Data Available at the ORNL DAAC


Biogeochemical Dynamics - the ORNL DAAC

The Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC) for Biogeochemical Dynamics is an integral part of the nine NASA Earth Observing Data and Information System (EOSDIS) DAACs. In general terms, biogeochemical dynamics can be described as the biological and chemical interactions among the elements that comprise the Earth system. The DAAC is operated within the Environmental Sciences Division at ORNL with the advantage of access to staff conducting research and assessments on biogeochemical dynamics as related to global change issues. Data at the ORNL DAAC are of interest to the global change research community, policy makers, educators, and to the public at large.

Users may request information through the EOSDIS Wide Information Management System (IMS), directly through the local ORNL DAAC IMS; through the ORNL DAAC WWW Search & Order Interface, BIOME, or by contacting the User Services Office. Access instructions are provided at the end of this message.

Data Availability

The ORNL DAAC currently archives and distributes data from CDIAC (Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center), from the FIFE, OTTER & SNF research projects, and various hydrological data sets. Future data holdings include information gathered from the BOREAS project. Additionally, the ORNL DAAC is currently working with the FIFE Follow-on project investigators to receive and distribute additional FIFE data.

A pilot project, coordinated with the International Geosphere Biosphere Program (IGBP), has been initiated to develop a global terrestrial net primary productivity reference database. Plans are also underway for acquiring background data for an international Amazon Basin field investigation. Additional information about our data holdings, both current and future, are provided below.


The Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC) provides information related to atmospheric trace-gas concentrations and global climate change. CDIAC is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy to support the Global Change Research Program and is located at ORNL. The preponderance of the data deal with historic and atmospheric carbon dioxide and methane concentrations and historic weather and climate readings from throughout the world. Thus, CDIAC data are relevant to the DAAC user community.

CDIAC datasets are maintained by CDIAC; however, the user community can access these data on-line through the EOSDIS System-Wide IMS, the ORNL DAAC IMS, and the ORNL DAAC WWW Search & Order Interface, BIOME


The First ISLSCP (International Satellite Land Surface Climatology Project) Field Experiment (FIFE) was conducted on the Konza Prairie located just outside of Manhattan, Kansas, USA, during the summer of 1987 and 1989. The FIFE project is part of NASA's plan to develop a physically-based approach to the use of satellite remote-sensing systems. Project data include: fluxes of heat, moisture, CO2 and radiation measured with surface and airborne equipment; soil moisture data; atmospheric boundary layer data; vegetative indices; surface radiance and biological data; and satellite measurements: AVHRR, LANDSAT, SPOT, GOES.

FIFE tabular data are available on-line through the local ORNL DAAC IMS, the System-Wide IMS, and the ORNL DAAC WWW Search & Order Interface, BIOME.


The purpose of the Oregon Transect Ecosystem Research (OTTER) Project was to estimate major fluxes of carbon, nitrogen, and water in forest ecosystems using an ecosystem-process model driven by remotely-sensed data. Study sites included a coastal forest of western hemlock; a mid-elevation forest of mature Douglas fir; and an inland forest of ponderosa. Meteorological data and remotely-sensed measurements of foliar nitrogen and leaf area index drove the model, while field measurements of monthly changes in canopy leaf area, photosynthetic capacity, stomatal conductance, foliage biochemistry, litterfall, and other components of plant production were used to validate the model. Each site was instrumented for continuous measurement of surface meteorology and monitored frequently for carbon exchange, nutrient cycling rates, and water transport. ASAS, AVHRR, AVIRIS, TMS aircraft and satellite measurements data were also compiled for the project.

OTTER tabular data are available on-line through the local ORNL DAAC IMS, the System-Wide IMS, and the ORNL DAAC WWW Search & Order Interface, BIOME.

Hydrological Data Sets
(formerly held at the Marshall Space Flight Center DAAC)

- Amazon River Basin Precipitation Data Set

This is a 0.2 degree gridded monthly precipitation data set from January 1972 through December 1992, based upon monthly precipitation data from Peru and Brazil. It includes empirical and modeling studies of rainfall and runoff from sample hillslopes to the entire Amazon basin. The purpose of the research project which generated these data was to understand the biogeochemistry, hydrology, and sedimentation of the Amazon River and its drainage basin. The Amazon was chosen as the first target in the study of Earth's continental scale river systems, which represent some of the largest and most dynamic environmental units on the planet.

- GISS Matthews Wetlands Database and Methane Emmission

This is a global database of wetlands a 1-degree resolution and calculated methane emissions. The wetlands database was developed from the integration of three independent global, digital sources: (1) vegetation, (2) soil properties, and (3) fractional innundation in each 1-degree cell. The integration yielded a global distribution of wetland sites identified with in-situ ecological and environmental characteristics. The wetland sites have been classed into five major wetland groups on the basis of environmental characteristics governing methane emissions. The global wetland area derived in this study is ~5.3 x 10(12) m(2), approximately twice the wetland area previously used in methane-emission studies. Methane emission was calculated using methane fluxes for the major wetland groups, and simple assumptions about the duration of the methane-production season.

- Hydro-Climatic Data Network: Streamflow Data Set

A streamflow data set specifically suitable for the study of surface-water conditions throughout the U.S. The data set consists of streamflow records for 1,659 sites throughout the U.S. and its Territories, for the period 1874-1988.

- Wallis, Lettenmaier, and Wood Hydroclimatology

A daily hydro-meterological data set for the continental U.S. The data are from 1,009 USGS streamflow stations, and 1,036 NOAA climatological stations, for which long term (1948-1988) observations have been assembled into a consistent daily data set, with missing observations estimated using a simple closest station prorating rule. Care was taken in the selection of the streamflow stations to assure that the records were free from regulation. The climatological stations are a subset of the Historical Climatology Network (HCN) for which monthly data are described by Quinlan et al (1987).

These data sets are available on-line through the local ORNL DAAC IMS, the System-Wide IMS, and the ORNL DAAC WWW Search & Order Interface, BIOME.

Superior National Forest (SNF)

This project conducted by NASA, was an intensive remote sensing and field study of the boreal forest in the Superior National Forest (SNF), near Ely, Minnesota. The purpose of the experiment was to investigate the ability of remote sensing to provide estimates of biophysical properties of ecosystems, such as leaf area index (LAI), biomass and net primary productivity (NPP).

The study area covered a 50 x 50 km area centered at approximately 48 degrees North latitude and 92 degrees West longitude in northeastern Minnesota at the southern edge of the North American boreal forest. The SNF is mostly covered by boreal forest. Boreal forests were chosen for this project because of their relative taxonomic simplicity, their great extent, and their potential sensitivity to climatic change. Satellite, aircraft, helicopter and ground observations were obtained for the study area. These data comprise a unique dataset for the investigation of the relationships between the radiometric and biophysical properties of vegetated canopies. This is perhaps the most complete dataset of its type ever collected over a forested region. Detailed vegetation data were collected on the ground for about 100 sampled sites. These sites represent a range of stand density and age for spruce and aspen and also include jackpine and mixed stands.

The SNF data sets are available through the local ORNL DAAC IMS, and the ORNL DAAC WWW Search & Order Interface, BIOME. Access via the System-Wide IMS is expected shortly.


The Boreal Ecosystem-Atmosphere Study (BOREAS) was initiated in 1990 to investigate the interactions between the boreal forest biome and the atmosphere. Surface, airborne, and satellite based observations are being used to develop techniques to measure biological and physical processes and conditions that govern the exchanges of energy, water, heat, carbon, and trace gases between boreal forest ecosystems and the atmosphere, particularly those processes that may be sensitive to global change. Remote-sensing techniques, along with field measurements, are being used to develop and test models and algorithms in order to transfer the understanding of processes from the local to regional scale. The investigation is being conducted in the boreal forest of Canada and is scheduled for completion in 1997. Intensive Field Campaigns (IFCs) were conducted throughout the summer of 1994.

BOREAS data will be transferred to the ORNL DAAC as the investigators complete documentation, quality assurance, and within-project integration and verification.

Net Primary Productivity (NPP)

A global terrestrial Net Primary Production (NPP) reference database is being compiled by the ORNL DAAC in coordination with the International Geosphere Biosphere Program. Field measurements from worldwide sites provide parameterization and validation data needed in support of modeling global primary production and other applications. Currently there are detailed biomass dynamics, climate, and site data for 13 grassland representing 6 biomes in the database with over 150 site-year-treatment combinations and an average of 30 years of climate data for each site. An important component of the database is an abstract of each site with investigator contact information and a list of key references for each site. Pending final approval from the Principal Investigators (PI's), release to the overall user community is expected soon. A notification will be posted to the appropriate USENET groups/Listservs upon release.

World Wide Web Home Page

The ORNL DAAC World Wide Web (WWW) Home Page contains detailed information regarding the ORNL DAAC, EOSDIS, data holdings, and links to many other relevant sources of information. The ORNL Home Page can be accessed at the following location:

Accessing ORNL Data

Users can search and order data through the EOSDIS System-Wide IMS linked to all of the DAAC's or through the ORNL DAAC IMS, which is tailored to meet needs of users seeking ecologically-related data specifically held at the ORNL DAAC. In order to access either IMS systems via a Graphical User Interface (GUI), you must be using either a workstation or a PC/MAC running X-terminal emulation software.

    To access the EOSDIS System-Wide IMS:  telnet 12345
    To access the ORNL DAAC IMS:           telnet 6493

Also, the ORNL DAAC offers access to its data products through BIOME, the Biogeochemical Information Ordering Management Environment. BIOME is the ORNL DAAC World Wide Web (WWW) based interface and users may search for data by performing a variety of different searches including: keyword, subject name, geographic name, geographic region selection from a map, or by data attributes (dataset name, investigator, project, parameter, sensor, or source).

The URL for BIOME is:

Data are available from the ORNL DAAC on a wide variety of media formats. Both OTTER and FIFE data are currently available on a 5 volume CD-ROM set. Wallis, Lettenmaier, and Wood Hydroclimatology and Hydro-Climatic Data Network: Streamflow Data Set are also available on CD-ROM.

Please contact the ORNL DAAC User Services Office for additional information.

Merilyn J. Gentry
Jerry W. Curry
ORNL DAAC User Services Office
P.O. Box 2008, MS 6490
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Oak Ridge, TN 37831-6490

Voice: 423-241-3952 Fax: 423-574-4665
Internet: or
Updated 09/16/96


  Jerry Curry - Research Associate        

  ORNL DAAC User Services Office                    (423)241-3952 (Ph)
  P.O. Box 2008, MS 6407                            (423)574-4665 (Fax)
  Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  Oak Ridge, TN 37831-6407

  ORNL DAAC Home Page URL -
Export Compliance: This information made available under the General Technical Data Available (GTDA) general license.

BACK TO *********************************************************************