- The prototype International Data Centre (IDC) in Arlington, Virginia has been acquiring data from seismic stations at locations designated in the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty for the International Monitoring System (IMS) since the start of 1995. A key characteristic of these stations is their background noise levels and their seasonal and diurnal variability. Since June 1997 an automated sample selection effort has collected over 700,000 individual noise sample spectra from 39 primary and 57 auxiliary stations. Monthly median and 5 and 95 percentile estimates have been calculated for each channel of every station. Compatibility of median spectra obtained for the same station and channel in the same month for two different years confirms the consistency of the noise-sampling algorithm used. A preliminary analysis of the results shows strong (more than a factor of two) seasonal variation at a quarter of all stations. Strong diurnal variations at half of the sites indicate that many of the selected sites are poorly located with respect to cultural noise sources. The results of this study are already being used to evaluate station quality, improve those processes that require background noise values, such as automatic association and requesting auxiliary station data, and to improve the estimation of station and network detection and location thresholds.