• For a list of known issues with this product, see the Known Issues document under the Documentation section of the page.

ATLAS/ICESat-2 L3A Land Ice Height, Version 3
Data set id:
DOI: 10.5067/ATLAS/ATL06.003
There is a more recent version of these data.
Version Summary
Changes for this version include:

  • ATL09 pass-through data (cloud flag parameters) are now being written to ATL06 (gt[x]/land_ice_segments/geophysical/layer_flag). Note that if two flags intersect an ATL06 segment, the higher flag value is used. The layer_flag parameter is important for predicting forward scattering.

  • The large DEMs previously used by ATL06 are no longer required inputs. If they are provided in the processing control file, the values are queried as in previous releases; if the DEMs are not provided in the control file, DEM values from ATL03 are used.

  • Molecular transmission used to compute effective background is now being read from ATL09. Prior versions used a default value.

  • Added radial orbit error as gt[x]/land_ice_segments/ground_track/sigma_geo_r (parameter sigma_h from ATL03).

  • ATL03 data flagged with non-zero values in podppd_flag are no longer processed for ATL06. This criteria ensures that land ice data are created only from ATL03 data that are accurately geolocated and eliminates most ATL06 data that in prior versions contained substantial correlated errors.

  • Changed the residual histograms to range from -50m to +50m with varying bin sizes. Residual histogram bins that are not fully encompassed by at least one of the two possible telemetry band range windows are marked as invalid. These larger histograms encompass the full potential vertical range of forward-scattering returns below the surface and allow sampling of backscatter from blowing snow above the surface.

  • Corrected the long names for sigma_geo_at and sigma_geo_xt in the ATL06 file metadata.

  • Residual histograms are centered on h_mean instead of h_li. Centering the histogram on the mean, rather than the median, yields a better representation of the segment-to-segment statistics for the residuals.


This data set (ATL06) provides geolocated, land-ice surface heights (above the WGS 84 ellipsoid, ITRF2014 reference frame), plus ancillary parameters that can be used to interpret and assess the quality of the height estimates. The data were acquired by the Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS) instrument on board the Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) observatory.
Data Format(s):
Temporal Coverage:
14 October 2018 to 11 November 2020
Temporal Resolution:
  • 91 day
Spatial Resolution:
  • Not Specified
Spatial Reference System(s):
WGS 84
Spatial Coverage:
Blue outlined yellow areas on the map below indicate the spatial coverage for this data set.

Data Access & Tools

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

Help Articles

General Questions & FAQs

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