92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Tuesday, 24 January 2012: 11:30 AM
Monitoring Arctic Sea Ice: Product Development Considerations
La Nouvelle A (New Orleans Convention Center )
Florence Fetterer, Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO; and A. Windnagel, K. Gergely, W. Meier, and D. Scott

As one of NASA's Distributed Active Archive Centers, the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) has extraordinary access to satellite data that make monitoring sea ice over time and space possible, and to the scientific research and algorithm development NASA has supported as well. At the same time, NSIDC works with agencies, primarily NOAA and the Navy, to assist in projects that in some way transition sea ice research to operations, or enable scientists to more easily benefit from the ice monitoring carried out operationally. Our user community includes researchers, the scientifically literate public, and news organizations.

Six products illustrate considerations that come into play when designing for these users. Three are data products: the sea ice Climate Data Record (CDR), now in final stages of development at NSIDC; the weekly or biweekly ice chart record produced by analysts at the National Ice Center (NIC); and the daily IMS snow and ice product also produced by analysts at the National Ice Center and archived and distributed by NSIDC as well as by NIC. While the CDR emphasizes consistency, stability, and reproducibility, the products from NIC are made to meet the day's operational needs as well as possible, without the same emphasis on consistency.

Three other sea ice products are distinguished as data dissemination products. These are based on data products, but through processing or presentation, the information these data hold is made more readily usable by a wider audience. These are the Sea Ice Index, soon to be based on the new sea ice Climate Data Record; Multisensor Analyzed Sea Ice Extent (MASIE), based on the NIC IMS product, and National Ice Center Arctic Sea Ice Charts and Climatologies in Gridded Format, based on the NIC chart series. Some of the difficult issues faced in developing these products were what base period to use for showing averages and anomalies, whether archives should be rolling or not, and how far to go in making products available in multiple formats.

These products are among the most broadly used ice monitoring data sets, but NSIDC distributes many other remote sensing, in situ, derived, and historical sea ice data collections as well.

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