ATLAS/ICESat-2 L2A Global Geolocated Photon Data, Version 2 (ATL03)
Data set:
There is a more recent version of these data.
Version Summary
Changes for this version include:

  • Added the equilibrium tide as a parameter (/gtx/geophys_corr/tide_eq).

  • Corrected the ph_id_channel description.

  • Added additional ATLAS housekeeping/status values from ATL02 to the /atlas_engineering group to fully describe the ATLAS configuration state.

  • Adopted an improved inland water mask.

  • Added DEM height and flag at the 20m geolocation segment rate. DEM height (/gtx/geophys_corr/dem_h) is the best available height from one of several region-specific and global DEMs. The DEM flag (/gtx/geophys_corr/dem_flag) indicates the DEM from which the height was retrieved.

  • Added a composite flag for POD/PPD quality at the 20m geolocation segment rate. A non-zero value indicates a possibly degraded geolocation solution.

  • Updated default uncertainties (sigma_h = 30 m; sigma_along = 20 m; sigma_across = 20 m; sigma_lat ~= 0.00018 deg; and sigma_lon = 0.00018 deg) to better represent actual uncertainties in the ATL03 photon data.


As of April 2021, this data set is retired and no longer available for download. Per our agreement with the data provider, NSIDC only archives the most recent version of each of the ICESat-2 standard products and the version that preceded it. -- This data set (ATL03) contains height above the WGS 84 ellipsoid (ITRF2014 reference frame), latitude, longitude, and time for all photons downlinked by the Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS) instrument on board the Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) observatory. The ATL03 product was designed to be a single source for all photon data and ancillary information needed by higher-level ATLAS/ICESat-2 products. As such, it also includes spacecraft and instrument parameters and ancillary data not explicitly required for ATL03.
Data Contributor(s):
  • Thomas
  • Anita
  • David
  • Scott
  • Jeff
  • John
  • Kaitlin
  • Jack
  • Kelly
  • Aimée
Data Format(s):
Temporal Coverage:
13 October 2018 to 15 November 2019
Temporal Resolution:
91 day
Spatial Resolution:
70 cm
70 cm
Spatial Coverage:

Data Access & Tools

This data set has been retired. There is a more recent version of these data.

Help Articles

How To

This webinar introduces the ICESat-2 mission and shows you how to explore, access and customize ICESat-2 data with the OpenAltimetry application, using NSIDC DAAC tools, and shows you how to subset, reformat and analyze the data using Python.
Many NSIDC DAAC data sets can be accessed using the NSIDC DAAC's Data Access Tool. This tool provides the ability to search and filter data with spatial and temporal constraints using a map-based interface.
To convert HDF5 files into binary format you will need to use the h5dump utility, which is part of the HDF5 distribution available from the HDF Group. How you install HDF5 depends on your operating system.
This guide will provide an overview of the altimetry measurements and data sets across the missions, as well as a guide for accessing the data through NASA Earthdata Search and programmatically using an Application Programming Interface (API).
All data from the NASA National Snow and Ice Data Center Distributed Active Archive Center (NSIDC DAAC) can be accessed directly from our HTTPS file system, using wget or curl. Basic command line instructions are provided in the article below. 
NASA Earthdata Search is a map-based interface where a user can search for Earth science data, filter results based on spatial and temporal constraints, and order data with customizations including re-formatting, re-projecting, and spatial and parameter subsetting.


This article covers frequently asked questions about the NASA NSIDC DAAC's Earthdata cloud migration project and what it means to data users.

Getting started

The NASA Earthdata Cloud is the NASA cloud-based archive of Earth observations. It is hosted by Amazon Web Services (AWS). Learn how to find and access NSIDC DAAC data directly in the cloud.
The following table describes the subsetting and reformatting services that are currently available for ICESat-2 data via the NASA Earthdata Search tool, along with