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Satellite Data Rescue for Sea Ice Extent in the 1960s


Using satellite data from the 1960s, derive sea ice extent. Also provide modern digital archives for the general science community.


Dave Gallaher, G. Garrett Campbell, Walt Meier, and John Moses (NASA/GSFC)

Project Summary

Infrared and visible data were collected from a variety of satellites in the 1960s. These provide an untapped resource for measuring sea ice and perhaps other climate parameters in the early years of satellite observations. Initially we are improving the navigation of Nimbus I (1964), Nimbus II (1966) and Nimbus III (1969) digital IR data. Simultaneously we are digitizing film images of the visible reflectance for the same satellites. The primary science product will be an estimate of monthly sea ice extent for September 1964, April - December 1966 and April - December 1969. Also we will provide a documented digital archive of daily IR and visible measurements at about 8 km resolution for those time periods. These could be used for cloud studies or climatologies related to unique weather or climate events in the 1960s. We continue to seek out other satellite data from other sources like Russia to get more complete time coverage.

ice and open water north of Siberia
This reprocessed Nimbus image shows ice and open water north of Siberia in 1966.

Related Resources


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