Planet OS: Year of 2019 Highlights

Chase Walz
Feb 4 · 5 min read

The year 2020 is freshly underway. Before we move further into the new decade, our team at Planet OS wanted to share with you our highlights for 2019.

Photo Credit: Ales Krivec

In the realms of climate and environment, 2019 was a remarkable and consequential year. Throughout the year, millions of people across the globe participated in climate strikes and mass protests. With BBC calling 2019 “The Year the World Woke up” and NOAA reporting 2019 as the second warmest year on record, the year marked a pivotal transition from environmental discussion and concern towards large scale environmental action.

Our team here at Planet OS is eager to see climate and environmental issues take greater precedence. As we continue to provide streamlined access to some of the best climate and environmental datasets, we have seen innovative and exciting applications of data with the ability to make a positive impact around the world.

In our efforts to bring awareness to the vast amounts of information available on the Datahub and its nearly infinite applications, we compiled a list of our top stories, data sets, and analytics from 2019 below.

Top Stories and Datasets

Most Popular Datasets

1. The NOAA WW3 Global Model

WAVEWATCH III® (Tolman 1997, 1999a, 2009) is a third-generation wave model developed at NOAA/NCEP in the spirit of the WAM model (WAMDIG 1988, Komen et al. 1994). It is a further development of the model WAVEWATCH, as developed at Delft University of Technology (Tolman 1989, 1991a) and WAVEWATCH II, developed at NASA, Goddard Space Flight Center (e.g., Tolman 1992). WAVEWATCH III®, however, differs from its predecessors in many important points such as the governing equations, the model structure, the numerical methods, and the physical parameterizations.
Furthermore, with model version 3.14, WAVEWATCH III® is evolving from a wave model into a wave modeling framework, which allows for easy development of additional physical and numerical approaches to wave modeling.

2. GFS Forecast

The Global Forecast System (GFS) is a weather forecast model produced by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP). Dozens of atmospheric and land-soil variables are available through this dataset, from temperatures, winds, and precipitation to soil moisture and atmospheric ozone concentration. GFS model output can be grouped for different use cases (near-surface, aviation, general), current version is a general one, containing fields from both near-surface and higher atmospheric levels. The current version is modified, so that aggregated variables, given as averages or accumulations, have constant aggregation period of either 1 hour or 3 hours, whereas in the original model output aggregation periods vary from 1 hour to 6 hours.

3. HYCOM (Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model) Global Ocean Forecast (Global Ocean Forecasting System (GOFS)

Renewed just last January, HYCOM provides a 7-day forecast that is used in marine operational planning. This dataset contains multiple variables including temperature, salinity, and sea velocity at depth levels ranging from the ocean surface to water depth of 5000m. It can be used to help determine if it is safe to deploy equipment, conduct operations, or plan an ocean route. Sea surface height and different bottom variables are also available in the HYCOM forecast.

Regional Dataset of the Year

Baltic Sea & East Atlantic: Sea Surface Temperature Analysis

For the Baltic Sea & East Atlantic — The DMI Sea Surface Temperature analysis aims at providing daily gap-free maps of sea surface temperature, referred to as L4 product, at 0.02deg. x 0.02deg. horizontal resolution, using satellite data from infra-red and microwave radiometers.

Most Popular Stories of the Year

1. Transformation and Transportation in the Arctic

In this story, we illustrated how one can utilize the yearly average temperatures and the overall average temperature in the Bering Strait from NASA’s Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications, Version 2 (MERRA-2) dataset. With this dataset, it is possible to visualize ice conditions in a crucial international transportation passageway, the Bering Strait.

2. Hurricanes and Disaster Resilience: Does Data Present New Solutions?

In the wake of the 2019 hurricane season, the team at Planet OS illustrated how the Météo France Global Ocean Wave Analysis and Forecast datasets on the Planet OS Datahub can be used to powerful visualizations of Hurricane Dorian as it moved through the Atlantic.

3. Is Polarized Weather the New Normal?

Through the application of the Meteorological Observations From Regional Basic Synoptic Network (RBSN) Dataset, available on the Datahub, Data Integration Engineer, Eneli Toodu created maps comparing severe climate conditions in the two hemispheres of the globe.

New and Updated Datasets and Visualizations

Météo France — MFWAM Wave Model Europe
Fire Weather Index on 2019–07–31 from ECMWF ERA5 Fire Danger Indices Historical Data
GFS World Area Forecast System (WAFS) Forecast

And more available here.

Most Popular Variables

The three most popular variables requested/used on the Datahub are:

1. Wave Height

Hurricane Dorian Wave Heights August 30-September 10 2019. Credit: Eneli Toodu
Significant height of primary swell waves and wind speed barbs over the Western Pacific Ocean from October 23rd to October 27th, 2018.

2. Wind Speed & Direction

Peaking into upcoming major weather events using weather forecast data
Animating storm development is one of simplest but valuable ways of analyzing it

3. Air Temperature

Temperatures in Australia from Jan 15th-Jan 31st 2019
Data-driven approach to vacation planning
Customize your own GFS weather forecast using this Python notebook

Our team is looking forward to another year of providing access to even more high-quality datasets and driving cutting edge data-driven solutions.

Thank you all for your continuous support!


Many of the datasets made available through the Planet OS Datahub have been at the request of our users. For those who require a consolidated, easy to use, resource for accessing large and complex material that the Datahub does not already offer, please reach out to the team and we will work toward bringing it onboard. For more information check out the Planet OS Datahub.

Planet OS (by Intertrust)

Provided by Intertrust Technologies

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