Data Set ID:

Ross Ice Shelf Firn Temperature, Antarctica, Version 1

Since November of 2006, 12 thermistors were planted in the upper 16 meters of the firn on the Ross Ice Shelf near its calving front. Temperature data are collected every 20 minutes and are transmitted via ARGOS satellite relay. Data are intended to provide a view of how firn temperatures change as the ice shelf evolves. Data are available in comma-delimited ASCII format. Data are available via FTP.

NSIDC does not archive these data.

  • Glaciers/Ice Sheets > Ablation Zones/Accumulation Zones > ABLATION ZONES/ACCUMULATION ZONES
  • Glaciers/Ice Sheets > Firn > FIRN
  • Glaciers/Ice Sheets
  • Glaciers/Ice Sheets > Icebergs > ICEBERGS
  • Sea Ice > Icebergs > ICEBERGS
  • Glaciers/Ice Sheets > Ice Sheets > ICE SHEETS
  • Sea Ice > Ice Temperature > ICE TEMPERATURE
  • Snow/Ice > SNOW/ICE
  • Snow/Ice > Snow/Ice Temperature > SNOW/ICE TEMPERATURE
Data Format(s):
Spatial Coverage:
N: -78, 
S: -78, 
E: -178, 
W: -178
Platform(s):Not specified
Spatial Resolution:Not SpecifiedSensor(s):Not specified
Temporal Coverage:
  • 4 November 2006 to 30 June 2008
Temporal ResolutionNot specifiedMetadata XML:View Metadata Record
Data Contributor(s):Douglas MacAyeal, Olga Sergienko, Ted Scambos, Atsu Muto

Geographic Coverage

Please contact the data provider for the correct Data Citation for this data set.

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Detailed Data Description


comma delimited ASCII text

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File and Directory Structure

Data are available on the FTP site in the directory.

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File Naming Convention

Files are named according to the following convention and as described in Table X:



Table X. File Naming Convention
Variable Description
.txt comma delimited ASCII text
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2 Megabytes (MB)

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Spatial Coverage

Ross Ice Shelf, Nascent Iceberg, Antarctica

Southernmost Latitude: 78 South
Northernmost Latitude: 78 South
Westernmost Longitude: 178 West
Easternmost Longitude: 178 West

Spatial Resolution

Variable depth to 16 meters

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Temporal Resolution

Daily averages

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Parameter or Variable

Parameters include iceberg drift, iceberg latitude and longitude, iceberg weather (AWS),
ice shelf motion, ice shelf surface temperature, ice shelf weather, iceberg snow accumulation

Sample Data Record

Year, Month, Day, Hour, Minute, Second,Temperatures at 12 depths starting with the shallowest (check by seeing which has more variability due to surface temperature fluctuation).

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Software and Tools

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Data Acquisition and Processing

Theory of Measurements

Firn Temperature Data from near the calving front of the Ross Ice Shelf (at an AWS/GPS station called "Nascent Iceberg"). Data are accurate to at least 0.1 degree Centigrade, and are in degrees Centigrade. Vertical spacing was maintained by placing the sensors in a PVC pipe that was threaded down a 16 meter bore hole in the firn surface.

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Sensor or Instrument Description

Sensors used are 1000-Ohm Platinum RTDs (Resistance Temperature Detectors), manufactured by Honeywell, model number HEL-705-T-0-12-00. Temperature measurements are made using 4-wire half-bridge on a CR10X data logger (Campbell Scientific). Data are recorded once each hour and transmitted through ARGOS telemetry system. The standard uncertainty of temperature measurements is considered no worse than 0.05 degrees Celsius.

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References and Related Publications

Contacts and Acknowledgments

Douglas MacAyeal
Department of Geophysical Sciences
University of Chicago
5734 S. Ellis Ave. 
HGS 413
Chicago, Illinois 60637 USA

Olga Sergienko 
Department of Geology 
Portland State University 
Portlan, Oregon, 97201 USA

Ted Scambos 
National Snow and Ice Data Center 
University of Colorado
Boulder,Colorado 80309 USA

Atsu Muto 
National Snow and Ice Data Center 
University of Colorado
Boulder,Colorado 80309 USA


This research was supported by National Science Foundation (NSF) Office of Polar Programs (OPP) grant 0229546 awarded to D. MacAyeal.

Document Information


December 2008

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