The Earth System Grid Federation (ESGF) is a virtual, collaborative environment that links climate centers and users around the world to models and data via a computing grid powered by the world’s supercomputing resources and the Internet.
ESGF facilitates Earth system science and also provides an essential infrastructure for scientists to evaluate models through a common interface, regardless of the data’s location.
ESGF began at Livermore in the mid-1990s a climate-dedicated cyber environment called the Earth System Grid, used to move data among Department of Energy sites. Livermore researchers continue to play a key role in ensuring the utility and longevity of its successor. Today, ESGF serves more than 25,000 users, including scientists and policymakers, and provides them access to large volumes of data—5 petabytes and growing.
Using a system of geographically distributed peer nodes—independently administered yet united by common protocols and interfaces—the ESGF community maintains the premier collection of simulations and observational and reanalysis data for climate change research. ESGF is also in the early stages of being adapted for use in two additional domains: biology (to accelerate drug design and development) and energy (state-level energy infrastructure).