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SHEBA Reconnaissance Imagery

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This data set consists of optical band reconnaissance imagery of the Surface Heat Budget of the Arctic Ocean (SHEBA) site acquired between August 1997 and October 1998. The 57 images cover a variable area on the order of 15 km by 40 km, at a resolution of about 1 m. Some but not all of the images contain the SHEBA experiment platform (the Canadian icebreaker Des Groseillers). A graphic of the ship track shows the area covered. The imagery was released at the request of the National Science Foundation (NSF). Data were acquired as part of the Medea Environmental Intelligence and Applications Program. See Image Data for more information on using this imagery. Image subsets (about 20 MB) and thumbnails of the full images are available in the Metadata Table.

About the Images

Thumbnail - Click to enlarge
Helicoper view of the SHEBA site during the height of the summer melt season. Full-size image

In an unprecedented boon for Arctic science, the National Imagery and Mapping Agency has approved the release of imagery acquired for the SHEBA experiment site. Investigators will use the imagery to:

  • Characterize surface conditions and their impact on the net radiation balance
  • Locate instrument sites relative to ice features that may affect measurements
  • Parameterize ice albedo and melt pond development for inclusion in climate models
  • Study pond development in response to changes in temperature, cloud cover, and insolation
  • Apply to a variety of other applications

In 2013, R. Kwok authored a paper that provided information on uses for these data:

Kwok, R. 2014. Declassified high-resolution visible imagery for Arctic sea ice investigations: an overview. Remote Sensing of the Environment 142: 44-56. doi: 10.1016/j.rse.2013.11.015.

The images below (from June 18, 1998) show how the SHEBA site appears in U.S. National Reconnaissance Imagery.
Des Groseilliers Location - Click to enlarge Des Groseilliers Close-up View - Click to enlarge

The square marks the location of the CCGS Des Groseilliers. (Image covers 7815 meters across the swath width, that is, diagonally across the image.)

Close-up view of the Des Groseilliers (area included in the red square in the image at left). The ship is 322 feet (about 98 meters) long, and in this image is oriented with the bow pointing to right or northeast. Note that the summer melt season is in progress; much of the ice is covered by dark melt ponds.

Click on either image above to view at full size.
Click here to see a track of the ship's geographic position during the experiment.