Earth Science Informatics

, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 175–185 | Cite as

A Linked Science investigation: enhancing climate change data discovery with semantic technologies

  • Line C. Pouchard
  • Marcia L. Branstetter
  • Robert B. Cook
  • Ranjeet Devarakonda
  • Jim Green
  • Giri Palanisamy
  • Paul Alexander
  • Natalya F. Noy
Software Article


Linked Science is the practice of inter-connecting scientific assets by publishing, sharing and linking scientific data and processes in end-to-end loosely coupled workflows that allow the sharing and re-use of scientific data. Much of this data does not live in the cloud or on the Web, but rather in multi-institutional data centers that provide tools and add value through quality assurance, validation, curation, dissemination, and analysis of the data. In this paper, we make the case for the use of scientific scenarios in Linked Science. We propose a scenario in river-channel transport that requires biogeochemical experimental data and global climate-simulation model data from many sources. We focus on the use of ontologies—formal machine-readable descriptions of the domain—to facilitate search and discovery of this data. Mercury, developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, is a tool for distributed metadata harvesting, search and retrieval. Mercury currently provides uniform access to more than 100,000 metadata records; 30,000 scientists use it each month. We augmented search in Mercury with ontologies, such as the ontologies in the Semantic Web for Earth and Environmental Terminology (SWEET) collection by prototyping a component that provides access to the ontology terms from Mercury. We evaluate the coverage of SWEET for the ORNL Distributed Active Archive Center (ORNL DAAC).


Linked Science Ontologies BioPortal Semantic search Climate change Data discovery 



Application programming interface


Amazon’s elastic compute cloud


Environmental protection agency


Earth system grid federation


Earth science information partners


File transfer protocol


International standards organization


Moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer


National areonautics and space administration


National center for bio-medical ontologies


Open archives initiatives-protocol for metadata harvesting


Oak ridge national laboratory


ORNL distributed active archive center


(W3C) web ontology language


(W3C) resource description format


(W3C) simple knowledge organization system


W3C query language for RDF


Semantic web earth and environmental terminology


Semantic web search engine




Uniform resource locator


US geological survey


Virtual appliance


World wide web consortium


(W3C) extensible markup language



This work has been in part performed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Managed by UT Battelle, LLC under Contract No. De-AC05-00OR22725 for the U.S. Department of Energy.


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Copyright information

© # Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg (outside the USA) 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Line C. Pouchard
    • 1
  • Marcia L. Branstetter
    • 1
  • Robert B. Cook
    • 1
  • Ranjeet Devarakonda
    • 1
  • Jim Green
    • 1
  • Giri Palanisamy
    • 1
  • Paul Alexander
    • 2
  • Natalya F. Noy
    • 2
  1. 1.Oak Ridge National LaboratoryOak RidgeUSA
  2. 2.Stanford Center for Biomedical Informatics ResearchStanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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