Nimbus Advanced Vidicon Camera System Remapped Visible Imagery Daily L3, HDF5

This data set (NmAVCS3H) consists of daily, global image composites constructed from Nimbus 1 (1964) and Nimbus 2 (1966) Advanced Vidicon Camera System (AVCS) imagery. Each composite is provided as a set of three HDF5–formatted files: separate North and South Polar projections in the 5 km Equal-Area Scalable Earth Grid (EASE-Grid) and an equatorial projection in a 10 km equidistant grid for the region between 60 N and 60 S. Browse images are also available.

Table of Contents

  1. Contacts and Acknowledgments
  2. Detailed Data Description
  3. Data Access and Tools
  4. Data Acquisition and Processing
  5. References and Related Publications
  6. Document Information

Citing These Data

We kindly request that you cite the use of this data set in a publication using the following citation example. For more information, see our Use and Copyright Web page.

Gallaher, David and G. Garrett Campbell. 2013. Nimbus Advanced Vidicon Camera System Remapped Visible Imagery Daily L3, HDF5, [indicate subset used]. Boulder, Colorado USA: NASA DAAC at the National Snow and Ice Data Center. doi:10.5067/NIMBUS/NmAVCS3H.

Overview

Platform

Nimbus 1 Satellite
Nimbus 2 Satellite

Sensor

Advanced Vidicon Camera System (AVCS)

Spatial Coverage

Global

Spatial Resolution

5 km for polar projections
10 km for equatorial projection

Temporal Coverage

Nimbus 1:
  • 31 August – 22 September, 1964
Nimbus 2:
  • 15 May – 20 August, 1966
  • 22 August – 2 September, 1966

Temporal Resolution

Daily

Parameters

Visible Brightness

Data Format

HDF5

Metadata Access

View Metadata Record

Data Access

See the Order Data page for a list of options.

1. Contacts and Acknowledgments

Investigators

David Gallaher
National Snow and Ice Data Center
CIRES, 449 UCB
University of Colorado
Boulder, CO 80309-0449 USA

G. Garrett Campbell
National Snow and Ice Data Center
CIRES, 449 UCB
University of Colorado
Boulder, CO 80309-0449 USA

Technical Contact

NSIDC User Services
National Snow and Ice Data Center
CIRES, 449 UCB
University of Colorado
Boulder, CO 80309-0449  USA
phone: +1 303.492.6199
fax: +1 303.492.2468
form: Contact NSIDC User Services
e-mail: nsidc@nsidc.org

Acknowledgements

The Nimbus Data Rescue Project: Nimbus 1, 2, 3 was supported by NASA contract #NNG08HZ07C as a subtask to NSIDC at the University of Colorado. The PIs also wish to thank Alex Calder, Carl Gallaher, and Anna Schroeder for their contributions to this project, and NSIDC student workers William Harris and Amy Randall.

2. Detailed Data Description

This data set (NmAVCS3H) consists of daily, global image composites constructed from the Nimbus Advanced Vidicon Camera System Visible Imagery L1, HDF5 (NmAVCS1H) data set. Each composite is provided as a set of three HDF5–formatted files: separate north and south polar projections in the 5 km Equal-Area Scalable Earth Grid (EASE-Grid) and a 10 km equidistant grid for the region between 60° N and 60° S. Note: if no data were available for an entire region (north polar, south polar, or equatorial), the file was not generated. As such, some daily composites consist of fewer than three files.

File Naming Convention

This section explains the file naming convention used for NmAVCS3H data files.

Example file name: NmAVCS3H.[YYYY].[MM].[DD].[P].hdf

Refer to Table 2 for descriptions of the file name variables listed above.

Where:

Table 2. NmAVCS3H File Naming Convention
Variable Description
NmAVCS3H Product
YYYY Year (1964 or 1966)
MM Month
DD Day
P Projection/Grid:
N=North Polar; S=South Polar; G=Equatorial
.hdf HDF–formatted file

File Size

Data files typically range between 5 MB - 25 MB.

Spatial Coverage

Coverage is global, however some regions (parts of Alaska, for example) are not available due to technological limitations at the time of the mission.

Spatial Resolution

Roughly 5 km for the north and south polar projections, 10 km for the equatorial projection.

Projection and Grid Description

Composites were constructed using two projections/grids. North and south polar views are provided in the 5 km Equal-Area Scalable Earth Grid (EASE-Grid). Please see NSIDC's Original EASE-Grid Format Description page for details.

The region from 60° N to 60° S is provided in a 10 km cylindrical equidistant projection. The grid was constructed by defining an initial 4000 east-west by 2000 north-south global array at the equator to establish roughly 10 km x 10 km cells. Only the portion of the grid from 60° N to 60° S (4000 X 1334) is saved for the final output. GeoTIFF versions of the equatorial projection file only are available as a separate data set, Nimbus Advanced Vidicon Camera System Remapped Visible Imagery Daily L3, GeoTIFF.

NmAVCS3H data files also include latitude and longitude arrays that specify the geographic center of each grid cell.

Temporal Coverage

  • Nimbus 1
    • 31 August through 22 September, 1964
  • Nimbus 2
    • 15 May through 20 August, 1966
    • 22 August through 2 September, 1966

Temporal Resolution

Daily

Parameter or Variable

Table 3 describes the data fields and corresponding attributes stored in NmAVCS3H data files. Note that the parameter of interest in this data set, visible brightness, is stored in the brightness Data Field. For details about the criteria used to select the most favorable value for a grid cell when multiple observations were available, see the Data Acquisition and Processing section of this document.

Table 3. NmAVCS3H Data Fields
Data Field Description Attributes Value
latitude Latitude array, grid cell geographic centers nav_info standard navigation
units degrees_north
longitude Longitude array, grid cell geographic centers nav_info standard navigation
units degrees_east
minimum_brightness Minimum brightness value from overlapping observations in grid cell. See the Cloud Clearing section of this document for details.
start_end_time Image composite date in seconds since 00:00:00, 01 January 1970.
cosine_view_angle Cosine view angle of observation used in composite. See Processing Steps for details
brightness Visible brightness. For multiple observations in grid cell, value with view angle closest to nadir is selected for mosaic. The cosine of this angle is stored in cosine_view_angle. DOI 10.5067/NIMBUS/NmAVCS3H
ESDT NmAVCS3H (data set short name)
long_ESDT Nimbus Advanced Vidicon Camera System Remapped Visible Imagery Daily L3, HDF5 (data set long name)
units 1

3. Data Access and Tools

Data Access

Please visit the Order Data page to see options for obtaining NmAVCS3H data files.

Software and Tools

HDF-compatible software packages, such as HDFView and Panoply, can be used to read, extract, and display NmAVCS3H data files.

4. Data Acquisition and Processing

Data Acquisition Methods

The Advanced Vidicon Camera System (AVCS) in effect acquired a snapshot every 91 seconds along the satellites' polar orbits. A vidicon pickup tube scanned the images and recorded brightness levels to a tape recorder. These data were then transmitted as an analog signal to ground stations within range of the satellite and eventually to Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). At GSFC, the images were reconstructed on a television picture tube and captured on black-and-white 35 mm film. The film images were then duplicated onto long reels and archived at NASA (and later NOAA). The film rolls remained in storage for some 40 years until NSIDC investigators undertook the task of digitizing the images for new climate research and preservation.

Derivation Techniques and Algorithms

Trajectory and Attitude Data

Navigation parameters were derived from the user guide description of the instrument. Satellite ephemeris and image times were used to calculate latitude and longitude for every pixel. Although the images contained tick marks indicating lines of latitude and longitude, the investigators believe the calculated positions better align the images with identifiable landmarks.

Processing Steps

To construct the daily composites, all AVCS images for the 24 hour period were accumulated from the NmAVCS1H data set. When multiple observations were available in a grid cell, the observation closest to satellite nadir was given preference. The cosine of the selected observation's view angle is stored in the cosine_view_angle data field for users who wish to make additional corrections based on view angle.

Cloud Clearing

As a simple aid to help differentiate cloudy from clear conditions, when multiple views were available in the same grid cell the minimum brightness value was written to a separate data field called minimum_brightness. Viewing consecutive days of this array may help confirm the presence of clouds in areas where clouds typically appear brighter than the surface, by revealing the absence of clouds on subsequent days. While useful for this purpose, the array tends to have more artifacts than the primary composite constructed from best view angles.

Quality Assessment

As discussed in the Nimbus Advanced Vidicon Camera System Visible Imagery L1, HDF5 documentation, AVCS images in these composites were calibrated by constructing individual histograms from all images in an orbit and matching histograms between many orbits. This helped remove some of the variations due to film exposure and developing. Although the calibration is not perfect, this approach yields a better composite compared with simply mixing the uncalibrated, raw images.

Error Sources

None of the original Nimbus calibration programs have survived. In addition, the navigation accuracy is limited by the satellite attitude control, which was no better than 1 degree, and no further information about the attitude is available. By eye, the navigation and continental boundaries line up with some random error.

The PIs estimate that the actual gray scale resolution is 4 bit, limited by the initial sensitivity of the AVCS and the accumulated degradation due to photo processing and digitization. However, the resolution is sufficient to at least qualitatively recognize clouds, ocean, land, and ice. Albedos and optical depths are likely irretrievable.

Sensor or Instrument Description

The Advanced Vidicon Camera System (AVCS) consisted of three earthward-facing cameras deployed in a fan-like array to produce a three-segment, composite picture. Each camera's field of view covered 37°; the center camera pointed straight down while the optical axes of other two was directed 35° to either side. The cameras utilized an f/4 lens with a focal length of 16.5 mm. A potentiometer attached to the solar array controlled the lens opening from f/16 when the spacecraft was over the equator to f/4 when it was near the poles. Eight-hundred scan-line, 2.54-cm-diameter vidicon pickup tubes yielded a linear resolution of better than 1 km at nadir from an altitude of 800 km. The camera array produced a composite picture covering an area of 830 km by 2700 km.

For additional information about the Nimbus AVCS, see the National Space Science Data Center's Advanced Vidicon Camera System (AVCS) Web page.

5. References and Related Publications

References

Gallaher, D., G. G. Campbell, and W. N. Meier. In Press. Anomalous Variability in Antarctic Sea Ice Extents During the 1960's with the Use of Nimbus Satellite Data. Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing.

Meier, W. N., D. Gallaher, and G. G. Campbell. 2013. New Estimates of Arctic and Antarctic Sea Ice Extent During September 1964 from Recovered Nimbus I Satellite Imagery. The Cryosphere Discuss 7:35-53. doi: 10.5194/tcd-7-35-2013.

Related Web Sites

6. Document Information

Acronyms and Abbreviations

The acronyms and abbreviations used in this document are listed in Table 7.

Table 7. Acronyms and Abbreviations
Acronym Description
AVCS Advanced Vidicon Camera System
DAAC Distributed Active Archive Center
EASE-Grid Equal-Area Scalable Earth Grid
GeoTIFF Georeferenced Tagged Image File Format
GSFC Goddard Space Flight Center
HDF Hierarchical Data Format
NASA The National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NOAA The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
NSIDC The National Snow and Ice Data Center

Document Creation Date

September 2013

Document URL

http://nsidc.org/data/docs/daac/nimbus/nmavcs3h/index.html