Sea ice in the Baltic Sea – revisiting BASIS ice, a historical data set covering the period 1960/1961–1978/1979
- GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research, Düsternbrooker Weg 20, 24105 Kiel, Germany
Abstract. The Baltic Sea is a seasonally ice-covered, marginal sea in central northern Europe. It is an essential waterway connecting highly industrialised countries. Because ship traffic is intermittently hindered by sea ice, the local weather services have been monitoring sea ice conditions for decades. In the present study we revisit a historical monitoring data set, covering the winters 1960/1961 to 1978/1979. This data set, dubbed Data Bank for Baltic Sea Ice and Sea Surface Temperatures (BASIS) ice, is based on hand-drawn maps that were collected and then digitised in 1981 in a joint project of the Finnish Institute of Marine Research (today the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI)) and the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI). BASIS ice was designed for storage on punch cards and all ice information is encoded by five digits. This makes the data hard to access. Here we present a post-processed product based on the original five-digit code. Specifically, we convert to standard ice quantities (including information on ice types), which we distribute in the current and free Network Common Data Format (NetCDF). Our post-processed data set will help to assess numerical ice models and provide easy-to-access unique historical reference material for sea ice in the Baltic Sea. In addition we provide statistics showcasing the data quality. The website http://www.baltic-ocean.org hosts the post-processed data and the conversion code. The data are also archived at the Data Publisher for Earth & Environmental Science, PANGAEA (doi:10.1594/PANGAEA.832353).