NASA National Snow and Ice Data Center Distributed Active Archive Center (NSIDC DAAC)

Enabling researchers and data users to better understand how changes in the cryosphere impact our planet.


The NASA National Snow and Ice Data Center Distributed Active Archive Center (NSIDC DAAC) enables researchers and data users across the globe to better understand how changes in the cryosphere impact our planet. Operated by NSIDC at CU Boulder since 1993, and managed by NASA, the NSIDC DAAC provides:

  • Hundreds of free and open NASA Earth science data products
  • Detailed data documentation
  • Data tools, resources, and tutorials
  • Robust data user support services

The NSIDC DAAC distributes cryosphere and related geophysical data from NASA Earth-observing satellite missions, airborne campaigns, and field observations. These data can be used to study topics relating to snow cover, sea ice, ice sheets, ice shelves, glaciers, frozen ground, soil moisture, climate interactions, and more.

Accessing the data is free though users are required to have a NASA Earthdata login. This no-charge, single-sign-on service enables NASA to better understand user needs, and keep users apprised of relevant news and updates. NASA also requires that data users properly cite data products when publishing their results.

Custodians of NASA Earth science data

The NSIDC DAAC is one of 12 Distributed Active Archive Centers (DAACs) in NASA's Earth Science Data and Information System Project (ESDIS). The primary goal of ESDIS is to maximize the scientific return from NASA's missions and experiments for research and applied scientists, decision makers, and society at large. 

The DAACs are part of the ESDIS Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS), a distributed system of facilities located at institutions like NSIDC across the US. Each DAAC is designed to process, archive, document, and distribute NASA Earth science data products for the study of one or more areas of Earth science. 

Collectively, the DAACs provide reliable, robust services to users whose needs may cross the traditional boundaries of a science discipline, while continuing to support the particular needs of users within the discipline communities.


DAACPrimary Data Offerings
Alaska Satellite Facility (ASF) DAACSynthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Products, Sea Ice, Polar Processes, Geophysics
Atmospheric Science Data Center (ASDC)Radiation Budget, Clouds, Aerosols, Tropospheric Chemistry
Crustal Dynamics Data Information System (CDDIS)Space Geodesy, Solid Earth
Global Hydrology Resource Center (GHRC) DAACHazardous Weather, Lightning, Tropical Cyclones and Storm-induced Hazards
Goddard Earth Sciences Data and Information Services Center (GES DISC)Global Precipitation, Solar Irradiance, Atmospheric Composition and Dynamics, Global Modeling
Land Processes DAAC (LP DAAC)Land Cover, Surface Reflectance, Radiance, Temperature, Topography, Vegetation Indices
Level 1 and Atmosphere Archive and Distribution System (LAADS) DAACMODIS Level-1 and Atmosphere Data Products
National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) DAACFrozen Ground, Glaciers, Ice Sheets, Sea Ice, Snow, Soil Moisture
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) DAACBiogeochemical Dynamics, Ecological Data, Environmental Processes
Ocean Biology DAAC (OB.DAAC)Ocean Biology, Sea Surface Temperature
Physical Oceanography DAAC (PO.DAAC)Gravity, Sea Surface Temperature, Ocean Winds, Topography, Circulation and Currents
Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC)Human Interactions, Land Use, Environmental Sustainability, Geospatial Data

Open access data to study the cryosphere 

The NSIDC DAAC was formally created in 1993 and has operated out of NSIDC at CU Boulder ever since. In addition to archiving and distributing data, the NSIDC DAAC focuses on broadening the reach and relevance of NASA data by making data products more accessible to users, helping users work with the data, and expanding the utility of the data to more users. 

Some examples of how the NSIDC DAAC does this include:

  • Broadening access to data products by making them discoverable through the NASA Earthdata portal and through the NSIDC website data catalog which includes hundreds of additional cryosphere and Earth science-related data products managed by NSIDC.
  • Enabling a wider range of users to interact with data products by collaborating with researchers and software developers to create a range of data access services and tools.
  • Increasing the utility of data products by coordinating with data producers to document critical information about how the data are collected and processed, gaps in data, quality assurance measures, and more.
  • Providing daily support to data users by answering questions and troubleshooting issues, as well as creating opportunities for users to participate in online and in-person workshops using NSIDC DAAC data.
  • Engaging in periodic assessments of users’ needs and regular meetings with the NSIDC DAAC User Working Group to inform initiatives and projects. 

The NSIDC DAAC is also a CoreTrustSeal-certified Regular Member of the World Data System (WDS), signifying that we provide reliable, high quality data services. CoreTrustSeal is an international, community based, non-governmental, and non-profit organization promoting sustainable and trustworthy data infrastructures. 

The NSIDC DAAC User Working Group (UWG)

The NSIDC DAAC has a User Working Group (UWG) of scientists from the fields of research that the DAAC serves. The working group also includes the NASA Cryospheric Science Program Manager.

The UWG operates under the following terms of reference.

  • Reviewing the progress and performance of the DAAC relative to the NSIDC DAAC’s missions;
  • Representing the user community in the development and operation of the NSIDC DAAC products and services;
  • Suggesting specific data products and services to NASA and the NSIDC DAAC;
  • Providing input to NASA and NSIDC on the NSIDC DAAC objectives, priorities, target user communities, implementation approaches, and other issues.

Feedback may be sent to the UWG Chair, Dr. Lawrence Mudryk (, or DAAC Manager, Amanda Leon ( at the NSIDC DAAC.

Current NSIDC DAAC UWG Membership

Andy AschwandenUniversity of Alaska, Geophysical Institute
Andrew BarrettNSIDC, University of Colorado Boulder
Leah BertrandUniversity of Colorado Boulder, Dept. of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
Gina HendersonUnited States Naval Academy
Fadji MainaNASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Lawrence Mudryk (UWG Chair)Environment and Climate Change Canada
Alek PettyNASA Goddard and the Earth Science System Interdisciplinary Center at the University of Maryland, College Park
Kristin PoinarUniversity of Buffalo, Department of Geography
Mark RaleighOregon State University
David RounceCarnegie-Mellon University
Jessica ScheickUniversity of New Hampshire
Nicole-Jeanne SchlegelNASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Tyler SutterlyUniversity of Washington Polar Science Center
Melinda WebsterUniversity of Alaska Fairbanks, Geophysical Institute
Thorsten Markus (Ex-Officio Member)NASA Representative, Cryospheric Science Program Manager, NASA Headquarters
Sara Lubkin (Ex-Officio)NASA Representative, ESDIS DAAC Engineer, GSFC