GES DISC provides AIRS L1 and L2 and selected MLS L2 near real-time products. On average, these products are available within 2 hours of observation time.


The GSFC Earth Sciences Data and Information Services Center (GES DISC) is one of eight NASA Science Mission Directorate (SMD) DAACs that provide Earth science data, information, and services to research scientists, applications scientists, applications users, and students. The GES DISC is the home (archive) of NASA Precipitation and Hydrology, as well as Atmospheric Composition and Dynamics, data and information. The GES DISC also houses the Modern Era Retrospective-Analysis for Research and Applications (MERRA) data assimilation datasets (generated by GSFC’s Global Modeling and Assimilation Office), and the North American Land Data Assimilation System (NLDAS) and Global Land Data Assimilation System (GLDAS) data products (both generated by GSFC's Hydrological Sciences Branch).

The GES DISC is located at Goddard Space Flight Center, in Greenbelt, Maryland.

In recent years, the GES DISC has taken the 'Information Services' part of its name much more seriously, priding itself in developing tools and services that promote easier use and usability of Earth science data and information. As data and information management needs of science researchers have become more sophisticated, we have been able to take advantage of maturing information technologies to develop and implement tools and services that help science researchers extract the information they seek from the data they work with.

They are in the continuing process of enhancing data and information exploration and access and have, in fact, been making great strides in understanding how to – and implementing ways to – bring heterogeneous Earth science data sets together.

About the Products

Near real-time data is available from AIRS and MLS, a 7-day rolling archive and provided on a best effort basis. The user services provided are subscription (FTP pull and push) and anonymous FTP pull. The system is supported during normal working hours but is monitored for system failures and unexpected data outages.

System Reliability

The LANCE Aqua AIRS and Aura MLS near real-time (NRT) processing at GES DISC has redundancy in critical components: There is a duplication of the flow of the input rate-buffered instrument data that are inputs to Aqua AIRS and Aura MLS near real-time (NRT) processing – the raw data are routed to redundant archive servers so that if one or the other are unavailable, the flow is still maintained; the servers which process the raw data are themselves configured with hot-spare backups which can be brought on-line to take over for a loss of the primary processing server; and, the output Aqua AIRS and Aura MLS NRT data products are archived on redundant servers (discnrt1 and discnrt2).

GES DISC Hardware Configuration

GES DISC NRT Hardware Configuration - System Reliability

The diagram above shows simple architecture of GES DISC’s AIRS and MLS near real-time systems.

Data Flow



Version 2.7 Algorithm produced Collection 1
Version 3 Algorithm produced Collection 2
Version 4 Algorithm produced Collection 3
Version 5 Algorithm produces Collection 5

Starting with the delivery of Algorithm Version 4 in 2005, AIRS Instrument Team began to produce two types of retrievals due to the failure of HSB on February 5, 2003. Data types that encompass retrievals using HSB data will have “H” letter in the short name of the data type, e.g. AIRH2RET. Retrievals without HSB have the familiar names, e.g. AIRX2RET.

Documentation is associated with the Version of the Algorithm, which is embedded in the data filenames.

Data are organized and stored as Collections at GES DISC. Collections are different from the Algorithm Version until Version 5 where data version became the same as the collection. Our search engines will naturally show Collections.

Because reprocessing earlier data takes time and multiple months are scheduled concurrently, Collections generated by the previous Algorithm Version will necessarily coexist for a period of time along with Collections generated by the current Algorithm Version. Users are cautioned to double-check the Collection before downloading to ensure the data are those desired.


User Services Office

Phone: 301-614-5224
Email: help-disc @ listserv.gsfc.nasa.gov

Access GES DISC Data

Page Last Updated: May 2, 2019 at 10:33 AM EDT