GFDL - Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory

GFDL Curator: The FRE Curator

The underlying problem that Curator addresses is the lack of metadata available to assist climate modelers and scientists in the tasks of building and running climate models and analyzing the resulting model-generated datasets. Insufficient metadata ultimately impedes scientific progress because scientists and tools do not have access to adequate descriptions of the very datasets undergoing analysis. A primary goal of Curator is to unify access to climate modeling components and output datasets by allowing descriptions of both to exist in a central metadata registry.

At GFDL, we have developed the FRE Curator, a software infrastructure that provides end-to-end management from model configuration to archived dataset, and queries an archived dataset to provide complete scientific information on the model it emanates from. It uses metadata to describe the components of data (variables, units, frequency), the information about the associated materials and methods (models, observational platforms), and the science experiment with which the data are associated. GFDL’s FRE Curator is used by GFDL scientists for internal collaboration in the development of scientific models, as well as publishing datasets to the outside climate community.

Our group is a very active collaborator in the Earth System Curator and other projects that are attempting to define a common structure for holding such metadata, especially with a view to facilitating data management of large national and international modeling campaigns, such as the IPCC.