Satellite Observations of Arctic Change

NSIDC now offers a new Web site, Satellite Observations of Arctic Change (SOAC) with interactive maps of the Arctic based on NASA satellite and related data. The site allows users to explore how conditions in the Arctic have changed over time. SOAC is available at

This sample image

This sample image from Satellite Observations of Arctic Change shows near-surface air temperature anomalies for October 2012, along with a bar chart of anomalies over time.

Presently, SOAC offers seven data sets:

  • Near-surface air temperature anomalies, from MERRA, 1979 – 2012
  • Total column water vapor anomalies, from MERRA, 1979 – 2012
  • Monthly mean sea ice concentration anomalies, from the NSIDC Sea Ice Index, 1979 – 2012
  • Snow cover duration anomalies, from Rutgers Snow Cover Lab, 1966 – 2012
  • Monthly mean NDVI anomalies, from GIMMS, 1982 – 2010
  • Soil non-frozen period anomalies, from NASA MEaSUREs, 1981 – 2010
  • Annual minimum exposed snow and ice, from MODICE, 2000 – 2013

Users may animate a time series, zoom in or out, and view a bar graph of anomalies over time. Links to the source data and documentation are also included. Additional pages provide brief scientific discussion, and overviews of the scientific importance of these data.

More data types and extended temporal coverage may be added in the future, if interest warrants and funding continues. SOAC was developed with support from NASA Earth Science (

NSIDC User Services welcomes your feedback on SOAC. Please contact us at