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International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP)

ISCCP began in 1982 as a project to develop a climatology of cloud radiative properties. Since then it has provided global cloud information to thousands. The legacy dataset - ISCCP D series - production at NASA GISS ended in 2009. Since then, NCEI worked with the ISCCP Principal Investigator, William Rossow, to transition the ISCCP processing to NOAA. The new processing is now available as the ISCCP H series.

What Is New With ISCCP H?

There were many improvements made in the ISCCP H-series of products. These include:

  • Higher Resolution Input Satellite Data - ISCCP now uses input data from full-resolution AVHRR Global Area Coverage (GAC) and ~10 km geostationary imagery—an increase from ~30 km in the ISCCP D-series.
  • Higher Resolution Gridded Products  - The higher resolution inputs allow 1 degree gridded products.
  • Expanded Period of Record  - The H series expands the period of record to 1982–2015 and will continue to produce updates.
  • Temporally Stable Atmospheric Profiles - Neural network profiles from the HIRS provide stable retrievals during the period of record.
  • New Output Product - Radiances and cloud information are available at pixel-level - 10 km - globally every 3 hours.
  • Output Format is Network Common Data Form (netCDF).


NASA and NOAA - in partnership with many other agencies worldwide - have been operationally collecting and processing data for ISCCP since July 1983. The legacy D series is still documented at the NASA ISCCP site.