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SHEBA Reconnaissance Imagery

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Image Data

The Version 1.0 Imagery Data Set

Image data and additional image information are given in the Metadata Table. Uncompressed file sizes range from 200 to 700 MB. Please be sure your computer system and software are capable of manipulating very large images before you acquire any images. You may prefer to use the smaller image subsets, which is expained in The Imagery Subset section of this document.

Data are available in two projections Polar Stereographic and Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM), and three formats GeoTIFF, ERDAS Imagine, and Band Sequential Binary (BSQ). The images in Polar Stereographic projection have an embedded north arrow and scale bar. Associated header files contain corner point, image dimension, and projection information. The Polar Stereographic projection, the same projection used for many of NSIDC's passive microwave products, is true at 70 degrees North, with a central meridian of -45 degrees. The UTM projection is in Zone 4N.

The Image Order Form allows users to request images for staging on our FTP site or shipment on DVD. The table below summarizes naming conventions and describes file content.

File name example



Header file for image in polar stereographic projection


Image in GeoTIFF format, polar stereographic projection


Image in ERDAS Imagine format, polar stereographic projection


Image in band-sequential binary format, polar stereographic projection


Header file for image in UTM projection


Image in GeoTIFF format, UTM projection


Image in ERDAS Imagine format, UTM projection


Image in band-sequential binary format, UTM projection

The Imagery Subset

Subsets were created using the Version 1.0 reconnaissance images. The subsets cover 5 km by 5 km and are 5000 by 5000 pixels, or about 20 MB. The area of the original image covered by each subset was selected to avoid clouds, unless the Des Groseillers was obvious in the image, in which case the subset was selected to include the ship. In many images, the large-scale texture of the ice is not homogenous on a 5 km scale. Therefore while an effort was made to choose representative subsets, the subsets are not necessarily samples of average surface conditions. The subsets are in GeoTIFF format, can be obtained by FTP, and are listed in the Metadata Table. If you obtain data by FTP, please register as a user. Registered users will automatically receive release notes via e-mail containing notification of changes or additions to the data set.

Procedures for Obtaining the Data

Access to SHEBA Reconnaissance Imagery Version 1.0 is unrestricted but users must fill out the Order Form to receive access information. The Order Form allows users to request one to three full-sized images for staging on our FTP site. If you need more than three images, we will ship those to you on DVD. NSIDC requests that users provide a summary of purpose stating how the data will be used. Submitting the Order Form automatically registers you as a user. Registered users will automatically receive release notes via e-mail containing notification of changes or additions to the data set. The Imagery Subsets can be obtained by FTP without submitting the Order Form, but we ask that users of the subsets register by e-mail (see above).

Citation Instructions

The following example shows how to cite the use of this data set in a publication. List the principal investigators, year of data set release, data set title and version number, dates of the data you used (for example, December 2003 to March 2004), publisher: NSIDC, and digital media.

Fetterer, F. and N. Untersteiner. 2000. SHEBA Reconnaissance Imagery, [list the dates of the data used]. Boulder, Colorado USA: National Snow and Ice Data Center.

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

Contact Information

For data set information, please contact NSIDC User Services:

NSIDC User Services
National Snow and Ice Data Center
University of Colorado
Boulder, CO 80309-0449  USA
phone: +1 303.492.6199
fax: +1 303.492.2468
form: Contact NSIDC User Services


These references describe work done with similar imagery from the Medea Environmental Intelligence and Applications Program.

Fetterer, F., and N. Untersteiner, Observations of melt ponds on Arctic sea ice, Journal of Geophysical Research, 103 (C11), 24,821-24,835, 1998.

Fetterer, F., and N. Untersteiner, Melt pond coverage statistics from classified satellite data, in International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium, (on CD-ROM), IEEE 97CH36174, Seattle, WA, 1998.


The following organizations played major roles in making these data available:

National Science Foundation
United States Geological Survey
Department of Central Intelligence Environmental Committee
Earth Satellite Corporation

Funding for work done by NSIDC was provided by the Naval Research Laboratory (contract no. N00014-96-C-6017, F. Fetterer, PI) and the ARCSS Data Coordination Center (National Science Foundation Grant No. OPP-9321416 and Grant No. OPP-9726988, Roger Barry, PI). This data set is distributed through the NOAA program at NSIDC. The NOAA program receives financial support from NOAA NESDIS in cooperation with the National Geophysical Data Center.