Making Earth System Data Records for Use in Research Environments


The NSIDC DAAC Making Earth System Data Records for Use in Research Environments (MEaSUREs) data collection includes data products derived from satellite data and created by researchers for researchers. These data products encompass snow, sea ice, glaciers, ice sheets, ice shelves, and freeze/thaw conditions, snow, and brightness temperatures. Spatial coverage ranges from global to continental, and temporal coverage ranges from the 1960s through the present.

NSIDC DAAC MEaSUREs products use well-proven, extensively documented, peer-reviewed algorithms and numerical tools that have been refined over years or decades. The products facilitate understanding of Earth system processes, assess variability and long-term trends, and provide input and validation of modeling efforts.

Assembled by NASA-funded teams, MEaSUREs products adhere to the agency's strict criteria for Earth System Data Records, ensuring that they consist of unified, coherent sets of observations to address Earth science questions. The products are designed to support NASA's Earth science goals, and incorporate data from at least one satellite data set.

MEaSUREs data products relate to varied topics: climate variability and change, carbon cycle and ecosystems, water and energy cycle, atmospheric composition, and Earth surface and interior. Project teams are responsible for making their data sets openly available during the project lifetimes. Data are subsequently archived at NASA Distributed Active Archive Centers (DAACs) according to research disciplines. MEaSUREs projects are supported by five-year funding cycles; some projects get renewed in every funding cycle, and some conclude after one or two cycles. To  learn more about all MEaSUREs projects including what cycle they are in and what other DAACs archive their data, visit the NASA EarthData MEaSUREs page.

Featured MEaSUREs Projects

The NSIDC DAAC Data from the following projects are currently archived in the NSIDC DAAC MEaSUREs data collection. 

Ice Velocity and Ice Sheet Mapping 

Antarctic Ice Sheet Velocity and Mapping

The MEaSUREs: Antarctic Ice Sheet Velocity and Ice Sheet Mapping project was designed to collect multiyear records of Antarctic ice velocity and bedrock topography. These data products help document changes in:

  • Ice sheet dynamics and boundaries
  • Rates of ice mass flow to the ocean and contribution to sea level rise
  • Sensitivity of ice dynamics to climate forcing on decadal time scales

Products use state-of-the-art techniques in mapping ice sheet velocity from space. The results are independent of cloud cover and solar illumination, and offer a uniform, high-resolution sampling of the entire Antarctic continent. Temporal coverage ranges from the early 1990s to the present.

Products are compiled from myriad satellites and sensors:

Greenland Ice sheet Mapping Project (GrIMP)

The MEaSUREs: Greenland Ice sheet Mapping Project (GrIMP) was organized to provide benchmark data sets for observing ice sheet stability and change on Greenland. GrIMP temporal coverage ranges from the year 1985 to present.

GrIMP products are compiled from multiple satellites and sensors:


The Continuity and Enhancement of the Freeze/Thaw Earth System Data Record quantifies daily freeze/thaw surface landscape states. The project provides a decades-long, continuous observational record of landscapes across the globe where seasonal frozen temperatures significantly affect surface water mobility and ecosystem processes.

Freeze/Thaw data products incorporate observations from the following satellites and sensors:

  • Nimbus-7 Scanning Multichannel Microwave Radiometer (SMMR)
  • Defense Meteorological Satellite Program’s Special Sensor Microwave Imager (SSM/I)
  • Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer for EOS (AMSR-E) and Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer 2 (AMSR2)

Brightness Temperature

The MEaSUREs project known as An Improved, Enhanced-Resolution, Gridded Passive Microwave ESDR for Monitoring Cryospheric and Hydrologic Time Series reprocessed Level 2 global passive microwave data sets to produce enhanced-resolution, gridded passive microwave data products for hydrologic and cryospheric monitoring. The reprocessed data products better calibrate between different sensors, using consistent processing methods over time. The project also updated the data grids to work more smoothly in newer visualization software. Temporal coverage of the reprocessed data spans October 1978 through 2019.


The MEaSUREs project named Development of Northern Hemisphere Snow and Ice Climate Data Records blended snow data to produce enhanced records of Northern Hemisphere snow, in multiple data formats, to meet the needs of researchers and decision makers. Data products resulting from this project report the location of snow cover, the status of melt onset, and how well snow cover maps derived from different sources agree with each other. Temporal coverage of blended snow data products range from 1979 through 2012.


  • Sea ice: extent, age
  • Greenland: ice edges, surface morphology, snow grain size, ice velocity, land ice / ocean classification, glacier / ice sheet elevation, radar backscatter, sigma naught, glacier extents, snow melt
  • Antarctica: ice velocity, grounding lines, snow grain size, surface morphology, basin designations, ice fronts, ice shelves
  • Northern Hemisphere: ice extent, snow cover, snow melt
  • Global: freeze/thaw, calibrated brightness temperatures

In addition to data products focused on Antarctica and Greenland, the NSIDC DAAC MEaSUREs collection includes several data sets that have global coverage and broader coverage of the Northern Hemisphere.

Geographic coverage

Global and continental

Explore images from MEaSUREs