BOX 7.1. Vital Statistics of the PO.DAAC

History. The PO.DAAC was created from the NASA Ocean Data System in 1991. Its holdings go back to 1978.

Host Institution. NASA-Caltech Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Disciplines Served. Oceanography and geophysics.

Mission. To make available to a wide user community data and information on ocean physics, and air-sea interactions, in easily usable form.

Holdings. The DAAC holds approximately 15 TB of heritage data sets and receives 4–5 TB of data per year. None of its future data sets will come from the AM-1 platform.

Users. There were 15,527 unique users, including 2,000 regular users, in FY 1997.

Staff. In FY 1998 the DAAC had 28 staff and 1 ECS contractor.

Budget. Approximately $4.4 million in FY 1998 (including DAAC costs and ECS-provided hardware, software, and personnel), increasing to $6.4 million in FY 2000.

reason for its success is its location within the physical oceanography research group at JPL, a mutually beneficial arrangement that helps the DAAC understand how its data are used and the needs of researchers. This close working relationship, however, is jeopardized by recent trends to outsource DAAC functions, and the panel's main recommendation is that JPL should keep the DAAC intact and collocated with the oceanographers.


The Jet Propulsion Laboratory has been managing remote sensing data from the oceans since the Sea Satellite (SeaSat) Program in the early 1980s. These collective data activities formed the NASA Ocean Data System, which became the basis for the Physical Oceanography DAAC. The DAAC has existed since 1991 and is responsible for processing, archiving, and disseminating all of NASA's data related to physical oceanography (Box 7.1). The DAAC deals with data from many spacecraft, including several from foreign countries. Each instrument yields one discrete data set, except for the Ocean Topography Experiment (TOPEX/Poseidon) altimeters, which yield a data stream. PO.DAAC data vol-

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