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Press Room

30 May 2008

Press Release: NASA DAAC Contract Awarded to NSIDC

This is a press release from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), which is part of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Media Relations Contacts:
Jane Beitler, NSIDC: or +1 303 492-1497
Adriana Bailey, CIRES:, or +1 303-492-6289
Jim Scott, University of Colorado at Boulder: +1 303-492-3114

NASA has selected the University of Colorado at Boulder for its Snow and Ice Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC). Under the five-year contract, valued at more than $30 million, the DAAC will provide data and services related to sea ice, ice shelves, ice sheets, snow cover, and more.

The DAAC, operated at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) since 1993, is the largest of several data management and research activities at NSIDC. NSIDC is part of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at CU. NSIDC supports research into the Earth’s frozen realms, offering more than 500 data products, primarily from Earth observation satellites. Researchers, commercial users, educators, and others worldwide use NSIDC data and information.

The NSIDC DAAC serves NASA’s mission to understand the Earth and its response to natural and human-induced change, as part of the NASA Earth Observing System Data and Information System. The DAAC processes, archives, documents, and distributes data from past and current Earth Observing System satellites, and from field measurement programs. To date, the NSIDC DAAC has stewarded and distributed more than 125 terabytes of data to researchers and other users. By comparison, NSIDC DAAC holdings are six times the volume of the Library of Congress digital collections.

The data distributed by the NSIDC DAAC provide a unique view of snow and ice processes and changes from space. Notably, researchers use NSIDC DAAC data to study ongoing decline, such as the record-low extent and thinning of Arctic sea ice, as well as sudden events like ice shelf break-ups. When Antarctica’s Wilkins Ice Shelf began to rapidly disintegrate in 2008, and when the Larsen B shelf collapsed in 2002, NSIDC scientists first spotted the events with DAAC satellite data. Scientists also use DAAC data to study global and regional snow cover.

NSIDC and the DAAC also serve the public. NSIDC is a major source of data and information for journalists and reporters, especially surrounding important scientific research on snow and ice. As Arctic sea ice approached its all-time record low extent in 2007, NSIDC posted satellite imagery and ongoing scientific analysis of sea ice conditions for science journalists and the wider public. NSIDC staff responded to a deluge of requests from reporters worldwide for images, interviews, and information, helping the public obtain accurate data and scientific information regarding this key indicator of global climate change.

More information

For more information about NSIDC, visit our Web site at

For more information about the NSIDC DAAC, visit the DAAC area of the NSIDC Web at

To read about some of the ways that researchers use data from all of the NASA Earth Observing System data centers, including the NSIDC DAAC, visit the NASA Earth System Science Data and Services Web site at

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