NOAA 2000-R316
Contact: Pat Viets


The fourth and final Arctic atlas in a series containing some previously restricted U.S. and Russian data will be released at a meeting of the Arctic Council October 12 and 13 in Barrow, Alaska.

The Arctic Meteorology and Climate Atlas contains climate measurements from one of the most forbidding places on Earth. It was funded by NOAA and the U.S.-Russian Binational Commission's Environmental Working Group.

The atlases were developed under the guidance of the U.S. Co-chairman of the Environmental Working Group, NOAA Administrator D. James Baker, and the Russian Co-chairman, Dr. V. I. Danilov-Danilyan, chairman of the State Committee for Environmental Protection.

"The breadth and length of the records provided by the Atlas are expected to be of particular value to climate change studies," Baker said. "Since the severe Arctic climate poses extreme risks and logistical hazards to field crews, contemporary studies of arctic climate rely on satellite remote sensing."

The new climate atlas provides nearly a century of "ground truth" with which to calibrate and gauge the validity of satellite measurements over later periods, and the long-term perspective with which to identify permanent changes from seasonal or cyclical shifts. In addition, regional maps of air temperature, sea level pressure, precipitation, cloud cover, snow depth, and global solar radiation supply the necessary information for modeling exchange processes between sea ice, atmosphere and ocean.

The CD-ROM Atlas includes historical and new data ranging from observations taken from the 1893 voyage of the Fram to those collected from the T-3, a scientific research camp operated from the1950s through the 1970s by the U.S. Air Force on a floating ice island that drifted in the Beaufort Gyre. In addition to summarizing the history of arctic exploration from both Russian and U.S. vantage points, the Atlas includes an article about native Inuit climate knowledge from a study by University of Colorado graduate student, Shari Fox.

Interviewing Inuit hunters, elders and others living in the northern polar region, Fox reports that the increasing incidence of rainfall in recent years sparked the creation of a new Inuktitut word describing a mix of rain and snow that denoted an increase in the amount of rain in winter, "misullijuq."

Other highlights of the Atlas include a description of the Russian North Pole drifting station program and a monograph on weather hazards in the Russian Arctic, both translated from the Russian, a photo gallery from early North Pole stations, an arctic weather primer, and an English-Russian glossary of meteorological terms.

The atlas series was produced in response to a mandate of the Environmental Working Group established in June 1995 under the U.S.-Russian Binational Commission to exchange non-classified data between the United States and Russia. The atlas was prepared by researchers at the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado, Boulder, the Polar Science Center, University of Washington, Seattle, and scientists from the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute, St. Petersburg.

The Arctic Council membership encompasses representatives from Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation, Sweden, the United States, the Association of Indigenous Minorities of the North, Siberia and the Far East of the Russian Federation, the Inuit Circumpolar Conference, the Saami Council, and the Aleutian International Association.

The atlas is available from the National Snow and Ice Data Center, Campus Box 449, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309. NSIDC also distributes other volumes in the series. The National Snow and Ice Data Center is part of the University of Colorado Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, and is affiliated with NOAA's National Geophysical Data Center through a cooperative agreement.

For a complete description of the atlases, contact NSIDC User Services Office at or visit NSIDC at: or