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Dean N. Williams, V. Balaji, Luca Cinquini, Sébastien Denvil, Daniel Duffy, Ben Evans, Robert Ferraro, Rose Hansen, Michael Lautenschlager, and Claire Trenham


Working across U.S. federal agencies, international agencies, and multiple worldwide data centers, and spanning seven international network organizations, the Earth System Grid Federation (ESGF) allows users to access, analyze, and visualize data using a globally federated collection of networks, computers, and software. Its architecture employs a system of geographically distributed peer nodes that are independently administered yet united by common federation protocols and application programming interfaces (APIs). The full ESGF infrastructure has now been adopted by multiple Earth science projects and allows access to petabytes of geophysical data, including the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP)—output used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment reports. Data served by ESGF not only include model output (i.e., CMIP simulation runs) but also include observational data from satellites and instruments, reanalyses, and generated images. Metadata summarize basic information about the data for fast and easy data discovery.

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