In this Issue



Issue no. 31, March 2000


Terra Satellite Launched

The Terra satellite (formerly known as the EOS AM-1 Platform), flagship of the Earth Observing System (EOS), was successfully launched Saturday, December 18, 1999 at 1:57 p.m. EST from Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Terra carries several instruments: the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER), the Clouds and the Earth s Radiant Energy System (CERES), the Multi-angle Imaging Spectro-Radiometer (MISR), the Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectro-radiometer (MODIS), and the Measurements of Pollution in the Troposphere (MOPITT).

NSIDC is involved with two of these instruments. The MODIS snow and ice products will be archived and distributed by the NSIDC DAAC (see MODIS Sea Ice Products. ASTER images will be used by glaciologists participating in the proposed Global Land Ice Measurements from Space (GLIMS) effort. Pending support for GLIMS, derived products will be archived and distributed at NSIDC. For more information on the GLIMS project, please see Global Land Ice Measurements from Space (GLIMS).

The Terra satellite and instruments are currently undergoing final orbit maneuvers and instrument start-up procedures. Most of the instruments began collection of earthview data on February 24, 2000, although data and products will not be publicly available until late spring or early summer, following product checkout and the initial calibration and validation activities.

Abramov Glacier Station Destroyed

We are saddened to report that the field station at the Abramov Glacier, Kirgizistan (39°0 35'N, 71°0 35'E, 3850m), was destroyed by a local guerrilla group in August 1999. The station had been operated since 1967 by the Central Asian Hydrometeorological Institute (SANIGMI) in Tashkent and maintained important meteorological and glaciological observations for the Alai-Pamir mountains. The station was the site of major research programs of glaciologists from the Institute of Geography in Moscow and SANIGMI. The loss of current and future records from the Abramov Glacier, at a time when vital glacier programs worldwide are being curtailed for cost reasons, is doubly tragic.

It is reported that a group of Uzbek militants took over the station, held the employees hostage, took all food and fuel supplies, destroyed all equipment, and set fire to the buildings. The employees were fortunately not harmed but had to walk about 60 kilometers over mountain trails without food or supplies in order to reach a road.

Roger Barry and Colin Bull visited the station by helicopter during the first WDC-Glaciology exchange visit in 1979, and a number of scientists also visited the station during an International Symposium on Snow and Glacier Processes held in Tashkent in 1993.

For those of you who wish to voice concern over the loss of this vital monitoring station, contact the current director of SANIGMI:

Dr. V. Chub,
72, Observatorskaya Str.,
700052, Tashkent,

The Abramov Glacier Station in 1993

The Abramov Glacier Station in 1993.


Revised Bootstrap Algorithm

A sea ice concentration data set derived from the Nimbus-7 Scanning Multichannel Microwave Radiometer (SMMR) and the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) DMSP-F8, -F11 and -F13, Special Sensor Microwave/Imager (SSM/I) has been generated using a new version of the Bootstrap Algorithm. This version of the Bootstrap sea ice algorithm uses a revised set of tie-points designed to provide a more temporally consistent data set than the standard Bootstrap data set (see the DMSP SSM/I Daily and Monthly Polar Gridded Sea Ice Concentrations). In the revision, tie-points are adjusted each day to better account for daily emissivity and temperature fluctuations. This results in better agreement between sea ice concentration distribution, extent and area during periods of sensor overlap.

In addition, false ice concentrations in the open ocean, away from the ice pack, and at land/ocean boundaries have been largely removed from the data set. Daily and monthly data, spanning 26 October 1978 through 31 December 1998, are available for both the south and north polar regions. Data are gridded onto the SSM/I polar stereographic grid (25 x 25 km) and provided in two-byte integer format.
Bootstrap Sea Ice Concentrations from Nimbus-7 SMMR and DMSP SSM/I

Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS)

Researchers interested in polar ice sheet mass balance and elevation studies are invited to visit our new web site devoted to the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS). The laser altimeter aboard the GLAS instrument will measure the Earth's surface. One-hundred-seventy-five-meter intervals will separate the 70-meter footprints. NSIDC will archive Level 0, Level 1, and Level 2 data from the GLAS mission following the launch of the Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) in July, 2001. The data collected by GLAS will be directed to measuring the mass balance of the polar ice sheets, and their contribution to global sea level change. Additionally, GLAS will measure cloud heights and the vertical structure of clouds and aerosols in the atmosphere; map the topography of land surfaces; and measure surface roughness, reflectivity, vegetation heights, snow cover and sea ice characteristics.

A description of the GLAS instrument is provided on the web site, along with a complete list of data products and links to the NASA ICESat web site and other research organizations involved with the ICESat/GLAS effort. Visit the ICESat/GLAS Web site for more information.

Radarsat Antarctic Mapping Project

NSIDC will soon be distributing digital elevation model (DEM) data and synthetic aperture radar (SAR) image data from the Radarsat Antarctic Mapping Project (RAMP). The Radarsat satellite has acquired high-resolution SAR images of the Antarctic continent, assembled by Ohio State and Vexcel Corporation into a 125-m resolution mosaic of the entire continent. NSIDC has been provided with copies of both the DEMs and mosaic and is in the process of writing supporting documentation. NSIDC plans to release a DVD disk with both products and software tools (similar to the Digital SAR Mosaic and Elevation Map of the Greenland Ice Sheet, explained in more detail on the Digital SAR Mosaic and Elevation Map of the Greenland Ice Sheet catalog entry. Visit NSIDC's RAMP web site for more information.

Product Update: Historical Soviet Daily Snow Depth

NSIDC's Historical Soviet Daily Snow Depth (HSDSD) product has been updated with an additional ten years of data, now spanning from 1881 (for the earliest operational stations) through 1995. The production of this data set included improved data quality control, and the development of an HTML interface and Java tools for data browsing and extraction. Both the daily snow depth data and monthly means are included on the CD-ROM. Other parameters include site characterization and quality flags.

HSDSD data are based on observations made by personnel at 284 World Meteorological Organization (WMO) stations throughout Russia and the Former Soviet Union. The data were provided to NSIDC by the State Hydrometeorological Service in Obninsk, Russia, through the bilateral US-USSR Working Group Eight data exchange program.

This product has a charge of $50 US. Contact NSIDC User Services for ordering information and payment options. If you purchased HSDSD volume 1, 1881-1985, then version 2.0 will be sent to you at no charge. You can find additional information regarding the product updates from the data catalog entry at the Historical Soviet Daily Snow Depth Version 2 (HSDSD) catalog entry.

Error Notices

NSIDC discovered in December 1999 that the SHOWICE.PRO routine, originally found on the Sea Ice Concentrations from Nimbus-7 SMMR and DMSP SSM/I Passive Microwave Data CD-ROMs, contained a coding error related to reading files with .N13 and .S13 extensions. The coding error has been fixed and a corrected version of this routine is available via ftp at: Sea Ice Concentrations from Nimbus-7 SMMR and DMSP SSM/I Passive Microwave Data

New EASE-Grid Products Web Site

NSIDC has produced a new web site that describes geolocation tools and ancillary data files for EASE-Grid products. These tools include latitude and longitude files as well as software for converting between latitude/longitude and column/row coordinates for three programming languages, IDL, Fortran and C. This site provides a table that contains descriptions of each EASE-Grid for the various data sets. Also provided are links to tar files containing geolocation tools. These tools include map projection parameters (.mpp files), grid parameter definitions (.gpd files), latitude/longitude binary files and applicable software (IDL, C, or FORTRAN) conversion programs. Visit All About EASE-Grid for more information.

NSIDC Hosts the International Ice Charting Working Group Web Site

NSIDC is now hosting the web site of the International Ice Charting Working Group (IICWG), a cooperative effort of the world's ice centers. The IICWG formed in October 1999 to promote cooperation on all matters concerning sea ice and icebergs. Visit the International Ice Charting Working Group Web site for more information.

State of the Cryosphere Web Site

NSIDC´s new State of the Cryosphere web site presents a summary of cryospheric and related indicators of global climate trends including: temperature change over the past century, trends in hemispheric snow extent, trends in hemispheric sea ice extent, glacier melt, and changes in sea level. The site will be expanded to include descriptions of how other Cryospheric variables, such as ice sheets, ice shelves, and frozen ground, are responding to climate change. Visit State of the Cryosphere for more information.

All About Glaciers Web Site

The popular Glacier web site has been expanded, redesigned and renamed. The new site, All About Glaciers, is a comprehensive glacier guide, including answers to common questions, a gallery of historic photos, lists of books and articles, plus links to other glacier data and information on the web. Visit All About Glaciers for more information.


NASA Distributed Active Archive Centers: Yearbook 5th Edition and new Web Site

NSIDC released the 5th edition of the DAAC Yearbook, Distributed Active Archive Centers: Supporting Earth Observing Science, in December 1999. The interdisciplinary publication covers research conducted with the use of NASA DAAC data, and reports on DAAC tools development and data management issues. Articles from the Yearbook are also available electronically from the NASA Earth Observatory web site and from the NASA Distributed Active Archive Centers, a new DAAC Web site that opened in February 2000.

Highlighting new data sets and detailing data management issues, the DAAC web site offers direct links to each archive, to NASA Earth Science Enterprise Instrument and Science teams, DAAC user working groups and user services offices. The new web site was developed and is maintained for the NASA DAACs by the NSIDC communications group, who also produce the Yearbook.

For a free copy of the DAAC Yearbook, contact NSIDC User Services. Researchers working with NASA DAAC data are invited to contact the editor, Annette Varani (NSIDC, 303-492-5952), to explore possibilities for developing a Yearbook story featuring your research.

New Look for NSIDC Notes

During the NSIDC Notes redesign, we tried to incorporate several suggestions from our NSIDC Notes survey taken last summer. Our main goals were to re-organize Notes to make information easier to find, and to facilitate a more rapid production and mailing process. We appreciate your input, and hope you continue to find Notes useful and informative.

Currently, back issues from Spring 1992 (Issue 1) to June 1998 (Issue 25) are online. In the future, we hope to have all back issues online for your convenience. Visit NSIDC Notes for more information.


U.S. Antarctic Data Coordination Center

The National Science Foundation (NSF) funds the U.S. Antarctic Data Coordination Center (USADCC) at NSIDC as the U.S. focal point for the Antarctic Master Directory (AMD). One aspect of our role is to assist investigators in the development of data descriptions for data they have collected as a result of Office of Polar Programs (OPP) funded Antarctic research. These data descriptions are then submitted to the AMD, an easy to use,searchable electronic data directory which will eventually describe all aspects of international Antarctic science. This activity is in direct support of the NSF Guidelines and Award Conditions for Scientific Data, issued December 1998. There are currently 1,285 Antarctic-related metadata records describing U.S.-held data sets in the AMD.

Integration of AMD into the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS)/International Directory Network (IDN) Global Change Master Directory (GCMD)is underway. This association will provide improved management of metadata records,availability of software tools and support, and visibility of Antarctic science and data in the international data management and science communities. Antarctic scientists are encouraged to learn more about the AMD and the support role the USADCC provides.

Antarctic Glaciological Data Center

The Antarctic Glaciological Data Center (AGDC) at NSIDC provides data management support for NSF's Antarctic Glaciology Program. The AGDC has developed a web-based archival and distribution capability for well documented physical and geochemical data derived from ice cores, ice surface elevations, ice thickness, and bedrock topography, snow accumulation data and 10-meter temperatures, ice velocity measurements from remote sensing imagery and field survey data. Only a few data sets are currently resident and available via the AGDC web site, although we expect this number to grow significantly as AGDC staff work with interested investigators and coordinated Antarctic initiatives over the coming months. Visit the Antarctic Glaciological Data Center Web site for more information.

Arctic System Science (ARCSS) Data Coordination Center

The ARCSS program welcomes Rudy Dichtl as the new ARCSS Manager. Rudy comes to us from the Antarctic Support Services. You can reach Rudy at 303-492-5532 (phone), 303-492-2468 (fax), or (e-mail).

We are also pleased to announce that Rudy has recently received a very distinguished award. The National Science Foundation and the United States Department of the Navy have recently recognized Rudolph J. Dichtl of the National Snow and Ice Data Center for his past service in Antarctica (1994-1998); in recognition of valuable contributions to exploration and scientific achievement under the U.S. Antarctic Research Program. For this service the Secretary of the United States Navy has awarded Dichtl the Antarctic Service Medal. This award is the only award given to a civilian by the US Navy.


NSIDC welcomes several new employees who joined us in 1999, including:

Mike Chhor (Operations Technician)
Derek Van Westrum (Scientific Programmer)
Linda Green (HR Employment Specialist)
Tom Priestley (Systems Administrator)
Michon Scott (Web Designer)
Andrew Barret (Associate Scientist)
John Pyle (World Wide Web Administrator)
Bruce Raup (Scientific Research Assistant)
Teresa Mullins (Information Center Supervisor)
Marianne Primett (Operations Technician)
Bradley McLean (User Services Representative)
Rudy Dichtl (ARCSS Manager)
Mark Schwab (Systems Administrator for Raytheon)

NSIDC also bids farewell to the following employees and we wish them well in their future endeavors:

Karen Robinson (Database Administrator)
Karen DeClerk (HR Employment Specialist)
Rachel Hauser (Science/Technical Writer)
Lonney Head (ECS Site Coordinator for Raytheon)

Renea Ericson, formerly NSIDC s Operations Supervisor, is now the ECS Site Representative for Raytheon.

Melinda Marquis, formerly a Science/Technical Writer for NSIDC, is now the GLAS Team Lead.


Interaction Between Spatial Structure of Snow Cover Parameters and Spring Flood in Siberia

The Institute of Geography of the Russian Academy of Sciences is continuing its research on snow cover as the link between climate and hydrological processes. The objective of this study is to reveal the interconnection between regional spring flooding patterns of rivers in northern Eurasia, snow cover, precipitation, and air temperature.

The database used contains river runoff data (Krenke, 1997), air temperature and precipitation data (Apassova, Grusa, 1982), and observations from the hydrometeostations. For river catchments with natural flow, no more than 20000 square kilometers have been chosen for the spring flood analysis. The snow constituent of the spring flooding is determined using the method of B.I. Kudelin (1968). This database is under preparation now and research using this database has been implemented in Siberia.

Results show that there are regions with stable positive and negative anomalies in the snow constituent of the rivers´ spring flood. The results are determined by the snow storage features dependent upon the climate and orographic peculiarities of the region. The stability of the anomalies is determined by the inter-annual variability of the parameters considered. In such cases, the snow cover performs the function of linking climate and hydrological processes, being dependent upon the former and a determinant for the latter.

L. Kitaev,
Institute of Geography, Russian Academy of Sciences


Fall AGU Meeting

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 User Services if you need any assistance.

Upcoming Conferences and Meetings

CAPE 2000
June 2-6, 2000, Kirkjubaejarklaustur, Iceland
Sea Ice in the Climate System
The Record of the North Atlantic Arctic
CAPE 2000

18th Polar Libraries Colloquy
June 12-17, 2000, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Polar Libraries Colloquy

International Glaciological Society Symposium
June 19-23, 2000, Fairbanks, Alaska
"Sea Ice and its Interactions with the Ocean, Atmosphere, and Biosphere"

July 24-28, 2000, Honolulu, Hawaii
The Role of Remote Sensing in Managing the Global Environment