In this Issue



Issue 28, March 1999


New CD-ROM: Polar Pathfinder Sampler: Combined AVHRR, SMMR-SSM/I, and TOVS Time Series and Full-Resolution Samples

The AVHRR, SMMR-SSM/I and TOVS Polar Pathfinder research teams collaborated to make it as easy as possible to combine, compare and contrast data sets by using common processing and validation methods, and employing a common grid and projection, namely the NSIDC Equal-Area Scalable Earth Grid (EASE-Grid).

The Polar Pathfinder Sampler CD-ROM includes a two year time series of all three Polar Pathfinder products on a 100 km grid, the "P-Cube," with samples of full-resolution SSM/I, TOVS and AVHRR (both 1.25 km and 5 km products) Polar Pathfinder data sets. The CD-ROM documents each product extensively in HTML, and features selected images, animations, tables, and time series plots that are also accessible through the HTML interface. A freeware visualization package for major hardware platforms is included, enabling users to examine any of the data products. A set of IDL routines allows users who have IDL to visualize and perform simple bivariate analyses of the P-Cube data files.

For further information, visit our online data catalog or contact NSIDC User Services.

DMSP-F13 SSM/I Daily Polar Gridded Brightness Temperatures and Sea Ice Data

DMSP F13 SSM/I Daily Polar Gridded Brightness Temperatures CD-ROM volumes 1 through 14 have been distributed to subscribers. The fourteen volumes contain gridded brightness temperatures for the period 3 May 1995 through 30 September 1998. Subsequent volumes will be distributed as the source data become available to NSIDC for processing. Daily and monthly sea ice data for the F13 period mentioned above is available via ftp.

For further information, visit our online data catalog or contact NSIDC User Services.

Sea Ice Concentrations from Nimbus-7 SMMR and DMSP SSM/I Passive Microwave Data Now Available on CD-ROM

NSIDC is now distributing "Sea Ice Concentrations from Nimbus-7 SMMR and DMSP SSM/I Passive Microwave Data" on CD-ROM. These data were announced in NSIDC Notes no.21, Spring 1997, as the "Passive Microwave Derived Polar Sea Ice Concentration Time Series." The data set extends from October 1978 through December 1996 and was designed to provide a consistent time series of sea ice concentrations spanning the coverage of several passive microwave instruments. The ice concentrations were generated from SMMR and SSM/I brightness temperatures by the Oceans and Ice Branch, Laboratory for Hydrospheric Processes at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), using SMMR brightness temperatures that were processed at NASA GSFC and the NSIDC SSM/I brightness temperatures. Please note that these data are no longer available via ftp.

For further information, visit our online data catalog or contact NSIDC User Services.

Pathfinder EASE-Grid Brightness Temperature Data Update

Your responses to our EASE-Grid Brightness Temperature data survey were instrumental in determining our approach to continued distribution plans. We would like to apologize for any inconvenience that has resulted from the delay in continued distribution of the data set. Resources have been allocated to continue CD-ROM production. NSIDC began production of CD-ROMs for DMSP-F11 SSM/I Northern Hemisphere data and will continue through DMSP-F13. Data from DMSP-F11 and F13 Global and Southern Hemisphere will follow in a similar manner. All users will be notified as each product becomes available.

There is a delay from the time we begin the process of duplicating CD-ROMs and when they can be distributed to users. For users who would like more immediate access to the data, NSIDC plans to stage two volumes worth of data to our ftp site per week. Ftp staging will follow the same sequence as the CD- ROMs: Northern Hemisphere, then Global, followed by Southern Hemisphere. Data will remain on our ftp site for one week and will be replaced every Monday by two new volumes. Users will be notified with reminders and access instructions as requested data becomes available via ftp.

Please contact NSIDC User Services if you have any questions or need further assistance.

NSIDC Notes Survey

Thank you for the many responses we have received to the recently distributed NSIDC Notes Survey. We appreciate your input. NSIDC is currently in the process of compiling the results of this survey, but it is not too late to send in your survey if you have not already done so! Look for more results from the survey in future NSIDC Notes articles.

World Glacier Inventory

NSIDC announces the release of a new interface to the World Glacier Inventory. The World Glacier Inventory contains information for over 67,000 glaciers throughout the world and supersedes the earlier NSIDC inventory of over 33,000 Eurasian glaciers. Parameters within the inventory include: geographic location, area, length, orientation, elevation, and classification of morphological type and moraines. The inventory entries are based upon a single observation in time and can be viewed as a "snapshot" of the glacier. These data are collected and digitized by the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS), Zürich. The development of the data product was funded through NOAA's Environmental Services Data and Information Management (ESDIM) program.

Visit the World Glacier Inventory contact NSIDC User Services.

This interface allows user subsetting of the data by location, area, or parameter. Data are also available through the WGMS at: WGMS

Documentation for the data set is included with the data.

For more information, please contact NSIDC User Services.


The NASA Office of Space Science has awarded $225,000 to National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) glaciologist Anne Nolin for a three-year plan to map the polar ice on Mars.

Nolin and her co-investigator Dr. William Farrand of Farr View Consulting, will create a "virtual sensor" by combining data from two instruments currently in orbit around Mars. The scientists will apply satellite remote sensing techniques developed for Earth's study to the Mars' data to help them identify both the surface composition of Mars polar ice and to plot its outlines.

In addition to increasing our understanding of Mars' climate and geophysical properties, the scientists think the study of ice on Mars makes an interesting comparison with polar ice on Earth. Aside from the presence of carbon dioxide snow and ice on Mars, Nolin says the much colder temperatures and the substantial amount of dust in the Martian atmosphere and within the ice cap are important differences between Mars' and Earth's polar regions. Such contrasts provide a broader understanding of the role of polar ice caps in planetary climate change.


New NSF-OPP Guidelines Support U.S. Antarctic Data Management

NSF's Office of Polar Programs (OPP) recently released the Guidelines and Award Conditions for Scientific Data. The guidelines require Principal Investigators of OPP awards, made during or after Fiscal Year 1999, to submit a description of data resulting from their work to appropriate electronic data directories.

Data descriptions, also known as metadata, are not the actual data, but a description of what data were collected, the name of the investigator, and any information about what form the data are in and status of potential availability for other work. More information on the NSF policy can be found at Guidelines and Award Conditions for Scientific Data.

In support of this activity, NSF/OPP has funded the operation of the U.S. Antarctic Data Coordination Center to assist investigators in this task and to coordinate U.S. metadata entries into the Antarctic Master Directory (AMD). The AMD is a node of the International Directory Network/Global Change Master Directory, and is the appropriate electronic data directory for NSF-funded Antarctic research.

The U.S. Antarctic Data Coordination Center is located at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado. The Antarctic Data Coordination Center works within the framework of the National Data Centers and the NSF-funded Science Management Offices to provide a focal point for researchers to write and submit data descriptions as they become available. Staff can assist with web-based metadata entry tools and provide consultation on longer term data management.


AGU Exhibit Booth

Thanks to all who stopped by the NSIDC Exhibit Booth at the Fall AGU in San Francisco. It was a pleasure to see you. We hope that we were able to effectively answer your questions and inquiries. Please feel free to contact us through User Services if you need assistance.


World Atlas of Snow and Ice Resources Published

The long-awaited World Atlas of Snow and Ice Resources has finally been published after more than 20 years of planning and compilation. The complete work comprises three volumes: Volume 1, an atlas comprising 662 color maps and 143 photographs (392 pp.); Volume 2, a monograph on snow and ice phenomena and processes (372 pp.); and Volume 3, legends and explanations for all the maps in English (144 pp.).

A large team of Russian scientists, coordinated by Professor V. M. Kotlyakov, Institute of Geography, Russian Academy of Sciences, as Editor- in-Chief, prepared this outstanding view of global snow and ice forms. The atlas maps range from global at a scale 1:60 million to regional maps at 1:5 million to 1:10 million and local maps of individual glaciers at 1: 25,000 to 1:100,000. The reproduction of maps with scales of 1:100,000 and less has only become possible since the end of the Cold War. The cartography and printing are of the highest technical quality.

The content depicted in the atlas is very broad, covering climatic factors (air temperature, solid precipitation), snow water equivalent, runoff, glacier morphology, mass balance and fluctuations, river freeze-up/break-up, avalanches and mud flows, and many other variables. It will be the master reference for all concerned with global snow and ice and related changes for many years to come.

V.M. Kotlyakov, editor-in-chief. 1997. World Atlas of Snow and Ice Resources. 3 volumes, Institute of Geography, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow. ISBN 5-89658-001-0.