We have recently completed an analysis that examines in detail the spatial and temporal variations in global sea-ice coverage from 26 October 1978, through 20 August 1987. The sea-icemeasurements we analyzed are derived from data collected by a multispectral, dual-polarized, constant incidence-angle microwave imager, the Scanning Multichannel Microwave Radiometer (SMMR) on board the NASA Nimbus 7 satellite. The characteristics of the SMMR have permitted a more accurate calculation of total sea-ice concentrations (fraction of ocean area covered by sea ice) than earlier single-channel instruments and, for the first time, a determination of both multiyear sea-ice concentrations and physical temperatures of the sea-ice pack. An estimate of the SMMR wintertime total ice concentration accuracy of ± 7% in both hemispheres has been obtained. As this is an improvement over the estimated accuracies of previous microwave sensors, we are able to present improved calculations of the sea-ice extents (areas enclosed by the 15% ice concentration boundaries), sea-ice concentrations, and open-water areas within the ice margins. This analysis will be published in a book, Arctic and Antarctic sea ice, 1978–1987: satellite passive microwave observations and analysis, due for publication in1992. Some highlights from the analysis are presented in this paper.