In this Issue



Issue no. 37, September 2001


Antarctic Glaciological Data Center (AGDC) Releases Two New Products

NSIDC's Antarctic Glaciological Data Center (AGDC) recently released two new data sets, now available on its Web site. The data sets, provided to AGDC by investigators funded by NSF's Antarctic Glaciology program, contain glaciochemical, accumulation rate, ice thickness, and surface elevation records from various sites in Antarctica.

David Reusch of the University of New Hampshire provided the "Central West Antarctic Glaciochemistry from Ice Cores" data set. These data, collected as part of Dr. Paul Mayewski's NSF grants related to the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Initiative, consist of glaciochemical and accumulation rate records developed from four ice cores in Central West Antarctica. The ice core data have been used to derive reconstructed former atmospheric circulation patterns in this region for the last 40 years, with extended records (150-250 years) at two sites. Glaciochemical records represent the eight major ionic species present in Antarctic snow.

Donald D. Blankenship and a team of associated investigators contributed the "Ice Thickness and Surface Elevation, Southeastern Ross Embayment, West Antarctica" data. The investigators used a laser altimeter and ice-penetrating radar mounted to a Twin Otter aircraft to survey the ice sheet. These data are a result of the Corridor Aerogeophysics of the Southeastern Ross Transect Zone (CASERTZ) experiments of the 1990s, which were conducted to understand geological controls on ice streams of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and which helped to assess the potential for ice sheet collapse. Blankenship and his team used the ice surface elevations and ice thicknesses data to calculate driving stresses across the ice sheet and to identify regions of low basal resistance and, therefore, rapid ice movement by ice streams.

The National Science Foundation's (NSF) Office of Polar Programs funds the AGDC at NSIDC to archive and distribute glaciological and cryospheric data collected by the U.S. Antarctic Program. The AGDC aims to facilitate data exchange among Principal Investigators, to preserve newly collected data that would be useful to future research, to gather data sets from past research, and to compile continent-wide information useful for modeling and field work planning. For more information about the AGDC or either of the data sets described above, visit AGDC or contact NSIDC User Services.


larger version (136 KB)

Image shows core sites, contour lines at 100m intervals, contour lines at 500m intervals, and latitude/longitude.

New Versions of MODIS Snow and Ice Products

New versions of the snow and ice products from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) are being archived at NSIDC. The MODIS Version 3 (V003) collections of snow cover and sea ice data are based on improvements to science algorithms and instrument calibration. The MODIS Land Discipline Group (MODLAND) will create a full year of V003 data by using stable algorithms to simultaneously process data from 27 May 2001 forward, and to reprocess data from 29 October 2000 to 26 May 2001. The estimated completion date for these "consistent year" data sets is 31 December 2001.

NSIDC is monitoring proposed improvements to the MODIS cloud mask, which is used as input to the snow and ice products. If changes are made to the cloud mask, or to the way the snow and ice product algorithms treat clouds, information will be made available to product users. For more information on the MODIS snow and ice products, visit MODIS.

Error Notice

On "DMSP SSM/I Daily Polar Gridded Brightness Temperatures," F8 Volumes 5-II and 6-II, the file </document/structur.des> contains the following message:

"!!! The dates OCT 6, OCT 10-NOV 5 were duplicated and labeled as November 1988. This volume (Volume 5-II) is a replacement for the first Volume 5. Simply discard the old Volume 5 and replace it with this new Volume 5-II."

During the last printing of these CD-ROMs, the revision numbers for these two CD-ROM volumes were accidentally left off. If the CD-ROM you are using contains the message above, then you are working with the correct updated CD-ROM. If the CD-ROM volume that you are working with does not contain the message listed above, please contact NSIDC User Services.


Temperate East Asia Snow/Ice Data

The University of New Hampshire's EOS-WEBSTER offers a Normalized Difference Snow/Ice Index and Snow/Ice Cover data set for temperate East Asia, derived from SPOT VGT 10-day composites between 1 March 1999 and 30 November 1999. Data are provided free of charge by Xiangming Xiao and colleagues at the University of New Hampshire. Map images (in JPEG format) of these data are also available.

EOS-WEBSTER is a member of the Federation of Earth Science Information Partners (ESIPs). The Federation promotes better understanding of the global environment by providing Earth science data, tools, and technology that give scientists and non-scientists alike the capability to examine and use data for their specific needs. You can learn more about the federation at ESiP Federation.

For more information please visit EOS-WEBSTER or contact User Support at or toll free at (877) 589-4909.

NASA Scatterometer Climate Record Pathfinder

The NASA Scatterometer Climate Record Pathfinder (SCP) is a NASA-sponsored collaborative project among Brigham Young University (BYU), the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), the European Space Agency (ESA), and the National Ice Center (NIC) to develop scatterometer-based data sets in support of climate studies of the Earth's cryosphere and biosphere.

Originally developed to measure winds over the ocean from space, microwave radar scatterometers provide data applicable to a variety of studies, including sea ice, land ice, and vegetation over a wide range of climate conditions. Because its radar signal can penetrate the surface, a scatterometer can observe variability in subsurface/subcanopy features that is driven by diurnal and seasonal to interannual forcing.

The 1978 launch of Seasat, which carried a Ku-band scatterometer (SASS), provided a baseline for subsequent missions. Other missions have followed SASS, including the C-band European Space Agency (ESA) Earth Remote Sensing (ERS) -1 and -2 missions (1992+), the NASA Scatterometer (NSCAT) on ADEOS-I (1996-97), SeaWinds on QuikSCAT (1999+), and SeaWinds on ADEOS-II (launch planned for 2002).

The SCP datasets are based primarily on a time series of enhanced resolution images made from the scatterometer backscatter (sigma0) measurements using the Scatterometer Image Reconstruction (SIR) and SIR with filtering (SIRF) algorithms. For the highest possible spatial resolution (as well as to ensure full coverage over the images), multiple orbit passes are combined. Thus, there is a tradeoff between temporal and spatial resolution. In addition, a number of ancillary images and derived products are generated, including sea ice extent maps and sea ice motion data sets. From these backscatter images and derived products, key climate-related parameters can be extracted for use in global climate change studies.

For further information, please contact Mark R. Drinkwater, ESA, at or David Long, BYU, at Also, visit NASA SCP.


NSIDC's 25th Anniversary

NSIDC will celebrate its 25th anniversary this fall with events in Boulder and at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting in San Francisco. The Boulder event will take place October 11 on the campus of the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Don Cline of the National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center (NOHRSC) will present a lecture on the Cold Land Processes Field Experiment. A panel of scientists, data managers, and data users will discuss "The Cryosphere in the Balance: NSIDC's Role for the Next Quarter Century." Mark Anderson of the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, will moderate the panel discussion, to be followed by a High Tea Reception hosted by NSIDC Director Roger Barry. The Data Center will be open to visitors on October 11 and 12. Please RSVP to rsvp& as early as possible if you plan to attend.

The AGU Special Session, "Monitoring an Evolving Cryosphere" (AGU session code IP02), will take place during the AGU Fall Meeting, to be held December 10-14, 2001. A reception will also be hosted during the meeting at the Moscone Conference Center. Please RSVP to if you plan to attend the AGU Special Session.

For more detailed information on both of these events, please visit NSIDC's Events page. We hope to see you at our 25th anniversary celebrations.



The 21st IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS) was held at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia on July 9-13. The theme of IGARSS 2001, "Scanning the Present, Resolving the Future," provided hundreds of attendees the opportunity to assess the impact of recent advances and applications of remote sensing technology.

Sessions on the MODIS, ASTER, and MISR instruments reflected recent interest in the Terra satellites and the EOSDIS system. Several NSIDC scientists gave presentations on recent research projects. During a session on Antarctica, Ted Scambos presented talks on the effects of a warming climate on ice shelves and on snow megadunes and models for their formation. Anne Nolin spoke on cryospheric applications of MISR, while Julienne Stroeve presented a poster titled "Sensitivity Analysis of Operational Passive Microwave Sea-Ice Algorithms."

Held annually at international venues, IGARSS is considered the premier world conference on the topic of remote sensing, drawing hundreds of scientists and engineers to discuss current research and technology.

IGARSS 2002 will be held in Toronto, Canada on June 24-28, 2002.

AGU Fall Meeting

The 2001 Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union will be held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA on December 10-14. NSIDC will sponsor an exhibit booth and will also hold a special session, titled "Monitoring an Evolving Cryosphere" (AGU session code IP02). We look forward to the opportunity to discuss our products and services with you.

For more detailed information, please visit AGU Meetings.


The staff at NSIDC extend our deepest sympathies to families and friends of the victims of the September 11 attacks. We were greatly saddened to learn that two meteorologists from the U.S. National Ice Center, Matthew Flocco and Edward Earhart, were killed at the Pentagon. Dr. Charles Falkenberg and his wife and two children were passengers on the aircraft that crashed into the Pentagon. Charles was Director of Research at ECOlogic and has worked with our NASA colleagues for many years. These deaths especially touch those of us who work here at NSIDC. In the face of this national tragedy, it has been heartening to receive many messages expressing sympathy and support from our colleagues around the globe. We thank all of you who have written.


NSIDC welcomes Yarrow Axford (Science/Technical Writer), Mike Hartman (ARCSS Data Coordinator), Jim Miller (Research Assistant), Donna Scott (User Services Representative), and Mike Stowe (IT Security Coordinator), all of whom joined us this summer.

NSIDC bids farewell to Tracy Thrasher-Hybl (User Services Representative) and Nick Suszczyk (Systems Administrator). We wish them the best of luck in their new endeavors.