Globus Accelerates Data Access and Sharing in Program to Fight Urban Climate Challenges

September 13, 2023   |  Susan Tussy

The environment is critical to our well-being, and now more than ever it is important to analyze climate trends, predict future weather patterns, and explore what can be done to minimize the negative impacts of climate change in urban areas. According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 55% of the world’s population currently live in urban areas, and this figure is expected to increase to 68% by 2050. In a program funded by the US Department of Energy’s Office of Science, Biological and Environmental Research, scientists are deploying scientific instruments around the city of Chicago to collect data which will help us better understand what steps communities can take to reduce the negative impacts of climate change.

The Community Research on Climate and Urban Science (CROCUS) Urban Integrated Field Laboratory (UIFL), is a five-year, $25 million Chicago-based program carried out by a team of 17 organizations, and is one of four UIFLs, with other field labs located in Baltimore, Southern Texas, and Phoenix.

Scientists in the CROCUS program, led by Argonne National Laboratory, are deploying a network of sensor arrays for observations and modeling from street to regional scales to explore multiple issues, including mitigation via green roofs and blue spaces, and community-driven future scenarios for adaptation and decarbonization. The project’s goal is to understand climate risks in Chicago, address environmental equity with community partners, and provide other cities with blueprints to address urban climate change.

The project’s first deployment was installed last May at Northeastern Illinois University, and this past July a second installment was completed at Chicago State. The instruments at Northeastern leveraged the Waggle Sage infrastructure from another project to measure wind, temperature, rainfall, snow accumulation, radiation and air pollution. The instruments were connected to the waggle node through a serial port and through bluetooth. The team then needed a way to seamlessly move data once it had been processed in an instrument or on the edge, so they turned to Globus.

Globus made it easy to move the data off the instruments, and share it out, and it also complemented the existing infrastructure. Now they could simply install Globus Connect Personal on the systems with a filesystem and storage, create an endpoint, and immediately share the data with others. Additionally, Globus helped simplify sharing across institutions.

“Now with Globus, within two minutes of turning on the instrument we can access and share the data”, says Max Grover, a software engineer with Argonne. “Now we can look at the live data, and quickly and easily move it to Argonne for visualization and further processing.”

The CROCUS team plans to continue to deploy more nodes, make as many observations as possible in and around the Chicago area, fine-tune its QC process, and improve the data ingest from the instruments to storage. The team at Argonne plans to turn the raw data into value-add products for communities to access, and make predictions on what’s to come. Ultimately these data collected will yield valuable insights into what communities can do to mitigate the effects of climate change down to the street and even the block level.

Learn more about CROCUS

Learn more about how Globus can help manage instrument data