In this Issue:



Issue no. 41, September 2002

Aqua's AMSR-E Will Pour Out Data on Earth's Water:
NSIDC Will Distribute AMSR-E Data

The Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer-Earth Observing System (AMSR-E) is one in a suite of science instruments on NASA's Earth Observing System (EOS) Aqua satellite. Aqua, a sun-synchronous polar orbiting platform, is one of a series of spacecraft developed by NASA's Earth Science Enterprise to obtain information for the advancement of Earth System Science.

Aqua launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on May 4, 2002, at 2:55 a.m. (Pacific Time).
NSIDC will archive and distribute the ASMR-E data products to users. NSIDC will also archive and distribute higher-level snow and ice products from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectro-radiometer (MODIS) aboard Aqua. (NSIDC has archived and distributed higher-level snow and ice products from the MODIS on Terra since shortly after Terra was launched in December 1999).

The six instruments on Aqua will gather information about all forms of Earth's water and the global water cycle. This information complements data retrieved by instruments aboard Terra, which concentrates on landmass studies. Terra crosses the equator in a descending orbit at about 10:30 a.m. each day, whereas Aqua will cross the equator in an ascending orbit at 1:30 p.m. The complementary paths of the two satellites will provide insight into diurnal cycling of important geophysical parameters, such as ocean circulation and precipitation.

The AMSR-E instrument improves the spatial resolution of observations made by earlier generations of passive microwave instruments (e.g. SMMR and SSM/I) and retrieves information in more frequencies than its predecessors. With the capability to improve the observations of the Earth's surface and atmosphere inherent in EOS instruments such as AMSR-E, researchers expect to improve the applications that use data derived from the remote sensing instruments. The AMSR-E will measure passive microwave radiation, allowing for derivation of many parameters, including cloud properties, radiative energy flux, precipitation, land surface wetness, sea surface temperatures, sea ice, snow cover and sea surface wind fields.
NSIDC will also provide data management and related services for AMSR-E validation experiments. In addition, CIRES-affiliated NSIDC researchers are actively involved in AMSR-E validation efforts, specifically for snow and ice products.

The Level 1A products from AMSR-E will be in Hierarchical Data Format (HDF). The AMSR-E Levels 2 and 3 data products will be in HDF-EOS. AMSR-E data products are expected to be available for distribution to users in May 2003. In the months between launch of the Aqua satellite and availability of data products, AMSR-E science team members will be performing calibration and evaluating algorithm performance. For more information on AMSR-E and its data products, please see AMSR-E at NSIDC.

AMSR-E image depicting planet's brightness temperatures
The Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer for the Earth Observing System (AMSR-E), onboard NASA's Aqua spacecraft, began sending high quality data on June 1, 2002. Initial (uncalibrated) data gathered from the AMSR-E has delivered impressive pictures of the planet's brightness temperatures from the 89.0 GHz vertical and horizontal polarization channels and the 23.8 GHz vertical polarization channel, averaged over the 3-day period June 2-4, 2002. For color image, refer to the AQUA Newsroom. Image courtesy of JAXA.


New Land Ice Database

Greenland ASTER image

GLIMS (Global Land Ice Measure-ments from Space) is a project to create the world's first global GIS (Geographic Information System) of glaciers. The project was initiated by Hugh Kieffer at the USGS in Flagstaff, Arizona, and involves almost 50 institutions worldwide.

The design and implementation of the database, housed at NSIDC, is essentially complete, and some initial glacier data have been inserted in order to test the ingest process. NSIDC expects to ingest much more data in the coming months as participating institutions begin to extract glaciological data from newly acquired ASTER imagery.

A methodology for analysis of digital versions of the medium scale glacier maps in the World Atlas of Snow and Ice Resources, together with ASTER data, has been developed by Dr. Tatiana Khromova, a visiting Fulbright Scholar from the Institute of Geography, Moscow, at NSIDC. The digital maps can also be used for visualization of the World Glacier Inventory (WGI) and can serve as a historical module for the GLIMS database.

For more information about GLIMS, please visit GLIMS Data at NSIDC and the GLIMS site.

Detail of ASTER image of a tidewater glacier system in southwest Greenland (see above map). With its 15 m resolution, ASTER is already providing a wealth of new information about the current state of glaciers around the world. ASTER images are available from LP DAAC.

Antarctic Master Directory Holdings and Usage Increasing

The Antarctic Master Directory (AMD), an online directory of antarctic scientific data, now contains more than 2,400 data set descriptions, including more than 290 contributed by U.S. antarctic scientists and data managers. Usage of the system by researchers searching for antarctic data has tripled during the last year.
The NSF Office of Polar Programs (OPP)-funded U.S. Antarctic Data Coordination Center (USADCC) site provides access to the AMD, easy-to-use tools to create and enter data set descriptions, tools to search the AMD, tutorials and useful antarctic resources.

This summer, the USADCC sent out reminders to NSF-funded antarctic scientists about their obligations related to the NSF Office of Polar Programs (OPP) Guidelines and Award Conditions for Scientific Data. We encourage scientists to contact us for assistance concerning the data policy and usage of the tools for creating data set descriptions.

Glaciological Data Report #30 Published

In June, NSIDC published Glaciological Data Report #30 (GD-30), entitled Twenty-Fifth Anniversary: Monitoring an Evolving Cryosphere. Summary of the NSIDC Special Session at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, December 10-14, 2001. This issue contains material relating to the celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the transfer of the World Data Center (WDC) for Glaciology from the U.S. Geological Survey to the University of Colorado at Boulder. The celebrations included a workshop in Boulder held on October 11, 2001, and a special session at the Fall 2001 American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting in San Francisco. The report includes a summary of the panel discussion held at the Boulder workshop, as well as abstracts and selected papers from the AGU special session. Also included are a history of WDC for Glaciology/NSIDC and a summary of publications authored by NSIDC staff since 1990.

Copies of GD-30 are currently being mailed out to session participants and to those who have previously received Glaciological Data Reports. GD-30 will also be available online in PDF format. If you would like a copy of the printed report, please contact NSIDC User Services.

EASE-Grid Brightness Temperatures Updates

NSIDC has processed updates to the NOAA/NASA Pathfinder Program Special Sensor Microwave/Imager (SSM/I) Level 3 Equal Area Scalable Earth-Grid (EASE-Grid) Brightness Temperatures through December 21, 2001 for the Northern Hemisphere and May 11, 1995 - November 5, 1996 for the Southern Hemisphere. NSIDC also announces the release of CD-ROM volumes for the Nimbus-7 Scanning Multichannel Microwave Radiometer (SMMR) Pathfinder Daily Equal-Area Scalable Earth Grid (EASE-Grid) Brightness Temperatures, Northern Hemisphere October 23, 1978 - November 15, 1984 and full global October 25, 1978 - December 16, 1981.

Please contact NSIDC User Services to order CD-ROMs.

Upward Looking Sonar Ice Draft Data and Statistics

NSIDC is pleased to announce that the Submarine ULS Ice Draft Data and Statistics product has been updated with U.S. Navy cruise data for 1989, SCICEX data for 1998, and reprocessed SCICEX data for 1997.

Detailed data documentation and ftp access to the data can be obtained via NSIDC's data catalog at Submarine Upward Looking Sonar Ice Draft Profile Data and Statistics.

Please contact NSIDC User Services if you have any questions.



MODIS Land Workshop on Radiation Budget Variables and Snow and Ice Products

NSIDC will collaborate with the MODIS Instrument Science Team, the Land Processes DAAC and Boston University to host a user outreach workshop, October 21-23, 2002, in Boston, MA. The goals of this workshop are to facilitate ordering, visualization, understanding and use of the MODIS radiation budget product suite, including snow and ice products. Scientists from the MODIS Instrument Science Team, along with User Services representatives and tool developers from NSIDC and other DAACs, will discuss the use of MODIS products for scientific research. Major topics will include:

For further information, please contact NSIDC User Services.

Snow Watch 2002

The 4th Snow Watch Workshop, hosted by the Office of Research and Applications, NOAA/NESDIS, will be held October 31 - November 1, 2002 at the NOAA Silver Spring Metro Complex 3, Silver Spring, MD.

Co-conveners are Dave Robinson, Department of Geography, Rutgers University; Dorothy Hall, Hydrological Sciences Branch, NASA/GSFC; and Roger Barry, World Data Center for Glaciology/National Snow and Ice Data Center. Snow Watch 2002 will address a variety of snow cover topics with a focus on synoptic (large basin) to macro (continental) scales on any time frame. Presentations, posters and breakout session reports will be published.

Please send your abstracts by October 4, 2002 to: <>.



Hail and Farewell

NSIDC welcomes:

NSIDC bids farewell to Laura Naranjo, Graphic Artist, and Yarrow Axford, Science Writer.