ARC: A source of multisensor satellite data for polar science

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Abstract

The Antarctic continent and surrounding sea ice are believed to influence the world's climate. Furthermore, model studies [Manabe and Stouffer, 1979] have shown the region to be sensitive to small changes in the global environment. Therefore it is a region where the first indications of global change may be observed. Because the area is large and generally inaccessible, the most effective method for observing potential climate changes will probably be through satellite remote sensing. Data from the current generation of National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) satellites are playing an increasingly important role in polar-related climate research [Thomas, 1991]. Therefore, under the auspices of the National Science Foundation, the Antarctic Research Center (ARC) was established at Scripps Institution of Oceanography to provide real-time, polar-orbiting satellite data in support of Antarctic field studies and to maintain a multisensor satellite data archive for retrospective data analysis. This article describes the ARC and its data collection program and data archive and gives one example of how the complimentary nature of a multisensor satellite data set can be used to enhance our understanding of physical processes in Antarctica.

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