Following the onset of the Kuwait oil fires in early 1991, numerous efforts to monitor and estimate the environmental effects of the fires were initiated. These efforts produced a diverse set of atmospheric data from airborne, surface-based, and satellite platforms. Organizers of the experiments, including the World Meteorological Organization, quickly recognized the value of collecting all data into a central archive. This paper describes the development of that archive.
Basic requirements for the archive were that it contain all pertinent datasets, including detailed documentation about each, and provide easy access to all interested researchers. The requirements were met by developing a database management system that contains a catalog of the data inventory and a facility to order specific datasets. A graphical user interface provides access to the database. In addition to the basic capability of searching the data inventory, the system has a number of other features, including a visual catalog of satellite images, a bibliography of relevant publications, and an extensive metadata collection describing the datasets. The system is accessible from the Internet or telephone/modem from a variety of terminal types, making it available to virtually anyone with a computer. Researchers from around the world have successfully used the system.
*The National Center for Atmospheric Research is sponsored by the National Science Foundation.