Data Set ID: 

NOAA/NSIDC Climate Data Record of Passive Microwave Sea Ice Concentration, Version 2

This data set has been replaced with a newer version. Note: If necessary, Version 2 can be accessed by contacting NSIDC Users Services at However, we highly suggest using the latest version of this data set.

This data set provides a Climate Data Record (CDR) of sea ice concentration from passive microwave data. It provides a consistent, daily and monthly time series of sea ice concentrations from 09 July 1987 through the most recent processing for both the north and south polar regions. In addition, three other sea ice concentration products are included with the CDR that extend the sea ice measurements back to 26 October 1978. However, these three products are not included in the official CDR because processing the older data in a way that follows the standards of a CDR is not currently possible. All data are on a 25 km x 25 km grid.

There is a more recent version of these data.

Version Summary: 
  • Two new variables added to the netCDF files:
    • melt_onset_day_seaice_conc_cdr
    • melt_onset_day_seaice_conc_monthly_cdr
  • Calculation of melt_start_detected flag in the qa_of_seaice_conc_cdr variable was updated

See the documentation for full details on these variables.

  • Sea Ice > Sea Ice Concentration > SEA ICE CONCENTRATION
Data Format(s):
  • NetCDF
Spatial Coverage:
N: -39.36, 
N: 89.84, 
S: -89.84, 
S: 31.1, 
E: 180, 
E: 180, 
W: -180
W: -180
Platform(s):DMSP 5D-2/F11, DMSP 5D-2/F13, DMSP 5D-2/F8, DMSP 5D-3/F17, Nimbus-7
Spatial Resolution:
  • 25 km x 25 km
Sensor(s):SMMR, SSM/I, SSMIS
Temporal Coverage:
  • 26 October 1978 to 31 December 2015
Temporal Resolution1 dayMetadata XML:View Metadata Record
Data Contributor(s):Walter Meier, F. Fetterer, Ruth Duerr, Julienne Stroeve, Matthew Savoie, Sean Mallory

Geographic Coverage

No access options.

As a condition of using these data, you must cite the use of this data set using the following citation. For more information, see our Use and Copyright Web page.

Meier, W. N., F. Fetterer, M. Savoie, S. Mallory, R. Duerr, and J. Stroeve. 2013. NOAA/NSIDC Climate Data Record of Passive Microwave Sea Ice Concentration, Version 2. [Indicate subset used]. Boulder, Colorado USA. NSIDC: National Snow and Ice Data Center. doi: [Date Accessed].

Literature Citation

As a condition of using these data, we request that you acknowledge the author(s) of this data set by referencing the following peer-reviewed publication.

  • Peng, G., W. N. Meier, D. J. Scott, and M. Savoie. 2013. A long-term and reproducible passive microwave sea ice concentration data record for climate studies and monitoring, Earth Syst. Sci. Data. 5. 311-318.

A user guide is not available for this data set.
No technical references available for this data set.


Descriptions of and Differences between the NASA Team and Bootstrap Algorithms
NSIDC currently archives passive microwave sea ice concentration products based on two algorithms: the NASA Team algorithm and the Bootstrap algorithm. Both algorithms were developed by researchers at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in the 1980s. Provided below are two short summaries of the... read more

How To

How to access NOAA@NSIDC data sets in PolarWatch
Currently three NOAA@NSIDC data sets are available in NOAA's PolarWatch Data Catalog. Please note that in the catalog the Climate Data Record (CDR) data sets are split up into Antarctic and Arctic data sets: NOAA/NSIDC Climate Data... read more
How to download CDR data from PolarWatch and map it using R
This external R tutorial guides you through an R script for the NOAA/NSIDC Climate Data Record of Passive Microwave Sea Ice Concentration data in PolarWatch: read more