite-based measurements for CEOS-ACC, with a view to GEO. Because of its links to ICSU, WMO and CEOS, WDC-RSAT is in an internationally recognized and visible position and will accordingly play a leading role in GEOSS.
Together with the ICSU WDCs Marine Environmental Sciences (MARE, Host: Alfred Wegener Institute), Climate (KLIMA, Hosts: Max Planck Institute of Meteorology in Hamburg and the Deutsches Klimarechenzentrum) and the candidate WDC for Lithospheric Research and Geodesy (TERRA, Host: Geoforschungszentrum Potsdam), WDC-RSAT forms a WDC earth system research association at the national level. It is the intent of ICSU to expand this association in the context of GEO. On behalf of the German National Library of Science and Technology (TIB) in Hannover and with support from the German Research Association (DFG), WDC-RSAT fills the function of a so-called data publication agent. WDC-RSAT and its partners are also developing concepts for establishing GRID technology with the support of the federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
On behalf of the Bavarian State Ministry of the Environment and Public Health, WDC-RSAT is to install and operate a data analysis center for the environmental research station Schneefernerhaus (UFS). The intent is to make available to UFS researchers the measurement data of the UFS and satellite-based data and information products via a link to WDC-RSAT. In addition, access to selected atmosphere models and special services (such as GIS functions, extraction and blending functions, Google-Earth link-up) are to be offered.
Finally, WDC-RSAT is the communication and data platform for the international ground Network for the Detection of Mesopause Change, NDMC. NDMC presently focuses on monitoring the upper mesosphere (ca. 80-100 km altitude) with the participation of 47 science institutions from 21 countries at present.