Data Set ID:

Arctic Water Vapor Characteristics from Rawinsondes, Version 1

A gridded climatological monthly-mean data base of Arctic water vapor characteristics has been assembled by combining fixed station data
with data from soundings taken over the Arctic Ocean from ships and
Russian drifting stations. Variables provided include temperature,
specific humidity, zonal vapor flux, meridional vapor flux, zonal wind
speed, and meridional wind speed, available for 15 levels extending
from the surface and then at every 50 mb from 950 mb to 300 mb; sea
level pressure and geopotential height, available at 850 mb, 700 mb,
500 mb and 300 mb; and precipitable water, vertically integrated zonal
vapor flux and vertically integrated meridional vapor flux, available
for five layers, surface to 850 mb, 850 to 700 mb, 700 to 500 mb, 500
to 400 mb and 400 to 300 mb. Coverage of the rawinsonde archives
extends from 1945 through 1990 for data from the Russian North Pole
series of drifting ice stations over the Arctic Ocean; from 1976
through 1991 for fixed-station data obtained from the National Center
for Atmospheric Research; and from about 1958 through 1991 for
fixed-station data obtained from the Historical Arctic Rawinsonde
All variables were obtained through interpolation of the raw sounding
data, with the exception of sea level pressure and geopotential
height. The file, available via ftp, is structured in monthly data
arrays over a subsection of the National Meteorological Center grid
(octagonal grid format) centered over the pole, extending to
approximately 65 degrees North on each side and about 55 degrees North
at the corners.

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Geographic Coverage

Data Set Tabs

Temporal Coverage:
  • 1954-01-01
to present
Temporal Resolution:
Not specified
Spatial Coverage:
  • N: 90, S: 65, E: 180, W: -180

Spatial Resolution:
Not Specified
  • Atmospheric Temperature > Air Temperature
  • Altitude > Geopotential Height
  • Atmospheric Water Vapor > Water Vapor > Humidity
  • Atmospheric Water Vapor > Humidity
  • Atmospheric Pressure > Sea Level Pressure
  • Atmospheric Water Vapor > Precipitable Water > Water Vapor Flux
  • Atmospheric Winds > Upper Level Winds > Wind Speed/Direction
  • Atmospheric Winds > Surface Winds > Wind Speed/Direction
Data Format(s):
Not specified
Data Contributor(s): Mark Serreze, Jonathan Kahl, R. Barry

We kindly request that you cite the use of this data set in a publication using the following citation. For more information, see Use and Copyright.

Serreze, M., R. Barry, and J. Kahl 2011. Arctic Water Vapor Characteristics from Rawinsondes, Version 1. [indicate subset used]. Boulder, Colorado USA. NSIDC: National Snow and Ice Data Center.
No See Also links are available for this data set.

Questions? Please contact:

NSIDC User Services
Phone: 1 303 492-6199
Fax: 1 303 492-2468
Contact Address:
National Snow and Ice Data Center
University of Colorado
City: Boulder
Province or State: CO
Postal Code: 80309-0449
Country: USA