The Earth System Grid Federation (ESGF) is an international collaboration for the software that powers most global climate change research, notably assessments by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
ESGF manages the first-ever decentralized database for handling climate science data, with multiple petabytes of data at dozens of federated sites worldwide. It is recognized as the leading infrastructure for the management and access of large distributed data volumes for climate change research. It supports the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP), whose protocols enable the periodic assessments carried out by the IPCC.
Using a system of geographically distributed peer nodes—independently administered yet united by common protocols and interfaces—the ESGF community holds the premier collection of simulations and observational and reanalysis data for climate change research. ESGF is in the early stages of being adapted for use in two additional domains: biology (to accelerate drug design and development) and energy (infrastructure for California Energy Systems for the 21st Century (CES21)).