In this Issue



Issue 11, Fall 1994


EOSDIS Version 0 Announcement

The Earth Observing System (EOS) program, part of NASA's Mission to Planet Earth (MTPE), is focused on the study of global climate change. It is an aggressive Earth science research program supported by a series of EOS and Earth Probe flight missions to collect needed data and a ground data processing, cataloging, archive and distribution system, the Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS). EOSDIS is operated by institutional elements called Distributed Active Archive Centers (DAACs).

The EOS research program is intended to develop an understanding of the nature and pace of natural and anthropogenically-induced global climate change. Changes in climate could have significant impact on human activities (e.g., agriculture, energy use/conservation, planning for coastal cities, etc.) The ultimate goal of the MTPE program is to see this new scientific understanding translated into tangible benefits to the American people (whose tax dollars fund the MTPE program). This goal will be achieved if future public policy takes into account the developing scientific understanding of global climate change. The scientific research into global climate change sponsored by the EOS program, of necessity, treats the earth as an integrated system, cutting across the traditional Earth science disciplines in the atmospheric, ocean, and land sciences. The EOSDIS must support and facilitate this new, interdisciplinary research, while serving the existing traditional Earth science disciplines.

The EOSDIS Version 0 working prototype was made available for use by the general Earth science community on August 31, 1994. The Version 0 system is the culmination of three years of work by the Earth Science Data and Information System (ESDIS) Project and the EOSDIS DAACs to develop data archive, catalog, distribution, and user support capabilities at each DAAC, and a working prototype of a cross-DAAC catalog capability. The cross-DAAC catalog is the Version 0 IMS (Information Management System), which is explicitly aimed at meeting the needs of the interdisciplinary user. The system is intended to prservices to all Earth science users, including the wholly new cross-DAAC catalog capability, while at the same time testing user reaction to prototype implementations of a variety of functions. Information gained from user experience with this prototype will be used in the development of future versions of EOSDIS, to be based on the EOSDIS Core System (ECS) being developed for NASA by Hughes Applied Information Systems (HAIS). As would be expected with a prototype, users will encounter some rough edges, both in terms of minor problems with the system and with performance.

Each DAAC has science data holdings available to users for its particular Earth science sub-discipline, and provides active user support and a choice of data delivery options. DAAC holdings are described in detail in the 1994 Science Data Plan. The DAACs and an affiliated data center along with their sub-disciplines, representative key data sets, and User Support Office e-mail and telephone contact points are listed below.

ASF - University of Alaska Fairbanks, Alaska SAR Facility (Sea-Ice, Polar Processes Imagery) (ERS-1 and JERS-1 synthetic aperture radar data and derived geophysical products).

User Support: (907) 474-6166 or

EDC - USGS EROS Data Center (Land Processes Imagery) (Global 1km AVHRR, Global change Landsat collection, Airborne radiometer data, access to USGS Landsat, AVHRR, and other data).

User Support: (605) 594-6116 or

GSFC - NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (Upper Atmosphere, Atmospheric Dynamics, Global Biosphere, Geophysics) (AVHRR Land Pathfinder, CZCS, TOMS, and UARS mission data).

User Support: (301) 286-5033 or

JPL - NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (Ocean Circulation and Air-Sea Interaction (TOPEX/ Poseidon mission data, AVHRR Ocean Pathfinder).

User Support: (818) 354-9890 or

LARC - NASA Langley Research Center (Radiation Budget, Aerosols, Tropospheric Chemistry) (ERBE, SAGE, and SRB mission data, ISCCP data and climate products, and FIRE project data).

User Support: (804) 864-8656 or

MSFC - NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (Hydrology) (SSMI Pathfinder data, SSMI and MSU products, SMMR products).

User Support: (205) 922-5932 or

NSIDC - University of Colorado, National Snow and Ice Data Center (Cryopshere, non-SAR) (ESMR, SMMR, and SSMI products, polar 1km AVHRR data and products).

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


ORNL - DOE Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Biogeochemical Dynamics) (FIFE, OTTER, and BOREAS field campaign data, access to DOE CDIAC data).

User Support: (615) 241-3952 or

SEDAC - CIESIN Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (Policy applications of Earth science and socioeconomic data) (selected socioeconomic data).

User Support: (517) 797-2727

Affiliated Data Center

SAA - NOAA/NESDIS Satellite Active Archive (NOAA satellite data, including AVHRR level 1b 4km and 1 km data).

User Support: (301) 763-8402 or
WWW URL: http//

The Version 0 IMS provides a user accessing the system at any DAAC (except SEDAC which will be added in 1995) with a coherent view of the data holdings of all of the DAACs and the means to identify, in some cases browse, and order combinations of data meeting common search criteria from whatever combinations of DAACs the data reside. The user does not have to know in advance where the data reside, and can even search for a geophysical parameter of interest without having to know in advance what data sets include that parameter. Summary and detailed information about available data sets are directly available. The Version 0 IMS provides access to the Global Change Master Directory, which contains high level descriptions of data sets available from NASA, other US agencies and institutions, and internationally through a cooperative effort sponsored by CEOS (Committee on Earth Observation Satellites).

The Version 0 IMS offers both a Graphical User Interface (GUI) and a Character User Interface (ChUI). Running the GUI requires a workstation, X terminal, or PC/Macintosh capable of running the X Windows System (or an X terminal emulator such as MacX), with a 1024 x 768 pixel color display. System response time for the Version 0 IMS Graphical User Interface (GUI) will be limited by the capacity of the network connection between the user site and the DAAC which the user accesses. Generally, a communications capacity of 56 kbps is needed for good performance. The ChUI requires less communications bandwidth and thus performs better where network capacity is limited. Running the ChUI requires a PC/Macintosh using a VT100 emulator or any VT100 compatible terminal.

Eventually (starting in 1995) users will be able to port Version 0 IMS client software to their own sites to minimize network performance problems.

Users may access the Version 0 IMS from the WWW Version 0 IMS Home Page by selecting "Access to the EOSDIS V0 IMS." The Home Page also provides additional information such as an on-line Users Manual and tips for usage and user terminal configuration. The following is the Home Page URL:

Users may also access the Version 0 IMS by telnet to any one of the following Internet addresses: 12345 12345 12345 12345 12345 12345 12345 12345 12345

Once connected, users simply follow the instructions displayed on their screen. The ESDIS Project and the DAACs need and solicit user comments, critical or favorable, on the Version 0 system and the full suite of services available from the DAACs. Comments may be provided on-line via the Version 0 IMS. Users may also provide comments to the DAAC User Support Offices, from which users may also obtain additional information on available data sets and DAAC services.

The arcticle above is the text of a Public Affairs Announcement distributed by Greg Hunolt ESDIS Project on 8 December 1994.


ARCSS/LAII Data Series Volume 1 CD-ROM

The first ARCSS CD-ROM is now complete. This volume, titled ARCSS/LAII Data Series Volume 1: Alaska North Slope Data Sampler contains climate, soils, permafrost and vegetation data from the north slope of Alaska (some data sets cover the entire state of Alaska) that were identified at the January 1993 Flux Study PI meeting. The data sets provided on the CD-ROM and the contributors are listed below:

The CD-ROM is available to ARCSS-funded researchers on request. Those not funded by the ARCSS Program may obtain copies for $50.00 including shipping and handling. Contact NSIDC User Services for more information or to place an order.

Communications Hub for ARCSS

The ARCSS Data Coordination Center at NSIDC is developing a "bulletin board" for the ARCSS community. Within the next month or so, we expect to have available for testing a World Wide Web "Home Page" accessible using Mosaic and similar software. This site will also function as a listserver, allowing access by plain electronic mail as well. With Mosaic or similar software (available for Unix, DOS/Windows, and MacIntosh platforms), ARCSS investigators will be able to access the "Home Page," browse the text for information of interest, and click a mouse to obtain that information. Among the information expected to be available will be the "bulletin board," where the ARCSS community can post and read messages of interest; "white pages" listing all ARCSS- funded investigators with e-mail, snail mail, fax and phone (the latter with your permission!); the ARCSS Data Catalog; and links to other information sources at NSIDC. As the service develops, links to information sources outside NSIDC will be added.

Users without access to Windows/Mosaic will be able to send e-mail to the listserver, receive a list of message headers from the "bulletin board," and send e-mail back to receive the text of messages of interest. The response time is limited only by the speed of the network; we have tested this on an operational system at another center and the messages of interest were received within a minute of our request.

We will notify all ARCSS investigators by e-mail when this service is available for use. If you need more information about the World Wide Web, Mosaic and similar software, bulletin boards, or other technical details, please contact NSIDC User Services.

ARCSS Working Groups to Convene

The long-awaited ARCSS-wide Modeling Working Group and Data Management Working Group are scheduled to hold their first meetings in the first quarter of 1995. The Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S. (ARCUS) will convene and support these back- to- back sessions in February or March; the location has not been determined. There will be a joint half- day session to cover topics of mutual interest.

The Modeling Working Group will bring together representatives of the ARCSS modeling projects and related non-ARCSS efforts to develop a coherent plan for an integrated approach to the ARCSS modeling strategies.

Each of the ARCSS components will be represented on the Data Management Working Group, and will provide input and feedback to the data management and coordination planning within the ARCSS Program. Priorities for data product development and delivery mechanisms will be set by this group, which will be chaired by NSIDC.


NOAA/NASA SSM/I Pathfinder Benchmark Data Set Production Underway

NSIDC, in collaboration with the SSM/I Products Working Team (SPWT) and the NOAA/NASA Pathfinder SSM/I Science Working Group, has developed a data structure for the distribution of earth-gridded SSM/I data and geophysical products with full global coverage. This data structure, called the Equal Area SSM/I Earth Grid (EASE-Grid) provides a data format to the general user which maximizes the radiometric integrity of the original brightness temperature values, maintains high spatial and temporal precision, and involves no averaging of original swath data. The spatial interpolation from swath coordinates to the fixed earth grid (25km) is based on weighting functions derived from the actual antenna pattern. The EASE- Grid has been selected as the format for the Level 3 (earth-gridded) Products being distributed by the NOAA/NASA Pathfinder Program. The first data sets to be produced cover the SSM/I Pathfinder Benchmark Period of April 1987 to November 1988 and will include both brightness temperatures and selected geophysical products. The following describes the format and content of the data sets which will be produced on CD-ROM:

  1. Level 3 Brightness Temperatures: daily, global coverage, in EASE-Grid format.
    1. Temporal resolution: twice daily (ascending and descending orbits in separate files).
    2. Spatial resolution: 25km for all channels and 12.5 for 85 GHz with two equal area projections available - cylindrical for full global coverage and azimuthal for Northern and Southern Hemispheres.
    3. Array size: e.g., Northern Hemisphere Azimuthal Equal Area Projection, 721 x 721 for 25 km resolution, 1441 x 1441 for 12.5 km resolution.
    4. File size: e.g., 32 Mb (one day, all channels, Northern Hemisphere, both resolutions) including latitude and longitude and time tag for each 25 km cell.
  2. Level 3 Geophysical Products: created by applying algorithms, recommended by the NOAA/NASA Pathfinder SSM/I Science Working Group, to the Level 3 brightness temperatures. The products to be produced at NSIDC currently include the following:

Production is underway for the Level 3 brightness temperatures with the first CD-ROMs scheduled to be mailed to users during December 1994. All NSIDC data users who were on the mailing list for the EASE- Grid Prototype CD-ROMs will be receiving the initial mailing of Level 3 brightness temperatures. The first geophysical products to be available will be the ocean products in early 1995 with the remaining land products available by mid-1995.

For more information on the data sets described above or information on the NOAA/NASA Pathfinder Program in general, contact NSIDC User Services.

AARI (Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute) Data

NSIDC announces the availability of gridded sea ice parameters which were compiled by the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI), St. Petersburg, Russia. The data were provided to NSIDC as part of a data exchange program sponsored by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) for the purpose of developing a Global Digital Sea Ice Data Bank in the interests of the World Climate Program and the World Climate Research Program. Initial funding for the project came from WMO; recently, support was also received from the NOAA/ESDIM Project.

The AARI data were digitized from integrated sea ice charts generated by the operational division of AARI. The charts are produced through the assimilation and analysis of visual and instrumental aircraft observations and satellite data acquired by AARI during 10-day periods. Analysis of ice conditions in the Arctic is divided into two regions: the Western sector extends from 24 degrees W to 110 degrees E longitude with a minimum latitude of 68 degrees N and the Eastern sector extends from 105 degrees E to 230 degrees E longitude with a minimum latitude of 60 degrees N. Figure 1 shows the Western and Eastern sectors which bound the areal coverage of the AARI Arctic Sea Ice data set. Among the sea ice parameters obtained during the analysis of these sectors are total concentration, stage of development which includes new, first-year and multi-year stages, and form of ice.

Western and Eastern sectors which bound the areal coverage of the AARI Arctic Sea Ice Data Set

Figure 1. The Western and Eastern sectors which bound the areal covrage of the AARI Arctic Sea Ice data set.

The digitized data are converted into the SIGRID format, the WMO standard adopted by the WMO Commission for Marine Meteorology for the archival and exchange of digital sea-ice data. The minimum spatial resolution of the data stored in the SIGRID format is 15 minutes.

NSIDC has received data for the following periods from AARI:

Eastern Sector: 1967 - 1992 (files generated for 1972 includes data for both sectors)
Western Sector: 1973 - 1992

For additional information contact NSIDC User Services or Vasily Smolyanitsky at (, or Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute, 38 Bering St., St. Petersburg, Russia 199226.


Multi-sensor DMSP data from the DMSP Program at NOAA/National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC) are now available from NSIDC. These include data from the Operational Linescan System (OLS) visible and infrared imager, the SSM/I passive microwave imager, the SSM/T microwave temperature sounder, and the SSM/T-2 passive microwave water vapor profiler. NGDC began processing data from the OLS sensor in March 1994, from the SSM/I sensor in July 1994, and from the SSM/T and T-2 sensors during September 1994. Image display software is only available for the OLS data at this time.

NSIDC provides user services for data from the NGDC archive to the cryospheric research community. Data distribution is primarily in digital form on 8 mm 2.5 or 5.0 Gbyte Exabyte tape or hard-copy prints and transparencies. A pricing schedule has been established by NOAA/NGDC. Charges for OLS data are $8 per orbit, plus $19 for the cost of the tape. Hard-copy images cost $23 each for prints and transparencies and $22 each for slides. TIF and GIF files are also available at $16 each. An $11 shipping charge applies to all orders. NOAA requires prepayment on all orders.

Data are in a native archive format (fixed-length records, band interleaved by line), and basic access software (XDR, Unix C libraries) is provided. Tapes contain format statements, inventories, browse images and full resolution images.

An image display software package that NSIDC developed for NGDC, called 'POPVIEW' (for polar orbiter perspective), is also available upon request (for UNIX, X, Motif environments).

For more information or to place an order, contact NSIDC User Services.


We would like to correct two errors published in NSIDC Notes, No. 10, Summer 1994. In discussing the F-11 Brightness Temperature Grids on CD-ROM (p.1), we incorrectly stated that the eight volumes covered the period 3 December 1993 to 28 February 1994. The coverage dates actually begin with 3 December 1991 and go to 28 February 1994.

The second error came on p. 2 in the article on Monthly Averaged Sea Ice Concentration Grids. A portion of the directions for ftp access was incorrect. The correct version follows:

To obtain SSM/I Monthly-Averaged Sea Ice Concentration data from NSIDC via ftp:

To obtain monthly sea ice data from NSIDC:

(login as 'anonymous')
(type your e-mail address as password)

(Monthly averaged data and documentation are in the SSMI subdirectory.)

An expanded version of the documentation is now on-line, replacing the previous version.