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Arctic Ice Dynamics Joint Experiment (AIDJEX)


Scope and Contents

From the Collection:

The collection includes many of the analog materials archived by the World Data Center and the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) on glaciology and ice covering a period between 1860 to 2012. It includes the Glacier Photograph Collection (found in the Glacier Collections series) which consists of prints, negatives, slides, and glass plate negatives documenting the historical record of glaciers from around the world, the bulk of which are from North America. There are also reports from government funded projects such as Birdseye Aerial Project and the U.S. Navy Aerial project. There are ice charts documenting ice flows including the Dehn Ice charts from mid-century Alaska, Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) and the National Ice Center (NIC) ice charts from the arctic, antarctic, Germany, Sweden, Canada and Japan. There also expedition reports, data print outs, films, and aerial imagery from a variety of research projects including but not limited to AIDJEX, CEAREX-MISEX, and CLPX (see each series for a more in depth description of these programs). Material was generated by organizations like NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL), the USGS, the U.S. Coast Guard in addition to individual researchers. Most sub-series in the collection constitute a collection originally held by the NSIDC analog archive.

Most of the glacier photography in the sub-series titled "Glacier Photographs by Photographer" and "Geographical Glacier Photographs" has been digitized and are available on the University of Colorado Digital Library (CUDL).

Reports and expedition notebooks from the 1890-1975 from the sub-series titled "Lawrence Martin expedition notebooks," "Louis L. Ray expedition notebooks,"Harry Fielding Reid collection," and "National Park Service Glacier Survey Reports" have been digitized and are available on the Universtiy of Colorado Digital Library (CUDL).


  • 1860 - 2012

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use. Material marked as restricted is due to the inclusion of legally and ethically protected confidential collection donor and researcher information. Please contact for questions about access to this material.

Research access to original moving image films in this collection is restricted, due to preservation concerns. Contact with a list of desired items and a statement of intended use, which will be evaluated by the Moving Image Archivist based on preservation condition of the desired items and staff availability; please note that access may not be guaranteed for all items.

All analog sound recordings, video formats, and badly deteriorated film held by the Archives must be digitized for research access, due to preservation concerns. If these materials have not previously been digitized, the researcher is responsible for the cost of digitization. Researchers may request access to previously-digitized audiovisual materials that are not online on the CU Digital Library by contacting

This collection contains digital materials not available for download directly. Access to these materials is available either on-site in the Reading Room or by remote access. Requests to access born-digital materials must be made in advance by contacting Once a request has been made, please confirm viewing arrangements with Archives staff. Please allow at least 7 business days before download access is provided.

Biographical / Historical

The AIDJEX program was the first major western sea ice experiment conducted specifically to answer emerging questions about how sea ice moves and changes in response to the influence of ocean and atmosphere. A pilot study in 1972 was followed by the AIDJEX field program in 1975 and 1976.

Researchers maintained four manned camps on ice floes in the Beaufort Sea. The scientists collected meteorological and oceanographic data from instruments located at the camps and on floating data buoys. The experiment was designed to collect coordinated measurements over at least one year, in order to have the right combination of data for understanding atmosphere and ice interactions. The submarine USS Gurnard participated by collecting ice draft data from upward-looking acoustical soundings (sonar). Ice draft (the depth of the ice below the water surface) is an estimator of ice thickness.

The University of Washington led the logistics and research work of the program, which was a collaboration between the United States, Canada, and Japan. Norbert Untersteiner was instrumental in the design of AIDJEX and served as Project Director from 1971 to 1978. The Polar Science Center at the University of Washington maintains an AIDJEX electronic library. It includes downloadable copies of the contents of all 40 AIDJEX Bulletins, beginning in 1970 and ending in 1978.

A retrospective, "AIDJEX Revisited: A Look Back at the U.S.-Canadian Arctic Ice Dynamics Joint Experiment 1970–78", by Norbert Untersteiner appears in the September 2007 issue of Arctic.


11 linear feet (14 boxes (1 record box, 2 custom boxes, 12 flat boxes, and 1 binder))

Language of Materials


Repository Details

Part of the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries, Rare and Distinctive Collections Repository

1720 Pleasant Street
184 UCB
Boulder Colorado 80503 United States