In the latter years of the Medea program, procedures were established whereby Literal Imagery Derived Products (LIDPs) could be produced from the classified fiducials data at a resolution deemed suitable for declassification. Several hundred unclassified LIDPs with a nominal resolution of 1 meter have been produced from the images collected at the 6 Arctic sites. These images are unclassified but are not yet released to the public. These images, when released, could lend themselves to a wide range of studies leading to significant improvements in the way in which sea ice physical processes are represented in climate models, as well as understanding changes in ice habitat (Box S-1). Moreover, these data, which are derived from the unique capabilities provided by the classified imagery systems, provide a unique opportunity for scientists to leverage existing and publicly available data provided by unclassified civil and commercial satellite systems to maximum scientific benefit.
Recommendation: The Intelligence Community should release and disseminate all Arctic sea ice LIDPs that have been produced to date as soon as possible.
The Committee sees great value in releasing these sea ice images to the general public and scientific community. They provide information at scales, locations, and time periods that are extraordinarily important in advancing our knowledge of critical processes during this era of rapid loss and transformation of Arctic sea ice. There are no other data available that show the melting and freezing processes that we were able to observe in these images; their release will have a major impact on understanding effects of climate change on sea ice and ice habitat.
All of the Arctic sea ice LIDPs contain information that will be extremely valuable to scientific research. Three categories of LIDPs are of particularly high priority for dissemination and publicity efforts: (1) all six sites during 2007-2008, (2) all from the Barrow site, and (3) all from the Beaufort Sea site (Box S-2).
Recommendation: To maximize the utility of the images, the committee recommends that the metadata include: thumbnail (smaller size) copies of the images, exact information on the location of the images, calibration information, the time of acquisition, and information on the pointing angle.
The committee understands that the trustees of the fiducials archive, the U.S. Geological Survey’s Civil Applications Program, are preparing a website to disseminate the derived Arctic sea-ice images. Inclusion of these metadata in the online archive would greatly facilitate the research of scientists who obtain and use the images.