Sea Ice Concentration data from NASA Goddard and NSIDC using AMSR-E and NASA TEAM2 (NT2) algorithm

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Sea Ice Concentration data from NASA Goddard and NSIDC using AMSR-E and NASA TEAM2 (NT2) algorithm
Main content

The AMSR-E/NASA Team 2 (NT2) data set of Arctic and Antarctic sea ice concentration is available at daily timesteps and 12.5 km (optionally 25km) spatial resolution for 2002-2011. NT2, an extension of the original NASA Team algorithm, uses AMSR-E 89GHz channels to help resolve ambiguity between low ice concentrations and areas with strong surface effects (due to snow layering and glazing). 89GHz channels introduce more weather contamination. NT2 implements a radiative transfer model to filter for weather that simulates brightness temperatures under several idealized polar atmospheres. The algorithm searches for the best fit between the observed and modeled brightness temperature ratios to pick the final concentration. Unlike ASI, NT2 uses the lower frequency channels as well as the high frequency channels. Sea ice from NT2 is more similar to Bootstrap sea ice than was the original NASA Team sea ice. Some differences are still apparent; NT2 usually shows slightly higher concentrations in the Antarctic and more sensitivity to thin ice. The NSIDC data set also includes estimates of snow depth on sea ice and of bootstrap sea ice retrievals.

Key Strengths

Key Strengths

Addresses weaknesses of the original NASA Team algorithm, especially with regards to sensitivity to emissivity variations. This leads to significant improvement in the Antarctic.

Twice the spatial resolution of most other passive microwave sea ice data sets; useful for comparing with high-resolution models

Provides independent verification of sea ice climatologies and trends in the recent decade compared to SSM/I and SSMI/S data

Key Limitations

Key Limitations

Not currently being updated; AMSR-E failed in Oct, 2011

Potential sensitivity of NT2 to weather effects as it uses the 89GHz channel

Please cite data sources, following the data providers' instructions
Suggested Data Citation
  1. NSIDC: "Cavalieri, Donald, Thorsten Markus, and Josefino Comiso. 2004, updated daily. AMSR-E/Aqua Daily L3 12.5 km Brightness Temperature, Sea Ice Conentration, & Snow Depth Polar Grids V002, [list the dates of the data used]. Boulder, Colorado USA: National Snow and Ice Data Center. Digital media."

Dataset DOIs
Hosted Climate Index Files
Usage Restrictions

Cite this page

Acknowledgement of any material taken from or knowledge gained from this page is appreciated:

National Center for Atmospheric Research Staff (Eds). Last modified "The Climate Data Guide: Sea Ice Concentration data from NASA Goddard and NSIDC using AMSR-E and NASA TEAM2 (NT2) algorithm.” Retrieved from on 2024-07-21.

Citation of datasets is separate and should be done according to the data providers' instructions. If known to us, data citation instructions are given in the Data Access section, above.

Acknowledgement of the Climate Data Guide project is also appreciated:

Schneider, D. P., C. Deser, J. Fasullo, and K. E. Trenberth, 2013: Climate Data Guide Spurs Discovery and Understanding. Eos Trans. AGU, 94, 121–122,

Key Figures

Arctic sea ice: AMSR-E / NT2

Arctic Sea Ice for March 2003-2007 based on AMSR-E sensors and the NT2 algorithm (Figure by D. Schneider, NCAR. Data courtesy T. Markus, NASA).

Other Information

Earth system components and main variables
Dataset collections

Years of record
Data time period extended
No, data set not being extended
Input Data

AMSR-E brightness temperatures

Vertical Levels:
Missing Data Flag
Missing data present
Ocean or Land
Ocean Only
Spatial Resolution

12.5x12.5 Km or 25x25km

Model Resolution (reanalysis)
Data Assimilation Method
Model Vintage (reanalysis)

Key Publications
Not available...