Climate Data Store open for business!

Cedric Bergeron, Baudouin Raoult, Kevin Marsh, Carlo Buontempo


The Climate Data Store (CDS) was launched online on 14 June by the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) operated by ECMWF. It is set to revolutionise user access to a vast treasure of climate data, presenting new opportunities to all those who require authoritative information on climate change. A quick ‘click-and-go’ experience via a simple, uniform user interface offers easy online access to a wealth of climate data that anyone can freely browse and download after a simple registration process. The CDS is able to handle several hundred thousand user requests per day, and this can be increased in line with demand. As well as discovering and browsing datasets, developers can build their own data processing workflows to work within the environment of the CDS, and large data requests can be fulfilled via the CDS application programming interface.

About the CDS

Developed by C3S, the Climate Data Store provides access to petabytes of open climate data from the European Commission's Copernicus Programme via a straightforward web interface. These climate-related data include observations, reanalyses (obtained by combining observations with numerical models), seasonal forecasts and climate projections. The variety and volume of the data made available will increase rapidly over the coming years. The Climate Data Store is a game changer because it provides policy-makers, businesses, scientists and other users with seamless access to data collections distributed over multiple data suppliers.

CDS data flow. The CDS includes tools that enable climate data to be transformed into information relevant to different sets of users.

Toolbox feature

A major feature of the CDS is its integrated toolbox, which allows developers to create web-based applications that can utilise CDS data. On the face of it, the variety of CDS data types, formats and volumes makes their combined use challenging. The CDS toolbox removes this complexity and allows application developers to focus on algorithms to process data and create knowledge. The toolbox provides a series of tools that allow users to perform basic operations and statistical computations on the datasets; these tools can then be combined into more elaborate workflows, the results of which can be graphically presented on the screen. Such workflows can be used to analyse, monitor and predict the patterns of both climate drivers and impacts on specific business sectors, such as energy, water management, and agriculture.

A recent ECMWF Copernicus hackathon event (#OpenDataHack2018) held in Reading, UK, on 9 and 10 June inspired developers, designers, and entrepreneurs to see what could be achieved with the CDS, with great results. In addition, training sessions on using the CDS and toolbox are available to developers.

Use case examples

Whilst the CDS is open to everyone, many users are likely to be ‘intermediaries’ who have the technical capability to develop Python workflows which transform the data into climate-related information. They can function as the interface between the CDS and end users of the information, for whom they develop specific applications.

Over the last two years, C3S has developed example applications that illustrate how the data can be made relevant to specific sectors. For instance, before providing funding for a new wind farm, investors would require information on the profit such a wind farm is likely to generate. This in turn depends on possible future variations in wind resources, which could be influenced by events such as El Niño or by climate change. By combining historical data with climate projections, CDS users could derive information able to guide an investment made in a specific wind farm.

ECMWF’s next major development in the context of Copernicus will be the implementation of a DIAS (Data and Information Access Services) platform called WEkEO (, in partnership with EUMETSAT and Mercator Ocean. ECMWF will bring its experience in data management and tools to this endeavour. WEkEO is a natural extension of the CDS and will allow users to allocate their own compute resources to process not only the data provided by the partners, but all the data made available by the Copernicus programme. This project will be described in detail in a future Newsletter article.

Useful links

Access to the Climate Data Store:

ECMWF Newsletter article (spring 2017) on the design of the CDS:

Wind power use cases: