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Data Set ID:

Digital SAR Mosaic and Elevation Map of the Greenland Ice Sheet, Version 1

The Digital SAR Mosaic and Elevation Map of the Greenland Ice Sheet CD-ROM combines the most detailed synthetic aperture radar (SAR) image mosaic available with the best current digital elevation model. The mosaic image shows both the location of the ice edge and the distribution of melt-related 'scatterers' on the surface. These scatterers include ice lenses and complex layered structure in the percolation zone and bare ice of the ablation zone. Other melt-related features that can be seen include lake and surface meltwater stream channels at lower elevations, as well as ice-marginal lakes.

This characterization of the ice sheet provides a reference against which future change can be measured. Changing conditions resulting from climatic variation should show up as changes in the ice margin and shifts in the hydrologic zones. It is hoped that the standard reference provided by this data set can facilitate activities aimed at change detection and promote other work aimed at understanding the processes operating on the ice sheet.

The image data are derived from SAR image swaths acquired by the ERS-1 satellite during August of 1992. The mosaic was assembled at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). Its component images are a copyrighted product of the European Space Agency. The mosaic, a value-added derived product, is available to individuals and non-profit organizations for research oriented purposes only. The Danish geodetic and cadastral agency Kort-og Matrikelstyrelsen (KMS) compiled the elevation data provided with the product from a number of sources, including field surveys, aerial photographs, and the ERS-1 radar altimeter. The elevation data are also provided only to individuals and non-profit organizations for research oriented purposes. Included with the data is NSIDC's limb (large image map browser) software, which was developed in-house and allows UNIX users to easily select and view portions of the mosaic image with elevation contours derived from the elevation data overlain. Limb is provided as 'freeware' for general use. NSIDC distributes the Digital SAR Mosaic and Elevation Map of the Greenland Ice Sheet on CD-ROM at no charge.

Geographic Coverage

  • Glaciers/Ice Sheets > Glacier Elevation/Ice Sheet Elevation
  • Glaciers/Ice Sheets > Glacier Topography/Ice Sheet Topography
  • Sea Ice > Ice Edges
Spatial Coverage:
  • N: 84, S: 60, E: -10, W: -73

Spatial Resolution:
  • 100 m x 100 m
  • 2 km x 2 km
Temporal Coverage:
  • 1 January 1991 to 31 December 1995
  • 2 August 1992 to 9 September 1992
Temporal Resolution: Not specified
Data Format(s):
  • Binary
Platform(s) ERS-1, GEOSAT
Version: V1
Data Contributor(s): Mark Fahnestock, Simon Ekholm, Kenneth Knowles, Ron Kwok, Ted Scambos, Mike Meshek
Data Citation

As a condition of using these data, you must cite the use of this data set using the following citation. For more information, see our Use and Copyright Web page.

Fahnestock, Mark, Simon Ekholm, Kenneth Knowles, Ron Kwok, Ted Scambos 1997. Digital SAR Mosaic and Elevation Map of the Greenland Ice Sheet, Version 1. [Indicate subset used]. Boulder, Colorado USA. NSIDC: National Snow and Ice Data Center. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.5067/WZMPK0L17X7N. [Date Accessed].
No technical references available for this data set.

How To

How to import the Digital SAR Mosaic of Greenland into ArcGIS
These are directions for importing the grnlnd_dem_wgs84.dat (a flat binary with a 2-byte integer) into ArcGIS. 1. Rename the above file to include a .bsq (band-sequential) file extension (Ex. grnlnd_dem_wgs84.bsq). 2. In the same file directory as the bsq in Step 1, use the following .hdr file:... read more