NSIDC DAAC Hands-on Tutorial: Discover, Access, and Harmonize Arctic Remote Sensing Data during the 2019 AGU Fall Meeting

The NASA National Snow and Ice Data Center Distributed Active Archive Center (NSIDC DAAC) will be presenting a hands-on tutorial during the 2019 AGU Fall Meeting, hosted by the ARCUS Arctic Community Meeting Space. This tutorial will demonstrate our data discovery, access, subsetting services, and how to utilize basic open source resources to harmonize and analyze data across different remote sensing products.

Our data services team will be presenting this tutorial as a series of Python-based Jupyter Notebooks, focusing on sea ice height and ice surface temperature data from NASA’s ICESat-2 and MODIS missions, respectively, to characterize Arctic sea ice. No coding experience or computing prerequisites are required, though some familiarity with Python and Jupyter Notebooks is recommended.

Registration for this tutorial will close on Tuesday, December 10th, so please be sure to sign up to ensure a seat: https://forms.gle/48AiCNPdxbzoUDBH7

When: Wednesday, December 11th, 2:00 – 3:30 PST

Hotel Nikko, Room: Monterrey I
222 Mason St, San Francisco, CA 94102

We look forward to seeing you in San Francisco!ICESat-2 Freeboard This composite image is a measurement of Arctic sea ice freeboard taken by ICESat-2’s instrument from data acquired between 1 to 30 November 2018. Freeboard is the difference between the top of ice and the ocean. Pink = higher elevation; blue/white = lower elevation; white circle = no data. Image Credit: NASA GSFC Kel Elkins

Watch, Listen & Read – New Software Player for Inuit Videos

Have you ever wondered about how narwhal tastes different from beluga? Now you can learn about this and more through interviews with Inuit hunters. And you don’t even have to know Inuktitut. With a new feature released by the  Exchange for Local Observations and Knowledge for the Arctic (ELOKA) team, the English translations of many interviews with Inuit elders and hunters are integrated alongside the video presentation. These interviews highlight the research conducted by the Narwhal Tusk Research Project in Baffin Bay.

To see the data set and its collection of interviews regarding narwhal behavior, migration, tusk differences and more, visit the ELOKA Web site at http://eloka-arctic.org/communities/narwhal/interviews.html.


Above: Screenshot of the ELOKA web site playing an interview with hunter Cornelius  Nutarak.

Charctic: Viewing Sea Ice Data Interactively

The ability to view data interactively adds convenience to dynamic data analysis. While static graphs and images are informative, interactive tools allow users to view and analyze data on-the-fly. Readers of our Arctic Sea Ice News and Analysis blog enjoy daily updates on sea ice extent, but some wanted to see data from specific days or years that weren’t provided in the static graphs. Behold Charctic.


Explore sea ice data for the Arctic and Antarctic from NSIDC’s Sea Ice Index data set with the Charctic Interactive Sea Ice Graph. Sample graph for Arctic sea ice extent shown.

Developed at NSIDC with support from NASA, the Charctic Interactive Sea Ice Graph enables users to more easily access and explore NSIDC’s Sea Ice Index data set.

With this tool, you can:

  • Visualize sea ice extent data for the Arctic and more recently, the Antarctic.
  • View and compare sea ice extent data for any year or any combination of years between 1979 and 2014 (including near-real-time daily data).
  • Get daily sea ice extent values by rolling your cursor over a line in the graph.
  • See a corresponding daily sea ice concentration image by clicking on a line in the graph.
  • Download your customized graph or any of the corresponding daily sea ice concentration images.

If you are interested in tracking sea ice in the Arctic or the Antarctic, try it out.

New and improved ELOKA Web site

The Exchange for Local Observations and Knowledge of the Arctic (ELOKA) Web site, hosted by NSIDC, has been reformatted and updated for easier navigation. The home page now has a rolling image gallery as well as featured interviews with elders, featured data and background imagery of Arctic landscapes.  Check it out at http://eloka-arctic.org.

image of eloka web site

ELOKA facilitates the collection, preservation, exchange, and use of local observations and knowledge of the Arctic. ELOKA provides data management and user support, and fosters collaboration between resident Arctic experts and visiting researchers.

Learn more about ELOKA at http://eloka-arctic.org/about.

Satellite Observations of Arctic Change

NSIDC now offers a new Web site, Satellite Observations of Arctic Change (SOAC) with interactive maps of the Arctic based on NASA satellite and related data. The site allows users to explore how conditions in the Arctic have changed over time. SOAC is available at http://nsidc.org/soac.

This sample image

This sample image from Satellite Observations of Arctic Change shows near-surface air temperature anomalies for October 2012, along with a bar chart of anomalies over time.

Presently, SOAC offers seven data sets:

  • Near-surface air temperature anomalies, from MERRA, 1979 – 2012
  • Total column water vapor anomalies, from MERRA, 1979 – 2012
  • Monthly mean sea ice concentration anomalies, from the NSIDC Sea Ice Index, 1979 – 2012
  • Snow cover duration anomalies, from Rutgers Snow Cover Lab, 1966 – 2012
  • Monthly mean NDVI anomalies, from GIMMS, 1982 – 2010
  • Soil non-frozen period anomalies, from NASA MEaSUREs, 1981 – 2010
  • Annual minimum exposed snow and ice, from MODICE, 2000 – 2013

Users may animate a time series, zoom in or out, and view a bar graph of anomalies over time. Links to the source data and documentation are also included. Additional pages provide brief scientific discussion, and overviews of the scientific importance of these data.

More data types and extended temporal coverage may be added in the future, if interest warrants and funding continues. SOAC was developed with support from NASA Earth Science (http://science.nasa.gov/earth-science/).

NSIDC User Services welcomes your feedback on SOAC. Please contact us at nsidc@nsidc.org.

New life for old data: Nimbus Data Rescue Project publishes first data set

Back in the 1960s, technology to process massive amounts of data and imagery did not exist. Advancements in technology now allow for the processing of film into a digital format. The Nimbus Data Rescue Project set out on a techno-archeological mission to convert data and images from the NASA Nimbus 1 and 2 satellites that were developed on film into a more manageable digital format. These data extend the satellite record back in time providing the earliest satellite data of polar sea ice extent.

The Nimbus Advanced Vidicon Camera System Visible Imagery L1, HDF5 (NmAVCS1H) is the first data set publicly available from the Nimbus Data Rescue Project. NmAVCS1H consists of black-and-white Advanced Vidicon Camera System (AVCS) images that were acquired by the Nimbus 1 satellite during September 1964 and by Nimbus 2 from May to August 1966. NSIDC researchers and staff scanned the images from archival rolls of 35-mm, black-and-white film. Each HDF5-formatted data file contains an array of 8-bit grayscale values, estimates of the latitude and longitude for each pixel, a grayscale calibration map, and a non-data/data quality mask. Browse images are also available.

For a detailed description of the data see the NmAVCS1H documentation.

To obtain the NmAVCS1H data see the Order Data Web page.

The Nimbus Data Rescue Project was a collaboration between the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) at NASA Ames Research Park, and NSIDC. For more of the project’s history and development see our Monthly Highlights: Glimpses of Sea Ice Past article and the Nimbus Data Rescue Project Web page.