Data Set ID:

Coordinated Eastern Arctic Experiment (CEAREX) Data, Version 1

CEAREX was a multi-platform field program conducted in the Norwegian Seas and Greenland north to Svalbard from September 1988 through May 1989. Canada, Denmark, France, Norway and the United States participated in the experiment.

This is the most recent version of these data.

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Data Format(s):
  • ASCII Text
Spatial Coverage:
N: 90, 
S: 60, 
E: 30, 
W: -30
Temporal Coverage:
  • 1 March 1988 to 31 May 1989
Temporal ResolutionNot specifiedMetadata XML:View Metadata Record
Data Contributor(s):National Snow and Ice Data Center.

Geographic Coverage

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As a condition of using these data, you must cite the use of this data set using the following citation. For more information, see our Use and Copyright Web page.

National Snow and Ice Data Center. 2003. Coordinated Eastern Arctic Experiment (CEAREX) Data, Version 1. [Indicate subset used]. Boulder, Colorado USA. NASA National Snow and Ice Data Center Distributed Active Archive Center. doi: [Date Accessed].

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The Coordinated Eastern Arctic Experiment (CEAREX) was a multinational, multi-platform field program conducted in the Norwegian and Greenland Seas north to Svalbard from September 1988 through May 1989. Canada, Denmark, France, Norway and the United States participated in the experiment. Bathymetry, biophysical, hydrography, meteorology, noise, sample position, and sea ice data were collected in four phases:

  • Polarbjorn Drift Phase
  • Whaler's Bay/SIZEX Phase
  • Oceanography Camp (O-Camp) Phase
  • Acoustic Camp (A-Camp) Phase

Detailed Project Description

The CEAREX began with the drift of the R/V POLARBJORN on 17 September 1988 and ended on 19 May 1989 when the POLARBJORN docked in Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen. In addition to the POLARBJORN, the R/V HAAKON MOSBY and two ice camps were also used to collect data.

POLARBJORN Drift Phase (September 1988 - January 1989)

The CEAREX drift operations used the ship POLARBJORN as a scientific base. During early September 1988, the POLARBJORN made its way into a region of multiyear pack ice north of Svalbard with icebreaker support from the U.S. Coast Guard NORTHWIND. The POLARBJORN was allowed to freeze into the ice on September 16 at 82 degrees 41 minutes north, 32 degrees 26 minutes east. The ship was relatively immobile and drifted slowly southeastward with the ice pack toward Viktoriya Island, then southwestward past Kvitoya Island, and finally into the Barents Sea.

The large ice floe (Alpha Floe) to which the POLARBJORN was moored was used as a drifting data collection platform until 15 November, when strong northwesterly winds destroyed the ice floe just northwest of Kvitoya. At this time, equipment was brought aboard and an attempt was made to return to Tromso, Norway. After several days of limited progress, 16 of the 20 scientists were airlifted to Spitsbergen on December 12. A strong storm in early January allowed the POLARBJORN to break free and return to Tromso on 9 January 1989. All drift operations were completed by mid-January 1989, and the ship operated in the Fram Strait and Barents Sea areas from late January until May 1989.

For a complete description of the POLARBJORN drift phase of CEAREX, please refer to:
Pritchard, R. S. et al. 1990 CEAREX Drift Experiment. EOS, Transactions of the American Geophysical Union 71(40):1115-1118.

Whaler's Bay/SIZEX Phase (January 1989 - May 1989)

The Seasonal Ice Zone Experiment (SIZEX) phase began on 13 January when the POLARBJORN sailed from Tromso en route to operations in Fram Strait. This phase of CEAREX consisted of two separate cruises. The first cruise lasted from 9 February until 5 March 1989, and the second one from 8 March until 2 April 1989. Biophysical oceanographic operations commenced 4 April and concluded 17 May 1989. The first SIZEX cruise concentrated on conditions in the vicinity of Bjornoya, south of Svalbard; all subsequent cruises were located in the Fram Strait region west of Svalbard.

The HAAKON MOSBY's (University of Bergen, Norway) participation in the SIZEX phase began on 25 February 1989, when the ship left Tromso, Norway, bound for regions in the Barents Sea. From 26 February to 7 March 1989 the ship operated in the general area between the Svalbard and the northern coast of Norway. On 7 March the HAAKON MOSBY headed northwest toward regions in the Fram Strait west and southwest of Svalbard, where the ship cruised seaward of the pack ice edge from 11 March to 19 March 1989. The HAAKON MOSBY then headed southeast into the Barents Sea, finally returning to port on 23 March 1989.

Johannessen and Sandven (1989) describe SIZEX in more detail and provide a list of participants in the experiment.

Camp Operations Phase (March 1989 - April 1989)

The oceanography ice camp (O-Camp) and acoustic ice camp (A-Camp) operations were located on the pack ice in the Fram Strait. Most of the studies conducted at O-Camp were related to processes in the upper boundary layer of the ocean. The A-Camp focus was acoustics in the ocean. The O-Camp was active from 30 March until 24 April 1989. The A-Camp operated from 30 March until 20 April 1989.

Detailed Data Description

Bathymetry, biophysical, hydrography, meteorology, noise, sample position, and sea ice data collected during the Coordinated Eastern Arctic Experiment (CEAREX) are available in ASCII format. The data were collected in the Norwegian and Greenland Seas north to Svalbard from September 1988 through May 1989. To bring together related Eastern Arctic data sets and facilitate research use of the CEAREX data, some data from the Marginal Ice Zone Experiment (MIZEX), the Eurasian Basin Experiment (EUBEX), and the Seasonal Ice Zone Experiment (SIZEX) are included. In addition to more than 200 data files and 16 program files, the CEAREX data set contains documentation files that describe each type of data collected.

  • Bathymetry data include gridded trackline data collected from the two ice floe operation camps, digital bottom bathymetry, and continental topography data compiled for the Fram Strait region and a portion of the Arctic Ocean.
  • Biophysical data include bottle sample, zooplankton sample, bioluminescence, and optics profile data.
  • Hydrography data consist of Conductivity-Temperature-Depth (CTD), Salinity-Temperature-Depth (STD), and bottle data collected from the operations camps, the drifting ship POLARBJORN, and data archives. Hydrography data also include data from the MIZEX, the EUBEX, NODC archives, and a merged set of data from five other cruises
  • Meteorology data from CEAREX and the MIZEX (1983, 1984, 1987) include near-surface time series and rawinsonde upper-air sounding measurements of wind, pressure, temperature, and humidity collected on ship platforms, ice floe stations, and the operation camps.
  • Noise data consist of acoustic measurements from a variety of hydrophone and geophone arrays and ambient noise observations made from a drifting ship using omni-directional hydrophones tethered beneath the ice cover.
  • Sample Position data consist of hourly listings of position and velocity for both manned stations and unmanned drifting buoys.
  • Sea ice data consist of ice accelerometer data for movements associated with the deformation of multi-year ice floes, and sea ice compressive stress measurements made in a multi-year floe.

Production of the data set was supported by the Arctic Program of the Office of Naval Research (ONR). The Direct Research Funding Program at the Naval Post graduate School (NPS) and the Naval Oceanographic and Atmospheric Research Laboratory (NOARL), now a part of the Naval Research Laboratory, supported the NPS scientific effort that acquired much of the meteorology data.


All data are in ASCII text format and tabular form so that they can be used on a variety of computer platforms. The data files were converted to STREAM format in which each line ends with the carriage return and line feed characters. The files can be read using any editor or word processor. TYPE or PRINT commands can be used directly; because many of the files are quite large, these commands should be used with caution. The data files may be read using FORTRAN, C or another high-level programming language.

The files contain no special formatting characters. Because tabs are interpreted differently by different text processors, tabs have been converted to blank spaces in order to align the columns (fields).

Some of the files may appear to be double-spaced when displayed on a screen. Whether this happens depends on how your computer or terminal handles records that are longer than 80 characters. These double-spaced files display as single-spaced when read with a word processor.

Each documentation file describes these tables by giving the column or field width and the type of data in the field. One blank is between each field, unless otherwise specified in the documentation files.

For more specific data format information, please refer to the CEAREX data description document for the appropriate data type:

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File and Directory Structure

The CEAREX data set contains 217 data files and 16 program files in eight directories and 20 sub-directories. Please read the file README.1ST. It is located in the DOCUMENT/ sub-directory.

	Directory			Contents
	\BATHYMET		documentation file and 6 data files

	\BIOPHYS		documentation file and 6 data files

	\DOCUMENT 		15 files including README.1ST

	\HYDROG			documentation file and 9 sub-directories:
		\BIOCTD		7 data files
		\BOTTLE		1 data file
		\EUBEX		2 data  files 
		\FRAM		26 data files
		\HELO		2 data files
		\LAMONT		3 data files
		\OCAMP		1 data file
		\SHIP		5 data files
		\SIZEX		2 data files
	\METEOR			documentation file and 2 sub-directories:
		\SURFACE	12 data files (CEAREX and MIZEX data)
		\UPPER		10 data files (CEAREX and MIZEX data)

	\NOISE			2 sub-directories:
		\ACOUSTIC	documentation file and 3 data files
		\AMBIENT	documentation file and 1 data file

	\POSITION		documentation file and 2 sub-directories:
		\POSDAT		27 data files
		\POSPRG 	16 program files (source code  in  C)

	\SEAICE			3 sub-directories:
		\ACCEL		documentation file and 77 data files
		\DEFORM		documentation file and 6 data files
		\STRESS		2 sub-directories:
			\BDM	documentation file and 14 data files
			\CRREL	documentation file and 6 data files
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Spatial Coverage

Spatial Coverage

CEAREX data were collected in the Greenland and Norwegian Seas near Svalbard, north of Norway.

Spatial Coverage Map

Figure 1 shows an area map adapted from the CEAREX Operations Plan. The map shows the intended areas of CEAREX operations and data collection. Thus, the key shows the proposed dates of operation, not the actual dates of operation. The map is used here to illustrate the general coverage of the CEAREX operations in the eastern Arctic.

Figure 1. General Coverage of the CEAREX Operations in the Eastern Arctic


Scattered digital bathymetry data were converted from latitude/longitude to an X-Y Cartesian system using a Lambert's Conic Conformal transformation.

Grid Description

The digital bathymetry topography data are gridded to a 10 m by 10 m grid that extends from roughly 73 degrees north to 90 degrees north and from 60 degrees west to 60 degrees east. The trackline bathymetry data are not gridded.

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Temporal Coverage

Temporal Coverage

Data were collected between September 1988 and April 1989.

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Parameter or Variable
  • Air Temperature
  • Alkalinity
  • Ambient Noise
  • Altitude
  • benthic Habitat
  • Bioluminescence
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Chlorophyll
  • Conductivity
  • Fluorescence
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Software and Tools

Software and Tools

Software Description

The source code was written in C language and is provided for use without support from NSIDC. The programs are located in the directory with the sampling position data. For a special note about the file names of the C programs, please refer to the FTP directory documentation file.

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Data Acquisition and Processing

Data Acquisition Methods

For information about data acquisition and data processing methods, please refer to the CEAREX data description document for the appropriate data type:

No data acquisition information is available for the position data.

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Data Processing Methods

For information about data processing methods, please refer to the CEAREX data description document for the appropriate data type:

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Derivation Techniques and Algorithms

Error Sources

Refer to the CEAREX Hydrography CTD Errors document for errors related to the hydrography CTD data.

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Sensor or Instrument Description

CEAREX data were collected from various sensors and platforms including accelerometers, aircraft, anemometers, barometers, bathyphotometers, CTD and STD, buoys and drifting buoys, geophones, ground stations, hydrophones, hygrometers, Nansen Bottles, rawinsondes, thermometers, ships, stress sensors, thermistors, and transponders.

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References and Related Publications

Contacts and Acknowledgments


The CEAREX data were collected and compiled through the collaborative efforts of many investigators in the earth and polar sciences. Most of the CEAREX investigators and their affiliations are identified in an Investigator Address List.

Document Information


13 October 1995


03 January 2006
23 April 2001
03 January 1995

No technical references available for this data set.

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