Data Set ID:

IceBridge NSERC L1B Geolocated Meteorologic and Surface Temperature Data, Version 1

This data set is a collection of airborne, in-flight meteorological and in-cabin measurements, as well as thermal emission measurements of near-nadir surface skin temperature, collected by the National Suborbital Education and Research Center (NSERC). Instruments flown over Antarctica include a cabin pressure transducer, a 2-stage and a 3-stage hygrometer, a total air temperature sensor, and an infrared surface temperature pyrometer. The data files contain measurements for 36 meteorological, surface characteristic, and positional variables. The data were collected as part of Operation IceBridge funded campaigns.

This is the most recent version of these data.

Version Summary:

Initial release

STANDARD Level of Service

Data: Data integrity and usability verified

Documentation: Key metadata and user guide available

User Support: Assistance with data access and usage; guidance on use of data in tools

See All Level of Service Details

  • Atmospheric Temperature > Air Temperature
  • Atmospheric Pressure
  • Platform Characteristics > Attitude Characteristics
  • Atmospheric Water Vapor > Dew Point Temperature
  • Atmospheric Water Vapor > Humidity
  • Land Temperature > Skin Temperature
  • Soils > Soil Temperature
  • Atmospheric Pressure > Static Pressure
  • Sensor Characteristics > Total Temperature
Data Format(s):
Spatial Coverage:
N: -53, 
S: -90, 
E: 180, 
W: -180
Platform(s):AIRCRAFT, DC-8
Spatial Resolution:
  • Varies x Varies
Temporal Coverage:
  • 12 October 2009 to 10 November 2012
(updated 2013)
Temporal ResolutionVariesMetadata XML:View Metadata Record
Data Contributor(s):Rick Shetter, Eric Buzay, David Van Gilst

Geographic Coverage

Once you have logged in, you will be able to click and download files via a Web browser. There are also options for downloading via a command line or client. For more detailed instructions, please see Options Available for Bulk Downloading Data from HTTPS with Earthdata Login.

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.

Shetter, R., E. Buzay, and D. Van Gilst. 2010, updated 2013. IceBridge NSERC L1B Geolocated Meteorologic and Surface Temperature 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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Detailed Data Description


The data files are ICARTT comma-delimited text files.

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File and Directory Structure

Data files are organized on the following HTTPS site:

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File Naming Convention

The data files are named according to the following convention and as described in Table 2:




Table 2. File Naming Convention Description
Variable Description
IAMET1B Short name for IceBridge NSERC L1B Geolocated Meteorologic and Surface Temperature Data
nav Navigation, aircraft, and facility instrumentation data
dc8 NASA Dryden DC-8 airborne laboratory aircraft
YYYY Four-digit year of data collection
MM Two-digit month of data collection
DD Two-digit day of data collection
r1 Data revision 1
.ict Indicates ICARRT data file
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File Size

Data files range from approximately 1 MB to 12 MB.

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Data volume for the full data set is approximately 883 MB.

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Spatial Coverage

Spatial coverage for this data set includes the Greenland and Antarctic areas. In effect, this represents the two coverages noted below.

Arctic / Greenland:
Southernmost Latitude: 60° N
Northernmost Latitude: 90° N
Westernmost Longitude: 180° W
Easternmost Longitude: 180° E

Southernmost Latitude: 90° S
Northernmost Latitude: 53° S
Westernmost Longitude: 180° W
Easternmost Longitude: 180° E

Spatial Resolution

Spatial resolution varies by instrument parameter and aircraft flight characteristics.

Projection and Grid Description

These data are provided in unprojected geographic coordinates using the WGS84 vertical datum.

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Temporal Coverage

12 October 2009 to 10 November 2012

Temporal Resolution

IceBridge campaigns are conducted on an annually repeating basis. Arctic and Greenland campaigns are conducted during March, April, and May; Antarctic campaigns are conducted during October and November.

NSERC L1B Geolocated Meteorologic and Surface Temperature data are captured once per second.

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Parameter or Variable

This data set contains meteorological and in-cabin measurements and thermal emission measurements.

Parameter Description

Data parameters vary between campaigns. Please see the following parameter descriptions for each campaign:

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Software and Tools

NSIDC provides a MATLAB reader that reads NSERC L1B Geolocated Meteorologic and Surface Temperature Data files. The data files also may be opened by any ASCII text reader.

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Data Acquisition and Processing

Data Acquisition Methods

The DC-8 data set is collected from a number of sources. All of the navigation data comes from the Air Data Computer, Flight Management System, and GPS receivers. The parameters from the Air Data Computer and Flight Management System are recorded using dual NASDAT flight recorders via ARINC-429 data bus. The flight recorders are located in the housekeeping rack.

The flight recorders also record the analog voltage output data from the facility instruments located on board, including pressure transducer, hygrometers, and infrared pyrometer. All parameters are recorded at one hertz for the entire duration of the flight.

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Derivation Techniques and Algorithms

Data are taken at one hertz from aircraft instruments and facility instruments onboard. Data are recorded on two redundant NASA Airborne Science Data Acquisition and Transmission (NASDAT) flight recorders. No special techniques or algorithms are used in this data set.

Processing Steps

The following processing steps are performed by the data provider.

  1. Obtain flight specific files from flight recorder (NASDAT).
  2. Convert to ASCII ICARTT format.
  3. Perform quality control on the data set using graphs and curve fitting.
  4. Output final quality controlled ICARTT file.

Error Sources

Some data sets have missing data parameters due to either a fault in the system, or data is out of range for respective instruments. Missing parameters are marked with a -99999 label.

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Sensor or Instrument Description

Instruments used for the collection of this data include the following:

MKS Baratron Type 220D Pressure Transducer (Cabin Pressure)

The MKS Baratron Pressure Transducer is used to measure the pressure within the cabin of the aircraft. Based on a reference pressure which remains constant within the instrument, the exterior pressure can then be measured. The pressure transducer has a resolution of 1 Torr and the accuracy is ± 0.15 percent of Reading ±temperature coefficient. The temperature coefficient is 0.02 percent of Reading / °C.

2-Stage Hygrometer Buck Research Instruments Model 1011B (Dew/Frost Point)

The Buck Research Hygrometer system is a chilled-mirror type hygrometer designed for airborne measurements of dew and frost point temperatures. It is capable of measuring dew/frost points between -75°C and +50°C, over a wide range of temperatures, pressures, and airspeeds. The accuracy of this system is ± 0.1°C.

3-Stage Hygrometer Model 137 Vigilant by Edgetech (Dew Point)

The Edgetech Model 137 Hygrometer is a rugged, shock mounted instrument used for dew point measurement. This model measures dew point only, including dew points measured below zero degrees Celsius. The dew point is measured using chill mirror technology assuring precision accuracy, repeatability and reliability. The Edgetech hygrometer is able to accurately detect the dew point within the range of -50°C to 90°C with an accuracy of ± 0.2°C and precision of 0.1°C. The sensor is capable of a 65°C depression from an ambient temperature of 25°C.

Total Air Temperature Goodrich (Rosemount) model 102

Total air temperature is measured by a Rosemount probe and Goodrich Sensor mounted on the surface of the aircraft. The total air temperature sensor can measure temperature between -70°C to +70°C with a speed of up to Mach 3 at altitudes between 0 to 100,000 feet. The accuracy of the total air temperature is ± 1.0466 degrees Celsius.

Heitronics Infrared Radiation Pyrometer KT-19.85II

The Heitronics Infrared Radiation Pyrometer is a remotely sensed measuring transducer that receives the infrared radiation emitted by the measuring object and transforms it into a standardized output signal. The pyrometer is located on the bottom of the aircraft to measure surface and cloud top temperatures. It has a spectral range of 9.6 to 11.5 μm, a response time of one second, and a temperature range of -100° to +200°C. The accuracy is ± 0.5 percent plus 0.7 percent of the difference between target temperature and housing temperature.

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Contacts and Acknowledgments

Rick Shetter, Eric Buzay, and David Van Gilst
University of North Dakota
National Suborbital Education and Research Center
4149 University Avenue Stop 9011
Grand Forks, ND
58202-9011 USA


NASA Airborne Science

NASA Langley Research Center - ICARTT File Format Scanning by Ali Aknan

Document Information

Document Creation Date

April 2011

Document Revision Date

February 2019

No technical references available for this data set.

How To

Programmatically access data using spatial and temporal filters
The Common Metadata Repository (CMR) is a high-performance metadata system that provides search capabilities for data at NSIDC. A synchronous REST interface was developed which utilizes the CMR API, allowing you to ... read more