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Arctic Climatology Project - EWG Arctic Meteorology and Climate Atlas

Summary

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) was established in June 1995 under the framework of the U.S.-Russian Joint Commission on Economic and Technological Cooperation. The EWG's objective was to explore how the United States and Russia could exchange unclassified data derived from each country's national security collection systems. In January 1996, the EWG Arctic Climatology Project took on the task of compiling digital data on arctic regions to expand scientific understanding of the Arctic. The EWG decided to develop a set of three complementary atlases on CD-ROM for arctic oceanography, sea ice, and meteorology.

The Arctic Meteorology and Climate Atlas was developed by specialists from the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI), St. Petersburg, Russia; the University of Washington, Seattle; and the National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado, Boulder. The Atlas contains three main sections: a history section, a primer, and a data section. The history section and primer provide background and introductory information for newcomers to arctic meteorology, while the data section contains gridded fields of meteorological parameters and newly released meteorological station data from Russian and other sources. In addition, the Atlas includes several English translations of Russian technical documents and a glossary of meteorological terms in English and Russian.

This documentation is an overview of the Atlas and was prepared by NSIDC based on the complete documentation available on the Atlas CD-ROM.

Note: This online documentation includes an important Addendum and Errata section that is not included in the CD-ROM's documentation.

Citing These Data

NSIDC requests that users acknowledge use of the EWG Joint U.S.-Russian Sea Ice Atlas, thereby recognizing its funding agencies and broadening awareness of its services. Citations in reference lists accompanying published work should state:

Arctic Climatology Project. 2000. Environmental working group Arctic meteorology and climate atlas. Edited by F. Fetterer and V. Radionov. Boulder, CO: National Snow and Ice Data Center. http://dx.doi.org/10.7265/N5MS3QNJ

Please send the citation of any publication that uses this data set to NSIDC User Services.

Overview Table
 

Category Description
Data format See the documentation that comes with the CD
Spatial coverage and resolution Arctic
Temporal coverage and resolution 1893-1995
Tools for accessing data To begin viewing the contents of the CD, open 00start.html that resides in the top level directory.
Parameter(s) Two-meter air temperature
Sea level pressure
Precipitation
Cloud Cover
Snow Depth
Snow Water Equivalent (SWE)
Global solar radiation
Relative humidity or dew point temperature
Surface temperature
Wind velocity and direction
Metadata access View metadata
Data access Download contents of CD-Rom via FTP

 

Table of Contents

Atlas Sections

The Arctic Meteorology and Climate Atlas was developed by specialists from the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI), St. Petersburg, Russia; the University of Washington, Seattle; and the National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado, Boulder, USA. The Atlas has three main sections.

  1. "A Look Back" highlights some chapters in the history of arctic exploration and weather observation and includes a condensed translation of an AARI publication detailing the Russian North Pole drifting station program, as well as a photo gallery from the North Pole stations:
  2. "Arctic meteorology and climate: A Primer for newcomers to the North" is a collection of informative facts concerning elements of meteorology and climate with an emphasis on phenomena that occur in the Arctic. In addition, the Primer includes an article on Inuit climate knowledge, a monograph on weather hazards in the Russian Arctic translated from Russian into English, and a glossary of meteorology in English and Russian.
  3. The "Data and Documentation" section of the Atlas contains gridded fields and station data from Russian and other sources. An HTML interface allows the user to plot data from the coastal stations and floating platforms. Station and platform data are in ASCII files. Gridded fields are climatological monthly mean fields of meteorological parameters based on the best available existing products improved, when possible, with new data. Gridded field data are in ASCII EASE-Grid format files with a cell size of 250 km. Corresponding browse files are .gif format images. In addition to data, this section of the Atlas contains the following documents in both Russian and English:
    • A Climatology of Arctic Clouds by Inga Nikolayevna Zavyalova
    • The Solar Radiation Regime of the Arctic (Description of the Marshunova Radiation Climatology) by M. S. Marshunova
    • Technological Handbook of the Climate of Russia (Arctic Region): Solar Radiation, edited by V.F. Radionov

Investigators

Vladimir Radionov
Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute

Florence Fetterer
National Snow and Ice Data Center

Description of Atlas Data Contents

Gridded Fields

Two-meter air temperature: Monthly means, standard deviation, and coefficient of variation for the 1980s and 1990s.

Sea level pressure: Decadal monthly means for the 1950s through 1990s; period-of-record monthly means for 1951 through 1990; long-term monthly means for 1961 through 1990; and fields of anomaly, standard deviation, and coefficient of variation.

Precipitation: Monthly mean fields for the period 1951 to 1990 in millimeters (averaged over the month).

Cloud: Decadal monthly mean fields of total and low cloud cover for 1952 through 1995; long-term monthly mean fields of total and low cloud cover for 1952 through 1995.

Snow: Monthly mean snow depth fields on land for 1966 through 1982; monthly mean snow depth fields for the Arctic ocean for 1954 through 1991; monthly mean snow water equivalent fields for the Arctic ocean for 1954 through 1991.

Global solar radiation: Climatological monthly means. In addition, the "Gridded Fields" section of the Atlas contains a climatology of direct, global and net radiation from Russian and other sources, compiled and scanned at AARI by M. S. Marshunova.

Coastal Station Data

Monthly means of meteorological observation data from 65 Russian and 24 western coastal and island stations for a period that includes the early 1950's through 1990 are provided. The Russian station observations include two-meter air temperature, sea level pressure, total and low cloud amount, and relative humidity. The western station observations include sea level pressure, two-meter air temperature, and precipitation. After 1960, a moisture parameter (relative humidity or dew point temperature) is generally available.

Floating Platform Data

The data in this section of the Atlas, taken together, provide observations with better spatial and temporal coverage of the Arctic ocean than has generally been available in the past. These data are three or six hourly synoptic data, monthly means, or in the case of DARMS, once daily observations.

Data are from:

Russian "North Pole" drifting stations: Two-meter air temperature, sea level pressure, total and low cloud, surface temperature, and wind velocity, for years spanning 1938 to 1991.

Western drifting stations: The earliest data are from the Fram in 1893, and the latest are from the AIDJEX experiment in 1975 and 1976. Parameters vary but all stations include two-meter air temperature, surface air pressure, wind speed and direction, and humidity data. Note that oceanographic data from certain Western drifting stations may be found in the National Oceanic Data Center's World Ocean Database.

Russian Drifting Automatic Radiometeorological Stations (DARMS): Wind speed and direction, surface air pressure and air temperature from 1958 through 1975.

Russian Ice Patrol ships: Wind speed and direction, air pressure, air temperature, sea surface temperature, total cloud amount, low cloud amount, and relative humidity for voyages from 1952 through 1982.

Addendum and Errata

  1. The Primer section has an error in the description of the Arctic Oscillation (found in file:///EWG_V1.0/HTML/PRIMER/PATTERNS/index.htm). The sentence "In the negative phase, frigid winter air does not extend as far into the middle of North America as it would during the positive phase of the oscillation" is incorrect: it should read "In the positive phase, frigid winter air does not extend as far into the middle of North America as it would during the negative phase of the oscillation." Note that the online version of the Primer at NSIDC is correct.
  2. Gridded fields of 2-meter air temperature are constructed using the University of Washington's International Arctic Buoy Program/Polar Exchange at the Sea Surface (IABP/POLES) temperature analysis fields. Updates and revisions to these fields can be obtained from the University of Washington's International Arctic Buoy Programme (IABP) / Polar Exchange at the Sea Surface (POLES).
  3. The PDF version of the technical documentation is missing Figure 7. Figure 7 can be viewed using the html version of the documentation in file:///EWG_V1.0/HTML/DATA/DOCUMENTATION/index.htm, under Russian Drifting, Floating Platforms.
  4. The documentation for Gridded Fields, Solar Radiation contains an error in the section on data sources for global radiation fields, ocean data sources. The sentence "Radiation data from the Russian North Pole (NP) drifting stations were compiled by AARI scientists as monthly averages for the mean position of stations NP-17 through NP-31 [Marshunova and Mishin, 1994], and obtained from Daily Arctic Ocean Rawinsonde Data from Soviet Drifting Ice Stations, a CD-ROM product of AARI, University of Washington Polar Science Center, and NSIDC" should instead read "Radiation data from the Russian North Pole (NP) drifting stations were compiled by AARI scientists as monthly averages for the mean position of stations NP-17 through NP-31 [Marshunova and Mishin, 1994], and obtained from Arctic Ocean Snow and Meteorological Observations from Drifting Stations, a CD-ROM product of AARI, University of Washington Polar Science Center, and NSIDC."
  5. Oceanographic data from certain Western drifting stations may be found in the National Oceanic Data Center's World Ocean Database.
  6. All station data reflect sea-level pressure, not surface pressure.
  7. Related NSIDC Data Collections

Contact Information

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

Document Information

Document Revision Date

January 2010, A. Windnagel: Added overview table and clarified how to acquire the data.
March 2003

Document Review Date

June 2000

Document Curator

NSIDC Writers

Document URL

http://nsidc.org/data/docs/noaa/g01938_ewg_arctic_met_atlas/index.html