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GLAS Subsetter: Order geographic and temporal subsets of the data.
Reverb: NASA search and order tool for subsetting, reprojecting, and reformatting data.
Data Set ID:

GLAS/ICESat L2 Antarctic and Greenland Ice Sheet Altimetry Data, Version 34

The Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) instrument on the Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) provides global measurements of polar ice sheet elevation to discern changes in ice volume (mass balance) over time. Secondary objectives of GLAS are to measure sea ice roughness and thickness, cloud and atmospheric properties, land topography, vegetation canopy heights, ocean surface topography, and surface reflectivity.

GLAS has a 1064 nm laser channel for surface altimetry and dense cloud heights, and a 532 nm lidar channel for the vertical distribution of clouds and aerosols.

This level-2 altimetry product (GLA12) provides surface elevations for ice sheets. Data also include the laser footprint gelocation and reflectance, as well as geodetic, instrument, and atmospheric corrections for range measurements.

Each data granule has an associated browse product that users can quickly view to determine the general quality of the data in the granule. Browse products consist of image plots of key parameters and statistics. Data are in scaled integer binary format, big-endian (Unix) byte order, and are available via FTP.

Version Summary:

Release 34 incorporates fixes for several data issues that were determined to exist in the GLAS Release 33 data products.

Geographic Coverage

Data Set Tabs

Spatial Coverage:
  • N: 86, S: -86, E: 180, W: -180

Spatial Resolution:
  • 60 m to 70 m x 60 m to 70 m
Temporal Coverage
  • 2003-02-20 to 2009-10-11
Temporal Resolution:
1288 minute
  • Glaciers/Ice Sheets > Glacier Elevation/Ice Sheet Elevation
  • Glaciers/Ice Sheets > Glacier Topography/Ice Sheet Topography
  • Glaciers/Ice Sheets > Ice Sheets
  • Sea Ice > Reflectance > Laser Reflectance
  • Glaciers/Ice Sheets > Glacier Elevation/Ice Sheet Elevation > Laser Reflectance
  • Sea Ice > Reflectance
Data Format(s):
  • Binary
Data Contributor(s): H. Zwally, Robert Schutz, Charles Bentley, Jack Bufton, Thomas Herring, Jean-Bernard Minster, James Spinhirne, Robert Thomas

Data Citation

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

Zwally, H. J., R. Schutz, C. Bentley, J. Bufton, T. Herring, J. Minster, J. Spinhirne, and R. Thomas. 2014. GLAS/ICESat L2 Antarctic and Greenland Ice Sheet Altimetry Data, Version 34. [indicate subset used]. Boulder, Colorado USA. NASA National Snow and Ice Data Center Distributed Active Archive Center. [Date Accessed].

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