Charctic: Viewing Sea Ice Data Interactively

The ability to view data interactively adds convenience to dynamic data analysis. While static graphs and images are informative, interactive tools allow users to view and analyze data on-the-fly. Readers of our Arctic Sea Ice News and Analysis blog enjoy daily updates on sea ice extent, but some wanted to see data from specific days or years that weren’t provided in the static graphs. Behold Charctic.


Explore sea ice data for the Arctic and Antarctic from NSIDC’s Sea Ice Index data set with the Charctic Interactive Sea Ice Graph. Sample graph for Arctic sea ice extent shown.

Developed at NSIDC with support from NASA, the Charctic Interactive Sea Ice Graph enables users to more easily access and explore NSIDC’s Sea Ice Index data set.

With this tool, you can:

  • Visualize sea ice extent data for the Arctic and more recently, the Antarctic.
  • View and compare sea ice extent data for any year or any combination of years between 1979 and 2014 (including near-real-time daily data).
  • Get daily sea ice extent values by rolling your cursor over a line in the graph.
  • See a corresponding daily sea ice concentration image by clicking on a line in the graph.
  • Download your customized graph or any of the corresponding daily sea ice concentration images.

If you are interested in tracking sea ice in the Arctic or the Antarctic, try it out.

New life for old data: Nimbus Data Rescue Project publishes first data set

Back in the 1960s, technology to process massive amounts of data and imagery did not exist. Advancements in technology now allow for the processing of film into a digital format. The Nimbus Data Rescue Project set out on a techno-archeological mission to convert data and images from the NASA Nimbus 1 and 2 satellites that were developed on film into a more manageable digital format. These data extend the satellite record back in time providing the earliest satellite data of polar sea ice extent.

The Nimbus Advanced Vidicon Camera System Visible Imagery L1, HDF5 (NmAVCS1H) is the first data set publicly available from the Nimbus Data Rescue Project. NmAVCS1H consists of black-and-white Advanced Vidicon Camera System (AVCS) images that were acquired by the Nimbus 1 satellite during September 1964 and by Nimbus 2 from May to August 1966. NSIDC researchers and staff scanned the images from archival rolls of 35-mm, black-and-white film. Each HDF5-formatted data file contains an array of 8-bit grayscale values, estimates of the latitude and longitude for each pixel, a grayscale calibration map, and a non-data/data quality mask. Browse images are also available.

For a detailed description of the data see the NmAVCS1H documentation.

To obtain the NmAVCS1H data see the Order Data Web page.

The Nimbus Data Rescue Project was a collaboration between the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) at NASA Ames Research Park, and NSIDC. For more of the project’s history and development see our Monthly Highlights: Glimpses of Sea Ice Past article and the Nimbus Data Rescue Project Web page.