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Journal AAS publishes first data description paper: Data collection and sharing

June 10, 2017

Scientific data isn't useful in isolation. So Advances in Atmospheric Sciences (AAS) is helping bridge the gaps of information.

The journal published its first data description paper on June 8, 2017. The paper describes two datasets of ultraviolet (UV) radiation in China.

"UV radiation plays important roles in ecosystems, human health, atmospheric environment, and climate change, especially since the discovery of the ozone hole," said Prof. Yuesi Wang, the director of Atmospheric Sub-center of Chinese Ecosystem Research Network (CERN). Wang is an author on the paper and a professor at the State Key Laboratory of Atmospheric Boundary Layer Physics and Atmospheric Chemistry at IAP CAS in Beijing, China and he is responsible for observation network design.

The ozone helps filter out most of the harmful UV radiation, which cause sunburn and increase the risk of skin cancer. The hole, located over Antarctica, was discovered in 1982 by British geophysicist Joseph Farman. Farman used his own measurements and data shared by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in the United States to confirm the hole's existence.

Before and since the discovery, scientists have studied how UV radiation interacts with such factors as clouds, aerosols, ozone, and surface reflectivity as it travels to Earth's surface.

It's difficult to quantify the factors individually, and UV radiation is not a routinely measured parameter, according to Prof. Bo Hu, the corresponding author of the study. Hu also works at IAP CAS. He said that real-time, on-site measurements are scarce, especially in China, where the first UV radiation observation network wasn't established until the early 1990s.

In their first dataset, HU and his team provide observed measurements taken at 40 locations, from 2005 to 2015.

The second dataset is far more comprehensive, containing reconstructed national UV radiation measurements from 1961 to 2014. The researchers used a hybrid algorithm to combine readings from 724 stations in China with an estimated UV penetration in all potential sky conditions.

Hu's paper, as well as all data description papers published by AAS, undergoes a rigorous peer-review process. Not only is the scientific integrity of the data examined, but the usefulness and accessibility of the data is also reviewed. The published papers are open-access and the data is freely available for scientific inquiry.

Wang and Hu noted that the sharing will attract both scientists and businesses to mine and analyze the data in wider scopes, which could lead to translational applications for the general public.

"Long-term data are the backbone of almost all studies. Since 2016, AAS has encouraged authors, where possible and applicable, to deposit data that support their research findings in a public repository that should be properly cited in their article," said ZHU Jiang, an editor-in-chief of AAS. He noted that the editors of the journal want to make a more substantial contribution to data rescue efforts, pointing to a recent article from Australia the journal published on that very topic. "In this way, we aim to assist in making atmospheric and physical oceanographic data traceable and citable, as well as give full credit to scientists working on data collection, verification, and archiving."
Advances in Atmospheric Sciences is an international journal on the dynamics, physics, and chemistry of the atmosphere and oceans. It is published by Springer.

Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences

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