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DataCube for peatlands demonstrator


The broad goal of this project was to understand and work through the limitations of getting access to Earth observation (EO) data for scientific groups that are not familiar or do not have the expertise in processing EO datasets. 

The demonstrator focused on access and use of Earth observation data to study the UK’s peatlands, working with scientists at the Universities of Reading and Durham.

The overall aim was to help the UK Space Agency to understand the barriers to the use of EO data, particularly with respect to Climate Change Initiative (CCI) datasets available through the Centre for Environmental Data Analysis (CEDA). CEDA runs the UK’s national data centre for atmospheric and Earth observation research.

The potential of this work is that Assimila could develop and maintain an operational DataCube for research purposes that serves all datasets available through CEDA.

The main requirement in the project was to provide easy access to key EO datasets that allow the characterisation and assessment over time of peatland conditions, e.g. after a fire has occurred assess the vegetation recovery.

Assimila has developed and adapted existing infrastructure to support the new datasets needed for the demonstrator. We also provided a simple user interface based on a Jupyter Notebooks.

The demonstrator allows simple access to land surface parameters for end users, focussing on extraction of time series. The work involved:

  • Collection, transfer to local storage and metadata extraction and cataloguing for MODIS Vegetation Indices (MOD13A1), Albedo (MCD43A3) and Land Surface Temperature (LST) (MOD11A1) products
  • Datasets will generally cover the period 2002 to the present, subject to the availability of source data in the CEDA archive
  • Adjustments to the DataCube to support MODIS sinusoidal projection natively, and to convert between MODIS Sinusoidal and UK National Grid coordinate systems in the user interface
  • Creation of a simple Jupyter notebook interface for data retrieval
  • Deployment of the DataCube and interface on JAMSIN.

The project was funded by the UK Space Agency (UKSA) through the University of Reading where the Space4Climate group coordinator is based.

An example of the Jupyter Notebooks generated: