Overview

NSIDC has begun distributing cryospheric data from the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite, or VIIRS. The VIIRS snow cover and sea ice algorithms are specifically designed to be compatible with MODIS Terra and Aqua Version 6 snow cover and sea ice data sets, to ensure continuity between the products and facilitate future climate-data records from the three sensors.

The VIIRS instrument, a scanning radiometer, acquires visible and infrared imagery and radiometric measurements of the land, atmosphere, cryosphere, and oceans. VIIRS data allow researchers to observe and study key variables related to weather and climate change, including cloud and aerosol properties, ocean color, sea and land surface temperature, and ice motion and temperature.

VIIRS currently flies on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) spacecraft, a joint mission implemented by NASA and NOAA. This mission and spacecraft will extend and improve the Earth System Data Records established by NASA's fleet of Earth Observing System satellites.