News & Stories

Across the globe, snow and ice play a vital role in regulating Earth’s climate and providing freshwater resources to people, plants, and animals.

As Earth’s frozen regions change rapidly, NSIDC is committed to growing its research and open access data to better understand these changes. Read about NSIDC research and its contribution to science and policy making. Check out spotlights on how to use NSIDC data, tools, and resources. Learn about how we steward data and collaborate with scientists and organizations across the world to understand how the frozen parts of Earth affect the rest of the planet and impact society.

News and stories

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Research huts in mountains
By Michon Scott The Contribution to High Asia Runoff (CHARIS) project began in 2012 and ended in 2019. The project aimed to distinguish between input from seasonal snow melt and glacier ice melt to High Asia rivers. NSIDC partnered with researchers
Lago Greve photograph taken from the International Space Station
The ICESat-2 mission provides data sets on land ice and sea ice, and those data sets have been applied to myriad studies of Earth’s frozen regions, but ICESat-2 data offerings do not end there. Researchers can also use ICESat-2 observations to study surface-height changes in land and vegetation, inland water bodies, ocean surfaces, and atmospheric features.
Overlooking a glacial river on Greenland Ice Sheet
In 2011, a group of scientists in southeastern Greenland discovered a massive perennial firn aquifer—a year-round, water-bearing layer within the firn. Since then, scientists have discovered more areas around the world bearing this ice feature, but questions remain to their development and impact.
This image of a wooden engraving depicts the USS Jeannette as it leaves San Francisco in 1879, en route to the North Pole. Credit: US Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph
In July 1879, the USS Jeannette left port in San Francisco en route to the North Pole. What lay at the top of the world was still shrouded in mystery. Was it a warm inland sea, a sheet of ice, or open ocean? The crew set out to find out. The majority of the crew of the USS Jeannette perished during the journey, but their memory lives on through the invaluable scientific information that they laboriously collected and returned to civilization. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NOAA@NSIDC) program still stores some of these data today that are related to sea ice thickness, making them available to the public more than a century after that ill-fated voyage.