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About CMS Data & Products for Applications

Metadata for CMS Data & Products summarizes the planned outcomes for projects funded starting in 2010. The product metadata provides an overview of each product wtith descriptions, spatial and temporal characteristics, potential applications, and other info.

CMS Data & Products

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For an explanation of the metadata fields and product keywords, read the tables below.

  • Science Themes >>
  • Metadata Fields >>
  • Keywords Definitions >>

Science Themes

MRV & Decision Support

Greenhouse gas emission inventories, forest carbon sequestration programs (e.g., Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD and REDD+), cap-and-trade systems, self-reporting programs, and their associated monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) frameworks depend upon data that are accurate, systematic, practical, and transparent. A sustained, observationally-driven carbon monitoring system using remote sensing data has the potential to significantly improve the relevant carbon cycle information base for the U.S. and world. Work is needed to prototype and mature relevant measurement and analytical approaches for use in support of MRV frameworks. NASA's Carbon Monitoring System (CMS) project is prototyping and conducting pilot studies to evaluate technological approaches and methodologies to meet this need. CMS products also include a set of analyses and assessments, analytical methods, communication and visualizations tools that provide timely and useful information to decision-makers.

Ocean Biomass

Ocean Biomass refers to the total mass of all living matter living in the oceans. Oceans also play an important role in the carbon cycle, as the surface and deep ocean waters hold a combined 38,000 gigatons of carbon. CMS scientists are focusing their efforts in researching concentrations of phytoplankton and distribution of calcifiers in the oceans (and to a lesser extent in the Great Lakes), which play an important role in controlling how much carbon is exchanged between the oceans and the atmosphere.

Land-Ocean Flux

Land-Ocean Flux refers to the exchange of carbon between the land and coastal waters. In order to understand the dynamics that control the movement of carbon from land to the ocean, CMS scientists are using land-based and ocean-based models together to model terrestrial watershed processes in combination with coastal oceanic processes.


Land Biomass is the total mass of all living matter on land, including all above ground grasses, trees, and shrubs. When biomass is removed through deforestation or burning, the carbon stored in the plants is released into the atmosphere. CMS scientists are improving current methods for measuring how much land biomass exists and its role in the carbon cycle.

Ocean-Atmosphere Flux

The exchange of carbon between the air and ocean is known as Ocean-Atmosphere Flux. Current estimates indicate that the amount of carbon the ocean is able to uptake is decreasing, causing the atmospheric concentrations of carbon to increase. CMS projects funded under this activity seek to better estimate the exchange of carbon between the ocean and the air.

Global Surface-Atmosphere Flux

Global Surface-Atmosphere Flux refers to the total amount of carbon being moved annually between the land and ocean surface and the atmosphere.

Land-Atmosphere Flux

The exchange of carbon between the land and the air is referred to as Land-Atmosphere Flux. CMS scientists are collecting better estimates of land biomass to use in models which predict how much carbon is released through biomass burning and deforestation.


Metadata Fields
Metadata Fields Explanation
Award Year The year the funding was granted
Project ID Principal Investigator’s last name and project #
Objectives Goals that the project seeks to attain by developing data and products
Science Theme Type of data and products, according to components of carbon cycle research that are most relevant: Global Flux, Ocean-Atmosphere Flux, Land-Atmosphere Flux, Land-Ocean Flux, Land Biomass, Ocean Biomass, Lake Biomass, MRV, and Decision Support
Products Keywords Keywords that will help stakeholders identify data and products appropriate to their needs. See below for a table that explains each product keyword.
Data Products A description of output data and products that will be publicly available upon completion of the project
Spatial Extent The geographical area that the data and products cover
Coordinates Coordinates can be approximate. They can be the center of Spatial Extent or study sites. Shape files are welcome.
Time Period The time period that the data and products cover
Spatial Resolution Finest spatial resolution of data and products
Temporal Frequency Time intervals of data products
Input Data Products Any satellite, airborne, field, and modeled data products used. If airborne Lidar data was used, please indicate where, when, which instruments, and how much data (area, dimensions, or number and length of lines).
Algorithm/Models Used Any algorithm or models used to develop data and products
Evaluation Any efforts to evaluate the accuracy, robustness, and/or performance of data and products
Intercomparison Efforts/Gaps Any key intercomparison effort(s) that have been undertaken or gaps where future intercomparison efforts are warranted
Uncertainty Estimates Plans to quantify data uncertainty, if any
Uncertainty Categories 1. Ensemble (e.g. stochastic), 2. Deterministic, 3. Model-Data Comparison, 4. Model-Model Comparison, and/or 5. Data-Data Comparison
Application Areas Areas with policy or societally relevant decision processes, which may benefit from the usage of data and products
Potential Users Possible end users of data and products once fully developed
Stakeholders End users engaged with CMS PIs who are using or plan to use data and products in the future
Application Readiness Level (ARL) The NASA index that assesses applications potential of data and products in operational settings. Detailed explanation. Principal Investigators specified the ARLs of their own projects
Future Developments Future plans to engage stakeholders, share data and products, and raise awareness of the product development efforts
Limitations Any shortcoming of data and products that users must be aware of
Date When Data/Product Available The date (MM/DD/YY – if possible) on which data and products will be made publicly available
Data Server URL The URL address where a user may access data and products
Metadata URL The URL address where a user may access metadata
Archived Data Citation Citation of data and product(s) that users can include in their references
Publications A list of journal publications that directly resulted from CMS funding


CMS Products Keywords: Definitions
    anthropogenic, terrestrial, oceanic
    - Process that releases carbon into the atmosphere
  • SINK:
    anthropogenic, terrestrial, oceanic
    - Process that absorbs carbon from the atmosphere
    terrestrial, oceanic, atmospheric, inland & coastal water
    - The quantity of carbon in a pool. Any change may be expressed as 'stock change.
    - The carbon stored in a pool may be, for example, living biomass, dead organic matter, soils.
    anthropogenic, terrestrial, oceanic, atmospheric, inland & coastal water
    - Any movement of carbon between the carbon pools.
    - We consider atmospheric transport as a movement in the atmosphere.
    forest extent, forest cover, forest/non-forest, canopy height, digital elevation model, particulate inorganic carbon, biogenic silica, forest type, site productivity, forest age
    - Used to describe ecosystem components and arrangement of these components for the various carbon pools.
    land cover change, forest structure change, land use change, timing, agent, severity, recovery rate
    - Natural or human induced perturbances in an ecological component or system; relative to a specified state and system .
    any assessment, including assessment of accuracy, data estimates, or observations
    - system designs for visualization, sharing and query of data
    - Data on uncertainties and standard errors, including systems to track these
    - Uncertainties may be spatially explicit