Projects in Development

As the NSIDC DAAC develops new projects, this Web page offers a place for our users to find these new projects before they are fully developed and available through our Web site in the traditional way.

Soil Moisture Active-Passive (SMAP)

The Soil Moisture Active-Passive (SMAP) mission will use a combined radiometer and high-resolution radar to measure surface soil moisture and freeze-thaw state, providing for scientific advances and societal benefits. Direct measurements of soil moisture and freeze/thaw state are needed to improve our understanding of regional water cycles, ecosystem productivity, and processes that link the water, energy, and carbon cycles. Soil moisture information at high resolution enables improvements in weather forecasts, flood and drought forecasts, and predictions of agricultural productivity and climate change.

SMAP's primary science objective is to create global, high-resolution mapping of soil moisture and its freeze/thaw state to:

  • link terrestrial water, energy and carbon cycle processes
  • estimate global water and energy fluxes at the land surface
  • quantify net carbon flux in boreal landscapes
  • extend weather and climate forecast skill
  • develop improved flood and drought prediction capability.

NSIDC will archive and distribute the passive microwave and higher level products. The Alaska Satellite Facility (ASF) and NSIDC will build a cost effective synergistic data access system for SMAP data from both archives, ancillary, and other supporting data sets.


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 the ICESat-2 products.

See the NASA ICESat-2 Website for more information.