the AM-1 platform. Consequently, the DAAC will face its most difficult data management challenges in a few years.

The NSIDC DAAC provides an outstanding example of how good data management practices and a close relationship with researchers can help lead to scientific advances. Although no major problems were found during its site visit, the panel recommends that the NSIDC DAAC sponsor joint activities with the ASF DAAC on scientific issues pertaining to polar regions, which have not received adequate attention from ESDIS so far. The panel also recommends that the DAAC develop and implement a transition plan describing the critical path of DAAC activities prior to site acceptance of the ECS.


The National Snow and Ice Data Center DAAC was created by NASA in 1991 (Box 8.1). Its roots go back to 1957, when the World Data Center for Glaciology was established at the American Geographical Society in New York. The WDC relocated to the University of Colorado in 1976 with NOAA sponsorship, and a new data center, the NSIDC, was created in 1982. The NSIDC is by far the larger of the two organizations, and is funded by a variety of agencies, notably NOAA, NASA, and the NSF. The DAAC is larger still, and accounts for about 75% of the total operation. All three components are located within the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado.

All three components serve the cryospheric and polar science communities (Box 8.1). Although the operations and staff of the three centers are commingled, the holdings of the DAAC are distinct from those of the WDC and NSIDC. Current holdings of the DAAC include passive microwave and AVHRR products, altimetry and elevation data, and remotely sensed and in situ polar atmospheric science data.

The aggregate volume of these data sets, together with the holdings of the NSIDC and the WDC, is about 1 TB. In the EOS AM-1 era, the NSIDC DAAC will receive approximately 15–18 GB of MODIS data per day from the GSFC DAAC and will use them to produce MODIS snow and ice products. The DAAC will not be a direct recipient of high-volume Level 1 data streams until the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR) and the Geoscience Laser Altimeter instruments are launched in a few years (see Table 1.1 for a description of data processing levels).

To prepare for the upcoming missions, the DAAC is developing new products, testing MODIS algorithms, and working on the ECS release B testbed. All of its baseline hardware is in place, and the DAAC is reconfiguring hardware and installing the ECS commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) software to prepare for Version 2. In terms of readiness for the EOS data streams, the greatest challenges that the DAAC faces are staffing up in time and planning the near-term transition to

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