Data Set ID:

Glaciological Investigations of the Bulge and Trunk of Kamb Ice Stream, West Antarctica, Version 1

This data set contains radar data from the Kamb Ice Stream (KIS), formerly known as Ice Stream C, in West Antarctica. The project was part of a larger study to assess the likelihood of ice stream reactivation. Parameters include latitude, longitude, distance along profile, ice thickness pick, bright layer depth, and surface elevation, from approximately 1600 km of ground-based radar traverses recorded during the 2004 and 2005 Antarctic field seasons.

Data are available via FTP as ASCII text files (.txt). Profile location maps and sample profile sections are available as Joint Photographic Experts Group (.jpg) image files. The data are also available as binary data on DVD, upon request.

NSIDC does not archive these data.

  • Glaciers/Ice Sheets > Glacier Elevation/Ice Sheet Elevation > GLACIER ELEVATION/ICE SHEET ELEVATION
  • Glaciers/Ice Sheets > Glacier Thickness/Ice Sheet Thickness > GLACIER THICKNESS/ICE SHEET THICKNESS
  • Glaciers/Ice Sheets > Glacier Topography/Ice Sheet Topography > GLACIER TOPOGRAPHY/ICE SHEET TOPOGRAPHY
  • Glaciers/Ice Sheets > Ice Sheets > ICE SHEETS
  • Radar > Radar Reflectivity > RADAR REFLECTIVITY
Data Format(s):
Spatial Coverage:
N: -82, 
S: -83, 
E: -130, 
W: -140
Spatial Resolution:Not SpecifiedSensor(s):RADAR, RADAR ECHO SOUNDERS
Temporal Coverage:
  • 14 November 2005 to 28 December 2005
  • 1 November 2004 to 30 December 2004
Temporal ResolutionNot specifiedMetadata XML:View Metadata Record
Data Contributor(s):Robert Jacobel

Geographic Coverage

Please contact the data provider for the correct Data Citation for this data set.

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Detailed Data Description


Data are available as ASCII text files (.txt). Example profiles and location maps are available as image files (.jpg). The data are also available as binary data on DVD, upon request.

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File and Directory Structure

Data are available on the FTP site in the directory. Within this directory, there are two subdirectories separated by the year of observation, 2004 and 2005. The directory also contains a readme file in both ASCII text format and Microsoft Word format. To request the data set as binary data, please contact User Services.

Each data folder contains data files for each profile segment, a .jpg map file showing profile segment locations and one .jpg radar profile showing a z-scope example of the raw data. 

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File Naming Convention

Files are named according to the following convention:


  • Where: XXX corresponds to the profile identified in the location maps. The specific location (latitude and longitude) of each profile is described in its corresponding data file.
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File Size

Files in this data set range in size from 12 KB to 375 KB.

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The total volume of the data set is less than 3 MB.

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Spatial Coverage

Data were collected on the Kamb Ice Stream in West Antarctica.

Southernmost Latitude: 83°S
Northernmost Latitude: 82°S
Westernmost Longitude: 140°W
Easternmost Longitude: 130°W

Spatial Coverage Maps

location map for 2004
2004 Location Map

2005 location map
2005 Location Map

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Temporal Coverage

Data in this collection were obtained during two Antarctic field seasons (Nov-Dec) in 2004 and 2005.

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Parameter or Variable
Table 1. Parameters in the Profile Data Files
Parameter Description
Latitude/Longitude Location of radar measurement
Distance Distance along profile (km)
Bed Depth Ice sheet depth, or thickness (m)
Layer Depth Depth (m) of bright layer, which corresponds to a volcanic eruption about 17,500 YBP based on dating from the Byrd Ice Core. For more information see Jacobel and Welch, 2005.
Elevation Surface elevation (m)

Sample Data Record

The following example shows sample data from the LakeA7_camp.txt file in the 2004 folder.

Latitude Longitude Distance Bed Depth Layer Depth Elevation
-82.05 -131.8962 0.009 1364.67 5 748.67 649.2322
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Software and Tools

Software and Tools

Data are accessible using standard spreadsheet software.

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Data Acquisition and Processing

Theory of Measurements

Researchers conducted ground-based ice-penetrating radar surveys on the Kamb Ice Stream to detect regions of wet and dry bed conditions based on differences in the radar reflectivity, as part of a larger study to assess the likelihood of ice stream reactivation.

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Data Acquisition Methods

The system and operator were towed by a snow machine. The receiver and operator were housed in a small shelter built on a wooden Komatik sled. Power for the receiver, and for battery chargers, was provided either by a solar-powered battery system, or a small gas-powered generator mounted on the back of the sled. The transmitter batteries were recharged by the solar panels or generator. The shelter was also equipped with a GPS receiver to locate the data points.

The transmitter was towed 100 m or more behind the receiver sled. The transmitter and its battery sat in a small sled, protected from the elements by the sled's nylon cover. The antennas for the transmitter and receiver were housed in strong rubber hoses and tied to the tow ropes to keep the antennas as straight and parallel as possible.

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Sensor or Instrument Description

Researchers used a 3 MHz radio echo-sounding system to transmit and receive radio waves through as much as three kilometers of ice. For more information, visit the St. Olaf College Radar Program Web site.

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References and Related Publications

Contacts and Acknowledgments

Dr. Robert Jacobel
St. Olaf College
Environmental Studies Program
St. Olaf College
1520 St. Olaf Ave.
Northfield, MN 55057


This research was supported by NSF OPP grant 0337567.

Document Information


23 March 2009

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