Data set metadata
The Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) instrument on the Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) provides global measurements of polar ice sheet elevation to discern changes in ice volume (mass balance) over time. Secondary objectives of GLAS are to measure sea ice roughness and thickness, cloud and atmospheric properties, land topography, vegetation canopy heights, ocean surface topography, and surface reflectivity.
GLAS has a 1064 nm laser channel for surface altimetry and dense cloud heights, and a 532 nm lidar channel for the vertical distribution of clouds and aerosols.
Level-1B global backscatter data (GLA07) are provided at full instrument resolution. The product includes full 532 nm (41.1 to -1.0 km) and 1064 nm (20 to -1 km) calibrated attenuated backscatter profiles at 5 times per second, and from 10 to -1 km, at 40 times per second for both channels. Also included are calibration coefficient values and molecular backscatter profiles at once per second. Data granules contain approximately 190 minutes (2 orbits) of data.
Each data granule has an associated browse product that users can quickly peruse to determine the general quality of the data in the granule. Browse products consist of image plots of key parameters and statistics. Data are in scaled integer binary format, big-endian (Unix) byte order, and are available via FTP.
For information about Version 33, see the NSIDC ICESat Description of Data Releases page.
N: 86, S: -86, E: 180, W: -180