Making Data Visible: Satellite Observations of Arctic Change (SOAC)

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Jane Beitler, Steve Tanner, Andrew P Barrett, Matthew H Savoie, Hannah Wilcox, Teri Hoyer and Kevin Beam, National Snow and Ice Data Center, Boulder, CO, United States
A new Web site, Satellite Observations of Arctic Change (SOAC, http://nsidc.org/soac), was developed to open up NASA Earth science data that show changes taking place in the Arctic over time to a broader range of users. The site was designed to be used by decision makers, teachers, non-specialist scientists, and the motivated public without the need for technical tools or expertise in manipulating data. The data are displayed on interactive maps, allowing users to explore how and where conditions in the Arctic have changed from the 1970s to the present. Users may animate a time series, zoom in or out, and view a bar graph of anomalies over time. Supporting pages provide brief scientific discussion and background to help users understand the data and the significance of the changes. Links to the source data and documentation are also included. Initial data products for SOAC include anomalies associated with near-surface air temperature; water vapor; sea ice concentration; snow cover; and several others. The potential for use and for inclusion of more data will be discussed.