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Data Set ID:
G00791

IABP Drifting Buoy Pressure, Temperature, Position, and Interpolated Ice Velocity, Version 1

The International Arctic Buoy Programme (IABP) maintains a network of drifting buoys to provide meteorological and oceanographic data for real-time operational requirements and research purposes including support to the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) and the World Weather Watch (WWW) Programme. An average of 25 buoys are in service at any time. The IABP drifting buoy data products described here are 12-hour interpolated pressure, temperature, position, and ice velocity grids available by year from 1979 through the present.

Geographic Coverage

Parameter(s):
  • Atmospheric Temperature > Air Temperature
  • Atmospheric Pressure
  • Sea Ice > Sea Ice Motion > Ice Drift
  • Sea Ice > Sea Ice Motion > Ice Velocity
Spatial Coverage:
  • N: 90, S: 50, E: 0, W: -180

Spatial Resolution:
  • Varies
Temporal Coverage:
  • 19 January 1979
Temporal Resolution: 12 hour
Data Format(s):
  • ASCII Text
Platform(s) BUOYS
Sensor(s): BAROMETERS, DRIFTING BUOYS, PRESSURE GAUGES, THERMOMETERS
Version: V1
Data Contributor(s): Ignatius Rigor
Data Citation

As a condition of using these data, you must cite the use of this data set using the following citation. For more information, see our Use and Copyright Web page.

Rigor, I. G. Compiled by Polar Science Center. 2002. IABP Drifting Buoy Pressure, Temperature, Position, and Interpolated Ice Velocity, Version 1. [Indicate subset used]. Boulder, Colorado USA. NSIDC: National Snow and Ice Data Center. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.7265/N53X84K7. [Date Accessed].

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Overview

Background

A network of automatic data buoys for monitoring synoptic-scale fields of pressure, temperature, and ice motion throughout the Arctic Basin was recommended by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 1974. Based on the Academy's recommendation, the Arctic Ocean Buoy Programme was established by the Polar Science Center, University of Washington, in 1978 to support the Global Weather Experiment. Operations began in early 1979 and the program continued through 1990 with funding from various agencies. In 1991, the Arctic Ocean Buoy Programme was superseded by the International Arctic Buoy Programme (IABP), although the basic objective remains the same: to establish and maintain a network of drifting buoys in the Arctic Ocean to collect data needed for real-time operations and meteorological and oceanographic research.

Drifting buoys measure atmospheric pressure, air temperature, and other geophysical quantities. These data are processed at the University of Washington's Polar Science Center, and are interpolated to produce gridded fields. Data are usually updated by May of each year. NSIDC does not archive these data; they are available online from the Polar Science Center. NSIDC catalogs the data set and provides this documentation with links to the Polar Science Center's IABP site in order to publicize and facilitate access to the data.

Several related data sets are available from the Polar Science Center's IABP site, including a CD-ROM containing IABP data and derived products from 1979 through 1999, an ocean buoy data set with temperature and salinity from drifting buoys from 1985 through 1994, GIF files graphically depicting gridded products, and a surface air temperature (SAT) data set (the IABP/POLES SAT data set) that combines data from buoys, manned drifting stations, and meteorological land stations.

Detailed Data Description

Parameters and Coverage

The data record begins in 1979 and is ongoing. The processed data sets consist of atmospheric pressure, temperature, position, and ice velocity interpolated to a fixed grid of points in space and at 12-hour intervals (0000 UTM and 1200 UTM) daily. Data set AB contains pressure and temperature fields, data set C contains buoy positions, and data set D contains interpolated ice velocity fields computed from the buoy positions. The number of buoys deployed and the area they cover varies from year to year.

Data are interpolated to both a 2° longitude by 10° latitude grid, where latitude is 70 oN to 90 oN and longitude is 0o to 360o, and a rectangular EASE-Grid with 100 km resolution.

The format of the ASCII data files is described in annual data reports from 1980 to 2003 from the IABP Data Reports web site. Included are also the data from each year complete with column headers and specified units.

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Format

Data are in space delimited ASCII text format and are available on a 2° x 10° grid and in EASE-Grid format. Data are downloadable in gunzip, ".gz", format.

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File and Directory Structure
  • AB: Pressure and temperature fields as described in the buoy reports.
  • C: Buoy positions as described in the buoy reports.
  • D: Ice velocity fields as described in the buoy reports.
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Sample Data Record

The following sample data record is from the "84" data file found in the AB directory, which contains twelve-hourly pressure and temperature fields. These data are from 1984 and the columns correspond to the following:

  1. year
  2. month; 1 for January, 2 for February, etc.
  3. day
  4. hour in GMT (0 or 12)
  5. latitude in degrees north
  6. longitude in degrees east
  7. interpolated pressure in millibars
  8. interpolated temperature in degrees Celsius squared
  9. interpolation error variance in millibars squared
  10. interpolation error variance in degrees Celsius squared
  11. pressure derivative multiplied by 103 in the x direction in units of millibars per kilometer
  12. pressure derivative multiplied by 103 in the y direction in units of millibars per kilometer
  13. interpolated second derivatives (xx) of pressure multiplied by 106 in units of millibars per kilometer
  14. interpolated second derivatives (yy) of pressure multiplied by 106 in units of millibars per kilometer
  15. interpolated second derivatives (xy) of pressure multiplied by 106 in units of millibars per kilometer
84
1
1
0
70
0
956.5
-999.9
2.1
-9.9
-11
-15
52
4
38
84
1
1
0
70
10
954.9
-999.9
2.1
-9.9
-10
3
43
2
61
84
1
1
0
70
20
962.8
-999.9
2.1
-9.9
-9
27
37
6
41
84
1
1
0
70
30
975.5
-999.9
2.1
-9.9
-9
31
31
5
13
84
1
1
0
70
40
986.5
-999.9
2.1
-9.9
-10
20
20
-2
6
84
1
1
0
70
50
993.7
-999.9
2.1
-9.9
-6
11
15
5
5
84
1
1
0
70
60
998.2
-999.9
2.1
-9.9
-7
4
11
4
6
84
1
1
0
70
70
1002.6
-999.9
2.1
-9.9
-11
0
16
-1
4
84
1
1
0
70
80
1009.8
-999.9
2.1
-9.9
-20
4
5
-2
2
84
1
1
0
70
90
1018
-999.9
2.1
-9.9
-18
5
-9
-1
-2

The following sample data record is from the "C2003" data file found in the C directory, which contains buoy positions data. These data are from 2003 and the columns correspond to the following:

  1. year
  2. month; 1 for January, 2 for February, etc.
  3. day
  4. hour in GMT (0 or 12)
  5. buoy identification number
  6. latitude in degrees north
  7. longitude in degrees east

2003

1

1

0

1222

80.561

-136.472

2003

1

1

0

1907

76.644

170.393

2003

1

1

0

1908

74.4

-155.248

2003

1

1

0

5311

83.974

-118.374

2003

1

1

0

9120

84.012

26.058

2003

1

1

0

9834

79.918

177.131

2003

1

1

0

15524

72.943

-175.386

2003

1

1

0

19577

82.861

-162.599

2003

1

1

0

19578

80.304

-156.248

2003

1

1

0

20726

84.011

26.044

The following sample data record below is from the "D79" data file found in the D directory, which contains ice velocity estimates at a fixed grid of points. These data are from 1979 and the columns correspond to the following:

  1. year
  2. month; 1 for January, 2 for February, etc.
  3. day
  4. hour in GMT (0 or 12)
  5. latitude in degrees north
  6. longitude in degrees east
  7. interpolated ice velocity in the x direction in cm/s
  8. interpolated ice velocity in the y direction in cm/s
  9. variance of the interpolation error in velocity in dimensionless units
  10. interpolated velocity derivatives expressed in Cartesian coordinates (After multiplication by 10-7, the reported values have units of s-1.)
  11. interpolated velocity derivatives expressed in Cartesian coordinates (After multiplication by 10-7, the reported values have units of s-1.)
  12. interpolated velocity derivatives expressed in Cartesian coordinates (After multiplication by 10-7, the reported values have units of s-1.)
  13. interpolated velocity derivatives expressed in Cartesian coordinates (After multiplication by 10-7, the reported values have units of s-1.)
79
2
19
12
74
160
-1.1
-0.1
0.9
-0.1
0.31
-0.02
-0.02
79
2
19
12
74
180
-0.4
0.9
0.2
-0.42
-0.67
0.04
-0.29
79
2
19
12
74
200
2.3
3
0.1
-0.26
0.16
0.06
-0.23
79
2
19
12
74
220
0.7
2.1
0.1
0.07
0.11
-0.4
0.21
79
2
19
12
78
120
1.1
0
1
0.21
-0.44
0
0
79
2
19
12
78
140
1.1
0
1
0.32
-0.39
-0.01
-0.01
79
2
19
12
78
160
-0.1
0
0.8
0.88
0.02
0.03
-0.04
79
2
19
12
78
180
-0.6
0.8
0.2
0.7
-0.25
-0.03
-0.25
79
2
19
12
78
200
1.2
1.6
0.3
0.1
-0.18
-0.36
-0.14
79
2
19
12
78
220
1.3
0.6
0
-0.2
0.04
-0.38
0.04

Please refer to the International Arctic Buoy Programme and Arctic Buoy Data Web site for more information on the fields in each data record.

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File Naming Convention

File names include the directory that they are grouped under, AB, C, or D, and the year the data were recorded.

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File Size

Data file sizes range from 45 KB to 3.4 MB compressed.

WARNING: The AB data sets are 20 MB - 30 MB when uncompressed. Compressed, they are only about 4 MB, but if these data sets are retrieved through mosaic rather than through ftp, the user must make sure that there is enough disk space free in temporary and home directories. This will prevent a system crash from lack of available disk space.

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Quality Assessment

Atmospheric pressure is typically measured using barometers with errors of < 1 mb.

Air temperature is measured using a variety of instruments. The thermistors typically have measurement errors of < 0.1oC, but where these instruments are installed on the buoys necessitates some care in interpreting the data. Prior to 1991, most measurements were taken from thermistors placed inside the hull of air dropped buoys, and were used primarily to calibrate the barometers. These buoys were sometimes covered with snow during winter, and were often warmed from insulation during summer. In 1992, the IABP began deploying buoys which measured true air temperatures from shielded thermistors at 2 meters height. For a detailed discussion of the temperature measurements from buoys, see Rigor et al. 2000.

Most buoys are positioned by the Argos systems on NOAA polar orbiting satellites. The Argos system results in positions with a measurement error of < 300 m. Global Position Systems have been installed on many of the newer buoys, and can be positioned with errors of < 100 m.

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Data Access

Data are available online from the Polar Science Center, Applied Physics Laboratory, at the University of Washington. Raw data (data received from buoys prior to processing) through 2004 are archived at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) and are available by special arrangement with the University of Washington Polar Science Center and NSIDC. Data are available through the International Arctic Buoy Programme (IABP) and are provided on a CD-ROM or via FTP.

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Software and Tools

Software and Tools

Data can be read with FORTRAN statements provided by the Polar Science Center, Applied Physics Laboratory, at the University of Washington. Visit the International Arctic Buoy Programme and Arctic Buoy Data web site.

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Data Acquisition and Processing

Please refer to the documentation provided by the Polar Science Center, Applied Physics Laboratory, at the University of Washington. Specific information on data acquisition and processing can be found in the documentation on the International Arctic Buoy Programme and Arctic Buoy Data Web site. In brief, buoy data are relayed via NOAA polar orbiting satellites to Service Argos in Toulouse, France and Largo, Maryland. These "raw" data are collected by the Polar Science Center, where they are quality controlled and interpolated to equal space and time intervals using objective analysis procedures (Rigor et al. 2000, Thorndike, 1986, Thorndike and Colony, 1982, and Thorndike and Colony, 1979). The data are also posted on the Global Telecommunications System.

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References and Related Publications

Contacts and Acknowledgments

Ignatius Rigor
Polar Science Center
Applied Physics Laboratory
University of Washington
1013 N.E. 40th Street
Seattle, WA 98105 U.S.A.

Acknowledgments: 

The International Arctic Buoy Programme (IABP) is funded and managed by its participants. Representing eight countries, participants include operational and research agencies, meteorological and oceanographic institutes, and nongovernmental organizations. Participant contributions include equipment, services, and program coordination, as well as funding.

The International Arctic Buoy Programme is partially funded through the U.S. Interagency Arctic Buoy Programme (USIABP). Refer to the International Arctic Buoy Programme (IABP) Web site for more information on program sponsorship.

Document Information

Document Author

F. Fetterer

Document Creation Date

This document was created in 2002 by F. Fetterer.

Document Revision Date

This document was edited and reformatted in January 2006 by L Husted

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