How do I import EASE-Grid 2.0 snow cover and sea ice data into ArcGIS?

This document describes how to import  EASE-Grid 2.0 data files into ArcGIS, using Northern Hemisphere EASE-Grid 2.0 Weekly Snow Cover and Sea Ice Extent, Version 4 data as an example. These steps were tested with ArcGIS 10 on a Windows platform.

 1. Rename data file

Data files from Northern Hemisphere EASE-Grid 2.0 Weekly Snow Cover and Sea Ice Extent, Version 4 are available via FTP  and are distributed in binary format with a .bin file extension. In order to be able to import one of these data files into ArcGIS, you will need to:

Rename the file extension, changing it from .bin to .bsq

Example: EASE2_N25km.snowice.20101220-20101226.v04.bsq

2. Create a header file

In a text editor, create a new file with the content below. You will need to give the file the same name as the data file, but with a .hdr extension. Make sure that the .bsq file and the .hdr file are saved in the same folder and are accessible to ArcGIS.

Content of the header file:

nrows 720 
ncols 720 
nbands 1 
nbits 8 
layout bsq 
byteorder I 
ulxmap -8987500 
ulymap 8987500 
xdim 25000 
ydim 25000

Example header file name: EASE2_N25km.snowice.20101220-20101226.v04.hdr

3. Convert the file to an ESRI-compatible grid format

Open ArcMap, and in ArcToolbox choose Conversion Tools > To Raster > Raster To Other Format (multiple).

In the dialogue box that opens, select your .bsq file as the Input Raster. Choose a location in the Output Workspace and choose TIFF as the Raster Format.

Click OK. The program will use your .hdr file to define your input raster and create a new, ESRI-compatible file.

4. Define the projection for the new grid file

Choose ArcToolbox > Data Management Tools > Projections and Transformations > Define Projection.

In the dialogue box that opens, choose your .bsq file as the Input Dataset or Feature Class.

Next, click the button to the right of the Coordinate System input field.

In the dialogue box that opens, click New > Projected Coordinate System.

Enter a name of your choosing at the top of the next dialogue box.

In the Projection > Name drop-down menu, choose Lambert_Azimuthal_Equal_Area.

Next, fill in the form fields to match what is below:

false_easting: 0.000000 
false_northing: 0.000000 
central_meridian: 0.000000 
latitude_of_origin: 90.000000

Linear Unit: Meter

Meters per unit: 1

Under Geographic Coordinate System at the bottom of the dialogue box, click Select.

In the next dialogue box that opens, choose World > WGS 1984.prj. Click Add.

Then, click Finish and Ok until all the dialogue boxes are resolved.