Arctic Ice Dynamics Joint Experiment (AIDJEX)


This NOAA@NSIDC collection includes some meteorological, oceanographic, and sea ice data products associated with the Arctic Ice Dynamics Joint Experiment (AIDJEX) program, as well as two documentary films. The AIDJEX program was the first major Western sea ice experiment constructed specifically to answer emerging questions about how sea ice moves and changes in response to the influence of ocean and atmosphere. Data collection methods employed buoys, ships, submarines, and research stations floating on the ice.

The AIDJEX program was an American-Canadian project that began with a pilot study in 1972, followed by a more extensive experiment. During the main AIDJEX experiment, in 1975 and 1976, researchers maintained four camps on ice floes in the Beaufort Sea. They gathered 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, to assemble the right combination of data for understanding atmosphere-ice interactions. As part of the project, the submarine USS Gurnard collected 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 and Canada with participants from other nations as well.

These products include AIDJEX data or are  related to AIDJEX:


  • Sea ice: motion, deformation, thickness, roughness, leads 
  • Snow: depth, water equivalent
  • Meteorology: air temperature, clouds, humidity, precipitation, atmospheric radiation
  • Sea level pressure

Geographic coverage


Related collections

EWG Atlases, including meteorological observations acquired during AIDJEX.

Related resources

AIDJEX Bulletins, 40 in all, issued by the Polar Science Center at the University of Washington, from 1970 through 1978

AIDJEX revisited: A look back at the U.S.-Canadian Arctic Ice Dynamics Joint Experiment 1970–78 by Norbert Untersteiner, September 2007 issue of Arctic

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.

Norbert Untersteiner Polar Oral History Interview, Knowledge Bank, Ohio State University, provides an abstract of an interview with Dr. Norbert Untersteiner, who was director of AIDJEX.

Beaufort Gyre Exploration Project includes a brief description of AIDJEX.

A Study of Mail from Ice Islands describes how mail was sent from drifting ice stations including AIDJEX.

Explore images from AIDJEX

The Arctic Ice Dynamics Joint Experiment (AIDJEX) project