Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder

Aaron Sweeney

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.

Honors and Awards

  • 2015 NCEI Employees’ Choice Award – “For always going above and beyond at NCEI”

View Publications

  • Sweeney AD. (Dec 2021). Timeline Visualization Uncovers Gaps in Archived Tsunami Water Level Data. Frontiers in Climate , 3. 10.3389/fclim.2021.732174
  • Sweeney A; Mungov G; Wright L. (Apr 2021). Products and Services Available from U.S. NOAA NCEI Archive of Water Level Data. EGU General Assembly 2021. 10.5194/egusphere-egu21-8027
  • Dunbar, P, G Mungov, A Sweeney, K Stroker and N Arcos. (Aug 2017). Challenges in Defining Tsunami Wave Heights. PURE AND APPLIED GEOPHYSICS , 174(8). 10.1007/s00024-017-1614-y
  • Chadwell CD; Sweeney AD. (Jan 2010). Acoustic Ray-Trace Equations for Seafloor Geodesy. Marine Geodesy , 33(2-3). 10.1080/01490419.2010.492283
  • Sweeney AD; Chadwell CD; Hildebrand JA. (Apr 2006). Calibration of a seawater sound velocimeter. IEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering , 31(2). 10.1109/JOE.2004.836582
  • Sweeney AD; Chadwell CD; Hildebrand JA; Spiess FN. (Jan 2005). Centimeter-Level Positioning of Seafloor Acoustic Transponders from a Deeply-Towed Interrogator. Marine Geodesy , 28(1). 10.1080/01490410590884502
  • Osada Y; Fujimoto H; Miura S; Sweeney A; Kanazawa T; Nakao S; Sakai SI; Hildebrand JA; Chadwell CD. (Jan 2003). Estimation and correction for the effect of sound velocity variation on GPS/Acoustic seafloor positioning: An experiment off Hawaii Island. Earth, Planets and Space , 55(12). 10.1186/BF03352464
  • Sweeney AD; Chadwell CD; Hildebrand JA; Spiess FN. (May 2000). Precise acoustic measurements of seafloor transponder and towed?vehicle positions. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America , 107(5). 10.1121/1.429043
  • Sweeney AD; Spiess FN; Boegeman DE; Jabson DM; Zimmerman R. (Nov 1997). The MPL sound velocimeter: An instrument for in situ sound velocity measurements in the deep ocean. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America , 102(5). 10.1121/1.420579
  • Chadwell CD; Spiess FN; Hildebrand JA; Sweeney AD. (Oct 1996). Precision acoustic geodetic measurement of seafloor motion over 10 km. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America , 100(4). 10.1121/1.416911