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Arctic Ice Dynamics Joint Experiment (AIDJEX) Second Pilot Study, March - May 1972: A Documentary Film, Version 1

The project described in this documentary was a pilot study conducted in 1972 in preparation for the AIDJEX main experiment of 1975 to 1976. The study included a main camp on drifting sea ice in the Beaufort Sea north of Alaska along with two satellite camps forming a station triangle with a 100 km side length. A detailed description of the observational program and a running account of the results can be found in the AIDJEX Bulletin series published between 1970 and the end of the project in 1978. The Bulletin is accessible in hard copy in the Roger G. Barry Resource Office for Cryospheric Studies at NSIDC. The Polar Science Center at the University of Washington maintains an AIDJEX electronic library. It includes downloadable copies of the contents of all 40 AIDJEX Bulletins, AIDJEX Operations Manuals for the Pilot Study and the Main Experiment, and other resources. 

The film was produced by Hannes Zell and Dieter Wittich of Vienna, Austria under an arrangement with the AIDJEX Project Office at the University of Washington. The transfer of the original 16 mm film to electronic medium was performed by Victory Studios of Seattle, Washington, USA. The digital copy was donated to NSIDC by Dr. Norbert Untersteiner, AIDJEX Project Director.

Geographic Coverage

Spatial Coverage:
  • N: 80, S: 72, E: -125, W: -165

Spatial Resolution: Not Specified
Temporal Coverage:
  • 1 March 1972 to 31 May 1972
Temporal Resolution: Not specified
  • Sea Ice > Sea Ice Motion
Platform(s) Not specified
Sensor(s): Not specified
Data Format(s):
  • MPEG
Version: V1
Data Contributor(s): Norbert Untersteiner

Data Citation

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.

Untersteiner, N. 2008. Arctic Ice Dynamics Joint Experiment (AIDJEX) Second Pilot Study, March - May 1972: A Documentary Film, Version 1. [Indicate subset used]. Boulder, Colorado USA. NSIDC: National Snow and Ice Data Center. doi: [Date Accessed].

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Detailed Data Description


The Arctic Ice Dynamics Joint Experiment (AIDJEX) program was the largest western sea ice experiment constructed specifically to answer emerging questions about how sea ice moves and changes in response to the influence of ocean and atmosphere. AIDJEX brought together several nations and institutions that had a common goal to reach a basic understanding of the air, sea, and ice.  The pilot study in 1972 was followed by the AIDJEX field program in 1975 and 1976.

Researchers maintained four, manned camps on ice floes in the Beaufort Sea.  On 21 February 1972, the first crew arrived to begin construction of the camp.  Seventy-five scientists and support staff were housed in the camp.  The scientists collected meteorological and oceanographic data from instruments located at the camps and on floating data buoys. The experiment was designed to collect coordinated measurements over at least one year, in order to have the right combination of data for understanding atmosphere and ice interactions.

The University of Washington led the logistics and research work of the program, which was a collaboration between the United States, Canada, and Japan. Norbert Untersteiner was instrumental in the design of AIDJEX and served as Project Director from 1971 to 1978.

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The film is available via FTP as an MPEG video and has a running time of 51:33 minutes. It was originally transferred to electronic media by Victory Studios of Seattle, Washington, USA.

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Spatial Coverage

The main camp was located 500 km north of Barrow, Alaska, USA and along with two satellite camps, formed a triangle with sides about 100 km in length.  The geographic area covered in the film footage is approximately as follows:

Southernmost latitude: 72° N
Northernmost latitude: 80° N
Easternmost longitude: 125° W
Westernmost longitude: 165° W
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Temporal Coverage

This film covers March to May 1972.

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Film Annotations

The table below provides a description of the contents of the film with timestamps for each section.

Timestamp of Film (minutes) Annotation
12:45 – 17:30 Dr. Norbert Untersteiner, Director of AIDJEX, describes the project goals.
18:42 – 21:47 Dr. Wilson Goddard, University of California, speaks about their team’s project to measure the stability of the pack ice.
22:13 – 24:20 Dr. Hans Weber, Geophysicist, Canadian Department of Energy, Mines and Resources explains his team’s project to measure ocean surface tilt.
25:00 – 28:45 Dr. Kenneth Hunkins, Geophysicist, Columbia University, describes the project to measure oceanographic parameters in the Arctic Ocean.
29:30 – 33:30 Professor Lawrence Coachman, Oceanographer, University of Washington, discusses his team’s project to measure deep ocean flow.
34:40 – 40:25 University of Washington graduate student Alan Thorndike describes his experiment to measure ice deformation.
(39:10 – 39:40 movement of ice; great visual)
40:55 – 42:08 Dr.  Tadashi Tabata, University of Hokkaido, Japan, explains his observations of internal ice stress.
42:52 – 45:32 Patrick Martin, University of Washington, AIDJEX Office, describes the function and use of automatic data buoys.
46:41 – 49:58 Dr. Untersteiner relates the results of the pilot study.
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Software and Tools

The movie can be viewed with most computer video players.

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References and Related Publications

Contacts and Acknowledgments


NSIDC would like to acknowledge Dr. Norbert Untersteiner for his contribution of the film and his efforts to make it available.  We also acknowledge the University of Washington Polar Science Center for their financial support of digitization of the original film.

Document Information

Document Creation Date

December 2008

Document Author

Allaina Wallace

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