Projects in Development

This page offers a place for our users to discover new projects before they are fully developed and become available through our Web site.


The ICESat-2 mission will use the Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS) to collect altimetry data of the Earth's surface to measure ice sheet elevation change and sea ice thickness, also generating an estimate of global vegetation biomass.

NASA's ICESat mission (2003 - 2009) pioneered the use of laser altimeters in space to study the elevation of the Earth's surface and its changes.  ICESat-2 will continue the important observations of ice-sheet elevation change, sea-ice freeboard, and vegetation canopy height begun by ICESat, and will allow for continent-wide estimates in the change in volume of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets over a 15-year period, plus long-term trend analysis of sea-ice thickness.

NSIDC will archive and distribute ICESat-2 cryospheric and related data sets.

See our ICESat-2 Data | Overview page for more information.


In 2016, the NSIDC DAAC will begin distributing cryospheric data from the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS). This collection of snow cover and sea ice data sets will be very similar to our MODIS holdings.

The VIIRS instrument, a scanning radiometer, acquires visible and infrared imagery and radiometric measurements of the land, atmosphere, cryosphere, and oceans. 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.

Visit NSIDC's VIIRS Data | Overview page for more information.