SCICEX: The Science Ice Exercise

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The Science Ice Exercise (SCICEX) program is a collaboration between the U.S. Navy and the marine research community to utilize nuclear-powered submarines for the study of the Arctic Ocean. Unlike surface ships, submarines have the unique and valuable ability to operate and take measurements regardless of sea ice cover and weather conditions. The goal of the program is to acquire comprehensive data about Arctic sea ice, water properties, and bathymetry.

SCICEX is important because it adds critical pieces to the overall information needed to analyze sea ice and ocean dynamics - ice thickness and bathymetry data in particular but also chemical, biological, and physical oceanographic data. With the success of the initial project in 1993, the U.S. Navy and the National Science Foundation (NSF) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) in 1994 that called for five more dedicated SCICEX missions. The dedicated SCICEX cruises occurred in 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, and 1999.

In October of 1998, due in large part to a drastic reduction in the size of the nuclear submarine fleet, the U.S. Navy announced that they could no longer facilitate the dedicated missions. In an effort to try and continue the SCICEX program, the Navy and the science community agreed upon shorter duration missions that included data collection for science but did not include civilian scientists on board the submarines. These were coined Science Accommodation Missions (SAMs). To date, four SAMs have been completed in 2000, 2001, 2003, and 2005. More routine opportunities to collect SCICEX data during SAMs are expected.

Geographic Coverage


Spatial Coordinates:
N: 90°     S: 71°     E: 180°     W: -180°    

Temporal Coverage

Start Date: 1993-08-23
Stop Date: 2005-11-20

Location Keywords


Science Keywords

  • Cryosphere Sea Ice Ice Depth/Thickness
  • Oceans Bathymetry/Seafloor Topography Bathymetry
  • Oceans Ocean Chemistry Nutrients
  • Oceans Sea Ice Ice Depth/Thickness

Ancillary Keywords

  • CTD probes
  • Expendable CTD Profiles
  • Upward Looking Sonar
  • xCTD probes




  • CTD Conductivity, Temperature, Depth


  • SCICEX Scientific Ice Expeditions

Data Set Progress


Data Center

National Snow and Ice Data Center
Data Center URL:

Data Center Personnel

Name: NSIDC User Services
Phone: 1 303 492-6199
Fax: 1 303 492-2468
Contact Address:

  • National Snow and Ice Data Center
  • CIRES, 449 UCB
  • University of Colorado

City: Boulder
Province or State: CO
Postal Code: 80309-0449
Country: USA

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Data Center URL:

Data Center Personnel

Name: NOAA User Services
Phone: 1 303 492-6199 x
Fax: 1 303 492-2468 x
Contact Address:

  • National Snow and Ice Data Center
  • CIRES, 449 UCB
  • University of Colorado

City: Boulder
Province or State: CO
Postal Code: 80309-0449
Country: USA


Jacqueline Richter-Menge
Contact Address:

  • Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory
  • 72 Lyme Rd.

City: Hanover
Province or State: NH
Postal Code: 03755-1290
Country: USA


SCICEX Science Advisory Committee. 2010. SCICEX Phase II Science Plan, Part I: Technical Guidance for Planning Science Accommodation Missions. US Arctic Research Commission, Arlington, VA, 76 pp.

Edwards, M. H. and B. J. Coakley. 2003. SCICEX Investigations of the Arctic Ocean System. Chemie der Erde - Geochemistry 63(4): 281 - 328.

Edwards, M. H. and B. J. Coakley. 2004. The SCICEX Program: Arctic Ocean Investigations from a U.S. Navy Nuclear-Powered Submarine. Arctic Research of the United States 18(Fall/Winter): 14 - 20. Rothrock D., W. Maslowski, D. Chayes, G. Flato, J. Grebmeier, R. Jackson, R. Sambrotto, W. Smethie, W. Sternberger, J. Swift, J. Tarduno, A. Thorndike. 1999. Arctic Ocean Science from Submarines – A Report Based on the SCICEX 2000 Workshop. Applied Physics Lab, University of Washington, Seattle, WA.

Pyle T. E., M. Ledbetter, B. Coakley, D. Chayes. 1997. Arctic Ocean Science. Sea Technology 38(10): 10–15.

Metadata Name and Version

Metadata Name: CEOS IDN DIF
Metadata Version: 9.7

Creation and Review Dates

DIF Creation Date: 2012-09-20
Last DIF Revision Date: 2013-11-19

Metadata Views

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U.S. Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata (CSDGM)


International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 19115:2003 Geographic Information Metadata

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