Data Set ID:

Hydrologic Sub-basins of Greenland, Version 1

The Hydrologic Sub-basins of Greenland data set contains Geographic Information System (GIS) polygon shapefiles that include 293 hydrologic sub-basins of the Greenland Ice Sheet, as created by Lewis and Smith (2009). Five km Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) of ice-surface and bedrock topography (Bamber et al. 2001) were used to estimate the hydraulic potentiometric surface for Greenland, which accounts for the effects of ice overburden pressure, such as hydrostatic pressure, surface topography, and underlying bedrock topography (Paterson 1994). Using the 5 km potentiometric grid, a modeled basin network for Greenland's ice sheet was created using the hydrological tools within ESRI ArcGIS (ArcInfo 9.2). Although the GIS initially generated more than 293 basins, basins less than 100 km2 in size, as well as basins located completely outside of the ice sheet extent, were removed from the data set. Data are available via FTP, and can be read in any GIS software. The following journal article provides documentation for this data set: Lewis, Sarah and Laurence Smith. 2009. Hydrologic Drainage of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Hydrological Processes DOI: 10.1002/hyp.7343. This journal article can be accessed from the Documentation link at the top of this Web page.

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Geographic Coverage

Data Set Tabs

Temporal Coverage:
Not specified
Temporal Resolution:
Not specified
Not specified
Sensor(s): Not specified
Spatial Coverage:
  • N: 85.57962, S: 59.25085, E: -6.7577, W: -80.9178

Spatial Resolution:
Not Specified
  • Surface Water > Discharge/Flow
  • Surface Water > Drainage
  • Glaciers/Ice Sheets > Glacier Topography/Ice Sheet Topography
  • Surface Water > Runoff
Data Format(s):
  • ESRI Shapefile
Data Contributor(s): Sarah Lewis

We kindly request that you cite the use of this data set in a publication using the following citation. For more information, see Use and Copyright.

Sarah Lewis 2009. Hydrologic Sub-basins of Greenland, Version 1. [indicate subset used]. Boulder, Colorado USA. NSIDC: National Snow and Ice Data Center.

Questions? Please contact:

NSIDC User Services
Phone: 1 303 492-6199
Fax: 1 303 492-2468
Contact Address:
National Snow and Ice Data Center
University of Colorado
City: Boulder
Province or State: CO
Postal Code: 80309-0449
Country: USA