Background Image

Tools and Data

In this Section


Microsoft Excel: A spreadsheet application is needed to analyze the data. Microsoft Excel is used in this chapter and is available as part of Microsoft Office.

Tool Builder

Microsoft Corporation -

Tool Cost

Excel is part of the suite of Microsoft Office software. Students and educators may be able to purchase this software at a reduced cost. The Student and Home Edition is sufficient for use in this module.

Data Set 1

The surface air temperature data included in the Excel spreadsheet was acquired from the University of Delaware, Department of Geography in the Climate Workshop folder or ( and is available in its original format from 1930 to 2004 by year.  Scientists at this site collected weather station data from several resources and interpolated these data to provide estimates of monthly average temperatures throughout the Arctic region.  For an explanation of the science behind these data, see

Data Set 2

Data for the air temperature over the ocean that are included in the Excel spreadsheet were acquired from My NASA Data ( in a ASCII file format. This data access web site presents weekly average sea temperatures for latitudes from 80° north to 80° south.  The data were collected from a NOAA satellite with the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHHR), which is the primary sensor on NOAA polar orbiting satellites. It detects cloud cover and surface temperatures of cloud layers, land and water.

Data Set 3

Ice area data included in the Excel spreadsheet was downloaded from National Snow and Ice Data Center at this link: and is also available in the Climate Workshop folder. This data set was originally generated from brightness temperature data obtained with a NASA satellite. The satellite carried an instrument – the Nimbus-7 Scanning Multichannel Microwave Radiometer (SMMR) that uses a passive microwave approach to provide a consistent time series of sea ice concentrations (the fraction, or percentage, of ocean area covered by sea ice). For further details, see .