Data Set ID:

Nimbus-7 SMMR Derived Monthly Global Snow Cover and Snow Depth, Version 1

The data set consists of monthly global snow cover and snow depth derived from Nimbus-7 SMMR data for 1978 through 1987. The SMMR data are interpolated for spatial and temporal gaps, and averaged for display in polar stereographic projection. Maps are based on six-day average brightness temperature data from the middle week of each month. Data are placed into 1/2 degree latitude by 1/2 degree longitude grid cells uniformly subdividing a polar stereographic map according to the geographic coordinates of the center of the radiometers' fields of view. Overlapping data from separate orbits in the same six-day period are averaged to give a single brightness temperature assumed to be at the cell's center. Oceans and bays are masked so that only microwave data for land areas are displayed.

Comparisons of SMMR snow cover maps with previous maps produced by NOAA/NESDIS and US Air Force Global Weather Center indicate that the total snow covered area derived from SMMR is usually about ten percent less than that measured by the earlier products, because passive microwave sensors often can't detect shallow dry snow less than about 5 cm deep. Snow depths are comparable, showing SMMR results to be especially good for uniform snow covered areas such as the Canadian high plains and Russian steppes. Heavily forested and mountainous areas tend to mask the microwave snow signatures, and SMMR snow depth
derivations are less reliable in those areas.

These data were retired from public use on 27 August 2019. Data files are no longer accessible, although the data set documentation will remain available for future reference. This data set was retired because other SMMR-derived snow data with longer temporal records are available at NSIDC DAAC, including the Global Monthly EASE-Grid Snow Water Equivalent Climatology, Version 1 data set ( Another alternative data set to consider is the Canadian Meteorological Centre (CMC) Daily Snow Depth Analysis Data, Version 1 (

Version Summary:

Initial Release

Data Format(s):
  • Binary
  • IMG
Spatial Coverage:
N: 85, 
N: , 
S: , 
S: -85, 
E: 180, 
E: 180, 
W: -180
W: -180
Spatial Resolution:Not SpecifiedSensor(s):SMMR
Temporal Coverage:
  • 1 November 1978 to 31 August 1987
Temporal ResolutionNot specifiedMetadata XML:View Metadata Record
Data Contributor(s):Alfred Chang

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.

Chang, A. T. 2003. Nimbus-7 SMMR Derived Monthly Global Snow Cover and Snow Depth, Version 1. [Indicate subset used]. Boulder, Colorado USA. NASA National Snow and Ice Data Center Distributed Active Archive Center. doi: [Date Accessed].

It appears your Web browser is not configured to display PDF files. Download adobe Acrobat or click here to download the PDF file.

No technical references available for this data set.

How To

V0 Programmatic Data Access Guide
Data from the NASA National Snow and Ice Data Center Distributed Active Archive Center (NSIDC DAAC) can be accessed directly from our HTTPS file system. We provide basic command line Wget and curl instructions for HTTPS file system downloads below. For questions about programmatic access to NSIDC... read more