In this Issue



Issue no. 36, June 2001


Arctic Climatology and Meteorology Primer

NSIDC's "Arctic Climatology and Meteorology Primer for Newcomers to the North" is now available online. Developed as part of the U.S.-Russian Environmental Working Group's Arctic Meteorology and Climate Atlas, the educational site is a collection of information about arctic weather and climate. While scientists may wish to order the full Atlas on CD-ROM, students and casual browsers will enjoy easy access to educational material on the new site.

Although the Primer's content is organized into several sections, users can browse items in any order. The "Basics" section provides general information on arctic weather and climate, explains characteristics unique to the Arctic, and includes a photo overview of optical phenomena caused by atmospheric conditions. "Factors" provides the building blocks for understanding the various elements of arctic weather and climate, including latitude, air temperature, winds, humidity and precipitation. "Patterns" covers cyclones, polar lows, the Arctic Oscillation, and feedback loops. It also includes a discussion of the role arctic climate plays in global climate processes. The "Gallery" section provides historic photos that offer a glimpse into life on Russian drifting stations. The photos portray the challenges faced by Russian researchers living in the Arctic, including building and storing things on top of ice, collecting data, and protecting themselves against polar bears.

The Primer also includes a map of the Arctic and a glossary of meteorological terms in both English and Russian. The new Web site joins other educational theme pages from NSIDC, including State of the Cryosphere and All About Glaciers. Visit the Primer for more information.

Station members of North Pole Station 30

station members of North Pole Station 30 (NP-30), one of the last Russian
North Pole Stations, gather for a photograph during the station's closing ceremony.

NSIDC Publishes Sea Ice Products Web Site

NSIDC has published a new Web site that summarizes the characteristics of over two dozen sea ice data sets. The site offers a complete summary and intercomparison of sea ice data derived from passive microwave sensors and other sources, including ice charts, surface observations, and drifting buoys. Where possible, the site includes links to browse images and tools to assist users in understanding and working with NSIDC's diverse sea ice data holdings, and in finding the data set that best fits their application. Links to other external sea ice data sources are also provided. Visit the Sea Ice Web site for more information.


IPAB Antarctic Drifting Buoy Data Now Available

NSIDC released the first series of Antarctic buoy data from the International Programme for Antarctic Buoys (IPAB). The IPAB, through participating research organizations in various countries, maintains a network of drifting buoys in the Antarctic sea ice zone to support a better understanding of sea ice motion, meteorology, and oceanography.

The IPAB Antarctic Drifting Buoy Data archive, which spans the years 1995 to 1998, includes measurements of buoy position, atmospheric pressure, air temperature, and sea surface temperature. Data are organized by daily and three-hour averages; and raw, instantaneous, non-interpolated data values. Data were collected from buoys initially deployed in East Antarctica; the Weddell Sea; and the Bellingshausen, Amundsen, and Ross Seas. Updates will be available as data are processed and new buoys are deployed. Data are in ASCII text format and are available via the data catalog summary.

ARCSS Data Coordination Center Releases Hydrology CD-ROM

The ARCSS Data Coordination Center at NSIDC is distributing a pan-Arctic hydrology data set entitled, "R-ArcticNet: A Regional Hydrographic Data Network for the Pan-Arctic Region." This comprehensive river discharge database covers the entire pan-Arctic drainage system and is available on CD-ROM. The collection comprises data from 3713 gauges and contains monthly river discharge data from the 1890s (for four Canadian and five Russian gauges) through the early 1990s, with the majority of data collected between 1960 and 1990.

The pan-Arctic drainage region, which covers a land area of approximately 21 million square kilometers, drains into the Arctic Ocean and the Hudson Bay, James Bay, and the Northern Bering Strait. The collection also includes the Yukon and Anadyr River Basins. Most of the drainage basins in the database are greater than 15,000 km2; however, the collection includes all available gauge data from Canada and Russia. Data from gauges measuring large drainage areas are of great interest to the regional, continental, and global-scale scientific community for modeling purposes.

These data address the need to inventory and make available data for water resources assessments in the context of deteriorating monitoring networks. The Global River Discharge Database (RivDIS 1.0), published recently by UNESCO as part of the Technical Documents in Hydrology series, and this arctic river discharge database, developed at the University of New Hampshire and released on CD-ROM by the National Snow and Ice Data Center, are part of ongoing efforts to consolidate and electronically archive hydro-meteorological data.

Visit the "R-ArcticNet" data catalog summary for more information. For CD-ROM orders or user support, please contact NSIDC User Services.

PARCA Data Sets Released

The Program for Arctic Regional Climate Assessment (PARCA) began in 1993 with the primary goal of measuring and understanding the mass balance of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Approximately 25 investigations used in situ measurements and satellite and aircraft remote sensing to study this issue. Measurements include surface elevation and ice thickness change rates from aircraft laser altimetry, shallow to intermediate ice cores (for average accumulation rates and their temporal and spatial variability), velocity around the ice-sheet perimeter at an elevation of about 2000 meters, local ice thickening/thinning rates, and climatological observations from automatic weather stations. Satellite data include elevation change from radar altimetry, mapping of snow facies and zones of summer melt from passive and active microwave, ice velocities from interferometric synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and from repeat high-resolution visible and SAR imagery, mapping surface and 10-meter temperatures, accumulation rates, and surface albedo from microwave and AVHRR data. To learn more about the PARCA program, please visit the PARCA home page.

Questions should be directed to the technical contacts responsible for each data set. Data are available via individual PARCA investigator Web sites, but NSIDC provides summaries and links to these data on the PARCA Web site.

MODIS Snow and Ice Products Available

Snow and ice products from the MODIS instrument on Terra are now available from NSIDC. The MODIS snow products, which consist of global snow cover extent at 500-meter resolution and include level 2 daily, level 3 daily, and level 3 eight-day products, have been available for several months. The level 2 daily MODIS sea ice products were released on April 11, 2001, and the level 3 sea ice products were released on May 18, 2001. The sea ice products include sea ice extent and sea ice surface temperature.

The MODIS Web site includes the NSIDC catalog pages for the MODIS products, sample images, information on grids, a user's guide, and user tutorials for ordering data from the EOS Data Gateway (EDG). It also provides links to the EDG, the MODIS Land Group browse products for the snow and ice products, the MODIS Instrument Science Team page, information on the HDF-EOS data format, and other DAAC Web sites.

Please direct comments and questions regarding the MODIS snow and ice products or use of the EOS Data Gateway to NSIDC User Services. Visit the NSIDC MODIS site for more information.


NSIDC Director Receives AAG Award

NSIDC director Roger Barry received the 2001 Lifetime Achievement Award of the Climate Specialty Group (CSG) at the Association Of American Geographers (AAG) 97th Annual Meeting, held February 28 - March 3, 2001, in New York. The Lifetime Achievement Award is for AAG/CSG members who have made substantial contributions to the fields of climatology and geography. Barry also presented a paper, "The WCRP Cryosphere and Climate (CliC) Project - a New Oppor-tunity for Hydroclimatology," which addresses the plans of CliC in the areas of snow/glaciers/frozen ground interactions in the climate system.


The 18th meeting of the NSIDC DAAC User Working Group (PoDAG) was held at NSIDC in Boulder on April 25-26, 2001. The purpose of PoDAG is to provide user feedback on NSIDC DAAC data sets, set DAAC scientific data priorities, and represent the cryospheric user community's data-related interests in NSIDC DAAC programs.

For a complete list of recommendations resulting from meeting discussions, please consult the official. For more information, contact Dave Bromwich (PoDAG chair) or Ron Weaver (NSIDC DAAC Manager) via NSIDC User Services.

The next meeting of the PoDAG will be held in late October at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD.

NSIDC's 25th Anniversary Celebration

NSIDC will celebrate its 25th anniversary with an open house and high tea reception with Director Roger Barry on October 11, 2001. The celebration will continue with papers and a reception at the AGU Fall Meeting, to be held December 10-14, 2001, in San Francisco. We hope you will join us as we reflect on our accomplishments of the last 25 years and look forward to new possibilities in the new millennium. For more information, please visit our Events Web page.

SSM/I Data: A Comparison of Near-Real-Time and Standard Products

NSIDC published a new document entitled, "Comparison of Near-Real-Time DMSP SSM/I Daily Polar Gridded Products and SSM/I Polar Gridded Products." Authors Julienne Stroeve and Jeff Smith quantified differences between NSIDC's standard sea ice and brightness temperature products and near-real-time products. The study focused on data from summer and winter of 2000. Results show noticeable differences between the brightness temperature products, but little difference between the sea ice concentration products. Special Publication 10 (PDF file, 39 KB).


AGU Spring Meeting

The 2001 Spring Meeting of the American Geophysical Union was held in Boston on May 29-June 2. Siri Jodha Singh Khalsa, Alejandro Machado, and Greg Scharfen were in attendance.

IGS Remote Sensing Symposium

The 4th Annual International Symposium on Remote Sensing in Glaciology will take place in College Park, MD on June 4-8. NSIDC staff members Richard Armstrong, Mary Jo Brodzik, Siri Jodha Singh Khalsa, Melinda Marquis, Bruce Raup, Ted Scambos, Greg Scharfen, and Tingjun Zhang will present papers and posters at the symposium.


The 2001 International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS), "Scanning the Present and Resolving the Future," will be held July 9-13 in Sydney, Australia. NSIDC attendees include Anne Nolin, Ted Scambos, Laurie Schmidt, and Julienne Stroeve.


NSIDC welcomes Paul Zaffino (Web Server Administrator), who joined us this spring.

NSIDC bids farewell to Ann Bessenbacher (Data Operations Supervisor) and Diana Starr (User Services Representative). Diana has accepted a position at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) Physical Oceanography DAAC in Pasadena, California. Many thanks to Diana for her 11 years of service to NSIDC. We wish her the best of luck in her new position.

NSIDC also wishes the best of luck to Carol Pedigo (Administrative Assistant), who is retiring after 21 years of service to NSIDC.