Going Further


The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) has many opportunities for further exploration. Here are a few ideas to try.

  • Examine the sea ice data downloaded in this lesson for variations in concentration.
  • Examine sea ice in the Antarctic Regioncompare fluctuations and seasonality. Use either the online animations or access the data sets from the ftp site referred to in the chapter.
  • Add wind pattern data to the sea ice data and explore relationships between these two factors.

Other Data

Antarctic Sea Ice data can be also be downloaded from the NSIDC website. Antarctic sea ice is in the same directories, but it is in the "South" folders.

An important difference is when you import the Antarctic fields: the images are 316 by 332 pixels instead of the values used for the Arctic.

The NSIDC Sea Ice Index is a collection of summary data and browse imagery of monthly sea ice conditions. It is derived from raw data fields produced for one of NSIDC's products: "Sea Ice Concentrations from Nimbus-7 SMMR and DMSP SSM/I Passive Microwave Data"

To download the data
  1. Go to the website http://nsidc.org/data/nsidc-0051.html .
  2. Click on the "Access Data" button. You will be asked to fill out a User Registration Form, though this can be bypassed with a link in the upper right-hand corner of the page.
  3. There are three directories, each for different time periods.
  4. Most of the data, the oldest data, are in "final-gsfc", more recent data from the end of the "final-gsfc" through ~3-6 months ago are in "preliminary", and the most recent data (the last 3-6 months) are in "near-real-time". The data in the "final-gsfc" folder was processed by scientists at the Goddard space flight center.
  5. Click on the "final-gsfc' folder to select it.
  6. Within each directory, are subfolders by hemisphere and then by "daily" and "monthly". It will generally be easiest to work with monthly data. The time of each field is in the filename with the 4-digit year immediately followed by the 2-digit month (and then immediately followed by the 2-digit day of month for the daily data).
  7. Select from the list of files and download by right clicking on the name of the file and saving it to your desktop.
A much simpler route is to download the data as a tar file.
To do so, simply copy and paste the ftp address below into a new window in your browser to access a compressed data set.
  • South Polar Data
  • North Polar Data

Other Tools

Google Earth software can be used for visualization of this data.
Data sets in KMZ format (for Google Earth) can be downloaded at NSIDC Data on Virtual Globes: Google Earth

Sea Ice data can be viewed and animated online using the NSIDC Sea Ice Animation Tool

Case Studies with Tool

Other EET chapters that utilize ImageJ as a tool and satellite imagery as a data source include the following:

Resources and Further Information

Additional Reference Papers

  • Bridging perspectives from remote sensing and Inuit communities on changing sea-ice cover in the Baffin Bay region - Meier, Stroeve and Gearheard, 2006
    download this file (Acrobat (PDF) 245kB Jul5 07)