Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences

Aaron Sweeney

Senior Associate Scientist, Water Level Data Manager

Headshot of Aaron Sweeney
  • Ph.D. Physics, University of California San Diego, 2001
  • M.S. Physics, University of California San Diego, 1997
  • B.S. Physics, State University of New York at Albany, 1994

Research Interests

  • Earth science data management and standards
  • Tsunami observation, especially coastal water level (tide gauge) and deep-ocean pressure
  • Human-computer interaction, especially data visualization
  • Seafloor geodesy

Current Research

I currently work as the CIRES Water Level Data Manager at NCEI under funding provided by the NOAA Tsunami Program. I am responsible for ingesting, archiving, and distributing tsunami-related data, and for developing aids to data discovery, exploration, access, and re-use by tsunami researchers and the general public. These data include observations of water level at coastal tide gauges as well as deep-ocean bottom pressure measurements (Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunamis (DART)). These data are used by scientists at NOAA and academic institutions to ground-truth tsunami propagation and coastal runup models.

I have worked to reduce barriers to data re-use through the adoption of standard data formats. I developed a metadata content specification for ocean bottom pressure data based on existing standards to include details such as deployment location (latitude and longitude), vertical datum, and instrument details such as the results of clock checks before and after deployment. I translated all the raw ocean bottom pressure data (1983 to present) and tide gauge data (2008 to present) in the NCEI archive to Climate and Forecast (CF)-compliant netCDF. This effort reduces the time required by users to wrangle and understand data.

I have developed data inventory timeline visualizations to identify data gaps and rescue data from the original collector for long-term preservation at NCEI. These visualizations also show the dates and heights of tsunami run-ups as originally reported by the National Tsunami Warning Center. This makes it easier for users to find data of interest and to see how often tsunamis are detected and where.

Research Categories

Oceans, Solid Earth
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About CECA

CECA connects and creates a supportive environment for graduate students and postdocs who come from various academic units to do research in CIRES.