Remote sensing of sea ice is a difficult task due to the discontinuous, complex surface (ice, water, snow) and the frequent presence of clouds. Only through combinations of data from a variety of sensor types can a thorough and complete characterization of sea ice be obtained.

The sensors on the NASA Earth Observing System (EOS) Aqua,Terra, and ICESat satellites represent a substantial step forward in the ability to observe sea ice.The sensors are a significant advancement over their predecessors in terms of spatial and radiometric resolution. The increased variety of geophysical data products from the sensors provides a wealth of new information about sea ice. Combinations of products from the different sensors have the potential to provide additional insights.