Making data from the N-ICE2015 expedition public: Three down, a hundred to go

Two of the most important N-ICE2015 legacies are the data that we make publicly available for anyone to use, and the scientific publications that put the observation into context.

Screenshot of a list of data sets, with an embedded screenshot of a smaller list of data sets

The published data sets so far from N-ICE2015, and a teaser of the data sets to come. (The teaser list is by no means complete, and will grow in the future.) Illustration: Norwegian Polar Institute

During the Norwegian Young Sea Ice Expedition (N-ICE2015), which ended its field campaign late in June 2015, we collected several time series of data on the atmosphere, sea ice and snow, and the ocean beneath the drifting Arctic sea ice.

An impressive amount of data – but data merely collected; Data not analyzed, and not reported through peer-reviewed journals, is of little use.

For these data to be usable for the coming generations it must be made publicly available, and it must be securely stored. The data must also be well-explained and -documented, so that anyone, familiar with the project or not, can actually use it.

We on the N-ICE2015 team are proud to announce that we have started to make data available for the public. 3 data sets are currently available, and there is more to come. We’re aiming for a special N-ICE2015 issue of the Journal of Geophysical Research. All the data used there will be published, and freely available for anyone to use.

Blessed by the open data policy of earlier projects, we have been able to compare our atmospheric observations with earlier observations from the year-long SHEBA (Surface Heat Budget of the Arctic, an American research station drifting on the ice north of Alaska from September 1997 to September 1998) campaign. We have confirmed the observations from SHEBA that the winter atmospheres over the Arctic Ocean occur in two similar states: a clear-sky state and an opaquely/cloudy state. This observation, made by both SHEBA and N-ICE2015, suggest that the occurrence of two states is an invariant feature of the Arctic atmospheric conditions, and gives suggestions as to through what processes the observed warming of the arctic may occur. Without the open data policy of SHEBA, such important results are of course difficult to get.