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NSIDC: satellite sea ice sensor has “catastrophic failure” – data faulty for the last 45 or more days February 19, 2009

Posted by honestclimate in sea ice.
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NSIDC: satellite sea ice sensor has “catastrophic failure” – data faulty for the last 45 or more days

From Watts Up With That, February 19, 2009

http://gbailey.staff.shef.ac.uk/researchoverview_images/dmsp.jpg
The DMSP satellite is still operating, but the  SSM/I sensor is not

Regular readers will recall that on Feb 16th I blogged about this graph of arctic sea ice posted on the National Snow and Ice Data Center sea ice news page. The downward jump in the blue line was abrupt and puzzling.

nsidc_extent_timeseries_021509

Click for larger image

Today NSIDC announced they had discovered the reason why. The sensor on the  Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) satellite they use had degraded and now apparently failed to the point of being unusable. Compounding the bad news they discovered it had been in slow decline for almost two months, which caused a bias in the arctic sea ice data that underestimated the total sea ice by 500,000 square kilometers. This will likely affect the January NSIDC sea ice totals.

Read the rest here

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