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In this Issue



Issue 27, December 1998


Fall Meeting, San Francisco, 6-10 December 1998

NSIDC will have an exhibit booth again this year at AGU. Stop by to visit with staff, inquire about data or information products, and see examples of our latest data releases. We look forward to seeing you there!

Papers and posters to be presented by NSIDC staff and associated researchers at AGU: Armstrong, R.L., M.J. Brodzik and A. Chang. A 20-Year global snow cover climatology derived from Nimbus 7 SMMR and DMSP SSM/I Pathfinder data sets.

Barry, R., C. Haggerty, C. Hanson, T. Zhang, J. Branson, M. Liebman, and J. Brown. A global geocryological database on CD and internet.

Bauer, R. and G. Scharfen. The Antarctic Master Directory - Advantages of developing and using metadata for Antarctic research.

Cross, M., C. McNeave and R. Welsh. The ARCSS Data Coordination Center (ADCC) at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), USA: A data and information resource for arctic and cryospheric studies.

Haggerty, C., G. Scharfen, M. Hoelzle, and R.S. Webb. An electronic world glacier inventory.

Knowles, K., R. Swick, and R. Bauer. Mapx - An object-oriented geographic coordinate transformation library.

Starr, D., R. L. Armstrong, and M. Holm. EASE-Grid data in support of arctic systems research.

Stroeve, J. and J. Maslanik. Incidence angle effects on SSM/I sea ice concentrations.

Swick, R., K. Knowles, and R. Bauer. The state of the art in geographic database search interfaces.

Thrasher-Hybl, T., R.L. Armstrong, M. Holm, and R. Weaver. Nimbus-7 SMMR data sets available from NSIDC and their importance to cryospheric studies.

Varani, A., M. Meshek, L. Cheshire, and G. Hunolt. Electronic publishing at the EOSDIS Distributed Active Archive Centers.

Wolfe, J., T. Scambos, and A. Nolin. Twenty years of improving ice sheet DEMs with satellite radar altimetry.

Zhang, T. Toward a better understanding of the response of permafrost temperature profiles to climate change in northern Alaska.


International Ice Patrol Iceberg Data Reformatted

The International Ice Patrol (IIP) provides digital files of iceberg activity in the North Atlantic to NSIDC on an annual basis. Data include the position of sighted icebergs, date and time of sighting, last date sighted, and a size code. NSIDC recently completed reformatting the data so that the entire data set (1960 to present) is in a consistent format. The IIP was formed in the aftermath of the sinking of the RMS TITANIC in 1912. The organization has provided information on iceberg locations to shipping for over seven decades. For further information, visit our online data catalog or contact NSIDC User Services.

SIGRID Sea Ice Chart Data Reader Available

SIGRID (for Sea Ice Grid) is a WMO standard format for coding operational sea ice chart data as strings of characters. Manipulating SIGRID-format data can be difficult. CANATEC Consultants Ltd., in Alberta, Canada, offers software that can be used to view standard SIGRID-format files and to perform basic ice analysis on them. Contact CANATEC Consultants, Ltd., Tel. (403) 228-0962, for more information.

Global Annual Freezing and Thawing Indices

Global Annual Freezing and Thawing Indices are now available from NSIDC. The total annual freezing and thawing indices are defined as the cumulative number of degree-days when air temperatures are below and above zero degrees Celsius. The total annual freezing index has been widely used to predict permafrost distribution, to estimate the maximum thickness of sea, lake and river ice, the maximum depth of ground-frost penetration, and to classify snow types. The annual total thawing index has been used to predict permafrost distribution and to estimate the maximum depth of thaw in frozen ground. Both total freezing and thawing indices are important parameters for engineering design in cold regions.

Data coverage is global. The data set contains the total annual freezing and thawing indices with a spatial resolution of 0.5° latitude by 0.5° longitude. Two data files are available, for the freeze and thaw indices respectively, in flat binary format. Each file is approximately 1 MB in size. The total annual freezing and thawing indices were calculated from monthly mean air temperature data compiled by Legates and Willmott (1990).

The data are available via ftp. For further information, visit our online data catalog or contact NSIDC User Services.

Daily Arctic Ocean Rawinsonde Data from Soviet Drifting Ice Stations

The Daily Arctic Ocean Rawinsonde Data from Soviet Drifting Ice Stations data set is now available from NSIDC. This data set contains an archive of daily rawinsonde measurements of wind direction and speed, atmospheric pressure, humidity, air temperature, and geopotential height as well as surface-based observations of cloud cover (amount, type and height) from the Soviet North Pole series of drifting stations for the Arctic Ocean spanning April 19, 1954 to July 31, 1990. The database was assembled under the direction of Dr. J. Kahl with funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Science Foundation, and the Electric Power Research Institute. The data were obtained from several different sources. All of these data are ultimately derived from the set of bound volumes of handwritten tables kept at the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI) in St. Petersburg, Russia. Data are in ASCII text format and available via ftp.

For further information, visit our data catalog or contact NSIDC User Services.

Comprehensive Ocean - Atmosphere Data Set LMRF Arctic Subset (COADS)

The Comprehensive Ocean - Atmosphere Data Set (COADS) Long marine Report Fixed-Length (LMRF) Arctic subset is now available from NSIDC. This subset contains marine surface weather reports observed in the years 1950 - 1995 for the region north of 65° N from ships, drifting ice stations, and buoys. Parameters in this data set include: air and sea temperature, cloudiness, humidity, winds, and present weather information (e.g., visibility). The scientists assembling COADS have attempted to integrate all available digitized, directly sensed surface-marine data sets that would contribute information of reasonable quality. Most of the early data were gathered by ships-of-opportunity. More recent data also come from fixed research vessels, buoys, and other observing devices. The COADS LMRF Arctic subset consists of 46 data files in packed binary format and has a total volume of approximately 201 MB UNIX compressed, and 632 MB uncompressed. A UNIX-based Fortran program to read the data and output selected variables is distributed with the data files. A PC version of the Fortran program is in progress.

COADS is the result of a continuing cooperative project between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) specifically its Environmental Research Laboratories (ERL), National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), and Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES, conducted jointly with the University of Colorado) and the National Science Foundation's National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

Data are available via ftp. For further information, visit our online data catalog or contact NSIDC User Services.

ARCSS Educational CD-ROM

NSIDC has recently published and released Into the Arctic: Information and Educational Activities for Studying Climate, a CD-ROM containing classroom activities focusing on climate studies. The CD-ROM, created in cooperation with the Science Management Office (SMO) at the University of New Hampshire, includes information and data from the Greenland Ice Sheet Project 2 (GISP2) in addition to data from other sources. Designed to offer instructional materials and activities for teachers and students, the unique feature of Into the Arctic is access to 'real' data collected and used by research scientists. Using these data allows students to simulate the process scientists follow when answering research questions. Into the Arctic also provides information, graphics, activities, and a glossary to enhance the experience of learning about earth science.

For further information, visit our online data catalog or contact NSIDC User Services.


DAAC Yearbook

NSIDC is one of nine NASA Distributed Active Archive Centers (DAACs) responsible for processing, archiving and distributing data and information for NASA's Mission to Planet Earth. Each DAAC specializes in a particular Earth Science discipline, for instance, NSIDC's DAAC responsibilities center on snow and ice, cryosphere and climate.

1997 was an important year for scientific research carried out using DAAC data, both on national and international fronts. Work included studies of the recession of the Greenland ice sheet based on radar scatterometer and passive microwave data; the detection of the 1997/1998 El Nino in TOPEX/Poseidon data; and investigations into the relationship of clouds to shortwave absorption in Earth's atmosphere. Several new products have been developed based on the use of DAAC data, including an atlas of Shaanxi Province, China, and a high-resolution map of Antarctica created through a cooperation by Canadian and U.S. researchers.

NSIDC has released these accounts and many other reports of DAAC data applications in a new edition of the annual DAAC publication, Distributed Active Archive Centers Supporting Earth Observing Science in 1997. The "DAAC Yearbook" is circulated to scientists, educators and administrators and is available to the public. Contact NSIDC User Services for a free copy. An electronic version will soon become available online, along with previous issues at: DAAC Yearbook 1997

Researchers interested in having work based on the use of DAAC data featured in subsequent issues of the publication are invited to contact:

Annette Varani
DAAC Yearbook Editor

Please do not submit articles, we will contact you for an interview.