ISCCP was established in 1982 as part of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) to collect and analyze satellite radiance measurements to infer the global distribution of clouds, their properties, and their diurnal, seasonal, and interannual variations. Data collection began on 1 July 1983 and is currently planned to continue through 30 June 2010. The resulting datasets and analysis products are being used to improve understanding and modeling of the role of clouds in climate, with the primary focus being the elucidation of the effects of clouds on the radiation balance. These data can also used to support many other cloud studies, including understanding of the hydrological cycle.
Data are collected from the suite of weather satellites operated by several nations and processed by several groups in government agencies, laboratories, and universities. For each operational satellite, a Satellite Processing Center (SPC) collects the raw satellite data and sends it to the Global Processing Center (GPC). The Correlative Data Center (CDC) coordinates the delivery of other satellite and conventional weather data to the GPC. The Satellite Calibration Center (SCC) normalizes the calibration of the geostationary satellites with respect to a polar orbiter satellite standard. All ISCCP data products are archived at the ISCCP Central Archive (ICA) and at NASA Langley Research Center (LARC).
A summary of the Accomplishments of the ISCCP can be found here.