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National Snow and Ice Data Center

National Snow and Ice Data Center

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The National Snow and Ice Data Center, or NSIDC, is a United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 information and referral center in support of polar
Geographical pole
A geographical pole is either of the two points—the north pole and the south pole—on the surface of a rotating planet where the axis of rotation meets the surface of the body...

 and cryospheric
Cryosphere
The cryosphere is the term which collectively describes the portions of the Earth’s surface where water is in solid form, including sea ice, lake ice, river ice, snow cover, glaciers, ice caps and ice sheets, and frozen ground . Thus there is a wide overlap with the hydrosphere...

 research
Research
Research can be defined as the scientific search for knowledge, or as any systematic investigation, to establish novel facts, solve new or existing problems, prove new ideas, or develop new theories, usually using a scientific method...

. NSIDC archives and distributes digital and analog snow and ice data and also maintains information about snow cover
Snow
Snow is a form of precipitation within the Earth's atmosphere in the form of crystalline water ice, consisting of a multitude of snowflakes that fall from clouds. Since snow is composed of small ice particles, it is a granular material. It has an open and therefore soft structure, unless packed by...

, avalanche
Avalanche
An avalanche is a sudden rapid flow of snow down a slope, occurring when either natural triggers or human activity causes a critical escalating transition from the slow equilibrium evolution of the snow pack. Typically occurring in mountainous terrain, an avalanche can mix air and water with the...

s, glacier
Glacier
A glacier is a large persistent body of ice that forms where the accumulation of snow exceeds its ablation over many years, often centuries. At least 0.1 km² in area and 50 m thick, but often much larger, a glacier slowly deforms and flows due to stresses induced by its weight...

s, ice sheet
Ice sheet
An ice sheet is a mass of glacier ice that covers surrounding terrain and is greater than 50,000 km² , thus also known as continental glacier...

s, freshwater ice
Ice
Ice is water frozen into the solid state. Usually ice is the phase known as ice Ih, which is the most abundant of the varying solid phases on the Earth's surface. It can appear transparent or opaque bluish-white color, depending on the presence of impurities or air inclusions...

, sea ice, ground ice, permafrost
Permafrost
In geology, permafrost, cryotic soil or permafrost soil is soil at or below the freezing point of water for two or more years. Ice is not always present, as may be in the case of nonporous bedrock, but it frequently occurs and it may be in amounts exceeding the potential hydraulic saturation of...

, atmospheric ice, paleoglaciology
Glaciology
Glaciology Glaciology Glaciology (from Middle French dialect (Franco-Provençal): glace, "ice"; or Latin: glacies, "frost, ice"; and Greek: λόγος, logos, "speech" lit...

, and ice core
Ice core
An ice core is a core sample that is typically removed from an ice sheet, most commonly from the polar ice caps of Antarctica, Greenland or from high mountain glaciers elsewhere. As the ice forms from the incremental build up of annual layers of snow, lower layers are older than upper, and an ice...

s.

NSIDC is part of the University of Colorado
University of Colorado at Boulder
The University of Colorado Boulder is a public research university located in Boulder, Colorado...

 Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences
Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences
The Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences is a research institute that is sponsored jointly by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration /Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research and the University of Colorado at Boulder.- Quick facts :* Established in 1967 as...

 (CIRES), and is affiliated with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration , pronounced , like "noah", is a scientific agency within the United States Department of Commerce focused on the conditions of the oceans and the atmosphere...

 National Geophysical Data Center
National Geophysical Data Center
The National Geophysical Data Center provides scientific stewardship, products and services for geophysical data describing the solid earth, marine, and solar-terrestrial environment, as well as earth observations from space....

 through a cooperative agreement. NSIDC serves as one of eight Distributed Active Archive Centers funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to archive and distribute data from NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

's past and current satellites and field measurement programs. NSIDC also supports the National Science Foundation
National Science Foundation
The National Science Foundation is a United States government agency that supports fundamental research and education in all the non-medical fields of science and engineering. Its medical counterpart is the National Institutes of Health...

 through the Arctic System Science Data Coordination Center and the Antarctic Glaciological Data Center. Mark Serreze is the director of NSIDC.

History


The World Data Center
World Data Center
The World Data Center system was created to archive and distribute data collected from the observational programs of the 1957-1958 International Geophysical Year. Originally established in the United States, Europe, Soviet Union, and Japan, the WDC system has since expanded to other countries and...

 (WDC) for Glaciology
Glaciology
Glaciology Glaciology Glaciology (from Middle French dialect (Franco-Provençal): glace, "ice"; or Latin: glacies, "frost, ice"; and Greek: λόγος, logos, "speech" lit...

, Boulder
Boulder, Colorado
Boulder is the county seat and most populous city of Boulder County and the 11th most populous city in the U.S. state of Colorado. Boulder is located at the base of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains at an elevation of...

, a data center responsible for archiving all available glaciological information, was established at the American Geographical Society
American Geographical Society
The American Geographical Society is an organization of professional geographers, founded in 1851 in New York City. Most fellows of the society are Americans, but among them have always been a significant number of fellows from around the world...

 under Dr. William O. Field, Director, in 1957. Between 1971 and 1976 it was operated by the U.S. Geological Survey, Glaciology Project Office, under the direction of Dr. Mark F. Meier.

In 1976, responsibility for the WDC for Glaciology was transferred to NOAA, Environmental Data and Information Service (EDIS), and the center moved to the University of Colorado at Boulder under the direction of Professor Roger G. Barry. In 1982, NOAA created the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) as a means to expand the WDC holdings and as a place to archive data from some NOAA programs. In the 1980s and 1990s, support to NSIDC widened with NASA funding for the Snow and Ice Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC) and NSF funding to manage selected Arctic
Arctic
The Arctic is a region located at the northern-most part of the Earth. The Arctic consists of the Arctic Ocean and parts of Canada, Russia, Greenland, the United States, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland. The Arctic region consists of a vast, ice-covered ocean, surrounded by treeless permafrost...

 and Antarctic
Antarctic
The Antarctic is the region around the Earth's South Pole, opposite the Arctic region around the North Pole. The Antarctic comprises the continent of Antarctica and the ice shelves, waters and island territories in the Southern Ocean situated south of the Antarctic Convergence...

 data and metadata.

Milestones

  • 1957-58: First International Geophysical Year
  • 1957: U.S. National Committee for the IGY awards the operation of WDC-A for Glaciology to the American Geographical Society
  • 1970: WDC for Glaciology transfers from the American Geographical Society to the U.S. Geological Survey in Tacoma, Washington
    Tacoma, Washington
    Tacoma is a mid-sized urban port city and the county seat of Pierce County, Washington, United States. The city is on Washington's Puget Sound, southwest of Seattle, northeast of the state capital, Olympia, and northwest of Mount Rainier National Park. The population was 198,397, according to...

  • 1976: WDC for Glaciology transfers from the U.S. Geological Survey in Tacoma, Washington to the University of Colorado at Boulder, Colorado under the direction of Roger Barry
  • 1982: NOAA designates the National Snow and Ice Data Center
  • 1983: NSIDC receives grant from NASA for archiving Nimbus 7 passive microwave data
  • 1990: NSIDC receives funding from NSF for Arctic System Science (ARCSS) Data Coordination Center (ADCC)
  • 1993: NSIDC receives first DAAC contract
  • 1996: Antarctic Data Coordination Center (ADCC) established with NSF support
  • 1999: Antarctic Glaciological Data Center (AGDC) established with NSF support
  • 2001: NSIDC celebrates its 25th Anniversary
  • 2002: Frozen Ground Data Center established with International Arctic Research Center
    International Arctic Research Center
    The International Arctic Research Center, or IARC, established in 1999, is a research institution focused on integrating and coordinating study of climate change in the Arctic. The primary partners in IARC are Japan and the United States...

     (IARC) support
  • 2003: Full suite of Earth Observing System
    Earth Observing System
    The Earth Observing System is a program of NASA comprising a series of artificial satellite missions and scientific instruments in Earth orbit designed for long-term global observations of the land surface, biosphere, atmosphere, and oceans of the Earth. The satellite component of the program was...

     (EOS) cryospheric sensors (AMSR, GLAS
    Glas
    Hans Glas GmbH is a former German automotive company, which was based in Dingolfing. Originally a maker of farm machinery, Glas evolved first into a producer of motor scooters, then automobiles...

    , MODIS
    MODIS
    The Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer is a payload scientific instrument launched into Earth orbit by NASA in 1999 on board the Terra Satellite, and in 2002 on board the Aqua satellite...

    ) in orbit
  • 2009: Mark Serreze named NSIDC director

International interactions


International science and data management programs facilitate the free exchange of data and accelerate research aimed at understanding the role of the cryosphere in the Earth system. NSIDC contributes to a number of international programs. Most of these programs, only a few of which are mentioned here, fall under the aegis of the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU).

NSIDC scientists participate in International Union of Geophysics and Geodetics (IUGG), International Association of Cryospheric Scientists (IACS), and in activities of the International Permafrost Association
International Permafrost Association
The International Permafrost Association , founded in 1983, has as its objectives to foster the dissemination of knowledge concerning permafrost and to promote cooperation among persons and national or international organisations engaged in scientific investigation and engineering work related to...

 (IPA), the Global Digital Sea Ice Data Bank (GDSIDB), and the World Climate Research Programme
World Climate Research Programme
The World Climate Research Programme was established in 1980, under the joint sponsorship of International Council for Science and the World Meteorological Organization, and has also been sponsored by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO since 1993. It is a component of the...

 (WCRP), including Climate and Cryosphere (CliC), Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment
Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment
The Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment is a research program of the World Climate Research Programme intended to observe, comprehend and models the Earth's water cycle. The experiment also observes how much energy the Earth receives, studies how much of that energy reaches surfaces of the...

 (GEWEX), the Global Climate Observing System
Global Climate Observing System
The Global Climate Observing System is an international institution co-sponsored by the World Meteorological Organization , the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, the United Nations Environment Programme , and the International Council for Science...

 (GCOS), and the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS). Former NSIDC Director, Roger G. Barry, was co-Vice Chair of the WCRP CliC Scientific Steering Group until 2005, and was a member of the GCOS/Global Terrestrial Observing System (GTOS) Terrestrial Observation Panel for Climate through 2007.

Research


Researchers at NSIDC investigate the dynamics of Antarctic ice shelves, new techniques for the remote sensing of snow and freeze/thaw cycle of soils, the role of snow in hydrologic modeling, linkages between changes in sea ice extent and weather patterns, large-scale shifts in polar climate, river and lake ice, and the distribution and characteristics of seasonally and permanently frozen ground. In-house scientists pursue their work as part of the CIRES Cryospheric and Polar Process Division,
University of Colorado at Boulder
University of Colorado at Boulder
The University of Colorado Boulder is a public research university located in Boulder, Colorado...

.

See also

  • CIRES
    Cirès
    Cirès is a commune in the Haute-Garonne department in southwestern France.-Population:-References:*...

  • Distributed Active Archive Centers
  • Earth Observing System
    Earth Observing System
    The Earth Observing System is a program of NASA comprising a series of artificial satellite missions and scientific instruments in Earth orbit designed for long-term global observations of the land surface, biosphere, atmosphere, and oceans of the Earth. The satellite component of the program was...

  • Polar ice packs
    Polar ice packs
    Polar ice packs are large areas of pack ice formed from seawater in the Earth's polar regions, known as polar ice caps: the Arctic ice pack of the Arctic Ocean and the Antarctic ice pack of the Southern Ocean, fringing the Antarctic ice sheet. Polar packs significantly change their size during...

  • University of Colorado at Boulder
    University of Colorado at Boulder
    The University of Colorado Boulder is a public research university located in Boulder, Colorado...


External links