Snow and Ice - Real-time

Snow and Ice - Real-time thumbnail


The cryosphere (areas covered by ice, snow, glaciers, or permafrost) is an extremely dynamic part of the global system. Changes in the seasons and climate bring great changes to the extent of Earth's cryosphere. Using satellite data allows scientists to keep a continual eye on these areas.

Infrared and microwave data from multiple satellites including the NOAA's GOES Imager and POES AVHRR, US Air Force DMSP/SSMI, and EUMETSAT MSG/SEVIRI sensors is combined to create these daily maps of global snow and ice cover of the planet. Using multiple datasets provides relatively high spatial resolution (about 4 km/pixel) daily maps in all weather conditions. Light blue areas indicate sea ice extent, whereas white colors indicate all other areas of the cryosphere. This SOS dataset is updated on a daily basis in near real-time.

Color Bar for snow and ice

Notable Features

  • The seasonal variations are very clear
  • During the winter months, the effects of passing snow storms is visible
  • In the Northern Hemisphere, the minimum ice concentration occurs in September and the maximum is in March