To provide global to tactical scale ice and snow products, ice forecasting, and other environmental intelligence services for the United States government.


The U.S. National Ice Center (USNIC) is a fully integrated multi-agency organization composed of contributions from the U.S. Navy (USN), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG).

The USN forms the core of USNIC with the Naval Ice Center, an Echelon V command under Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command. The U.S. Coast Guard partners with USNIC through its Mobility and Ice Operations Division under the Office of Waterways and Ocean Policy.

NOAA contributions to USNIC are from the Ice Services Branch within the National Weather Service 's Ocean Prediction Center (OPC) , one of the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) .

USNIC organizational alignment chart
USNIC Organizational Alignment - click to enlarge.


The USNIC monitors the global sea ice environment from its offices at the NOAA Satellite Operations Facility (NSOF) in Suitland, MD. While the majority of USNIC team members duty station is at NSOF, the team is also able to fully function via remote means which has been demonstrated successfully and seamlessly since March 2020. USNIC personnel also provide in person sea ice analysis and forecast support via onboard U.S. vessel deployments to the polar regions.


The USN begins to provide global sea ice monitoring services for the Department of Defense.

The National Weather Bureau and U.S. Fleet Weather Central colocated in Suitland, MD

Weather Bureau begins providing ice advisories for Great Lakes and Alaska.

NOAA created; NOAA begins to generate ice analysis from satellite data.

Common requirements and benefits to cooperation lead to formation of Joint Ice Center (JIC) between USN and NOAA.

USN obligations under Annex V reorganized as Naval Polar Oceanography Center; NOAA and USN begin issuing joint products.

Joint Ice Working Group (JIWG) is formed between U.S. and Canadian Ice Service (CIS).

JIC begins collaboration with the Polar Science Center (PSC)

USCG joins JIC to become National Ice Center.

International Ice Charting Working Group (IICWG) forms based off on JIWG successes.

International Ice Patrol (IIP) joins JIWG, forming the North American Ice Service (NAIS).

Naval Ice Center realigns from Naval Oceanographic Office to Fleet Weather Center, Norfolk (FWC-N).

Retirement of Naval Ice Center logo; reaffirmation of consolidated USNIC branding.

NOAA contribution to USNIC realigned from NESDIS to NWS.


The USNIC is a diverse organization of over 50 USN, NOAA, and USCG federal employees, contractors, and active duty servicemembers. Today these personnel are working diligently to continue to be the U.S. government’s comprehensive source and recognized authority of global ice and snow products and services.

In 2018, USNIC disseminated 12,040 routine products for global sea ice edge and marginal ice zone, value added analysis and forecasts, annotated imagery and graphics, and text analysis and forecasts via message traffic, internet, and email. An additional 2,793 weekly products supported high-latitude operations and climatological research. A further 2,929 tailored special support products were generated for various customers across the U.S. government and U.S. supported research organizations.

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