Data Set ID:

Digital SAR Mosaic and Elevation Map of the Greenland Ice Sheet, Version 1

The Digital SAR Mosaic and Elevation Map of the Greenland Ice Sheet combines the most detailed synthetic aperture radar (SAR) image mosaic available with the best current digital elevation model. The mosaic image shows both the location of the ice edge and the distribution of melt-related 'scatterers' on the surface. These scatterers include ice lenses and complex layered structure in the percolation zone and bare ice of the ablation zone. Other melt-related features that can be seen include lake and surface meltwater stream channels at lower elevations, as well as ice-marginal lakes.

This characterization of the ice sheet provides a reference against which future change can be measured. Changing conditions resulting from climatic variation should show up as changes in the ice margin and shifts in the hydrologic zones. It is hoped that the standard reference provided by this data set can facilitate activities aimed at change detection and promote other work aimed at understanding the processes operating on the ice sheet.

The image data are derived from SAR image swaths acquired by the ERS-1 satellite during August of 1992. The mosaic was assembled at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). Its component images are a copyrighted product of the European Space Agency. The mosaic, a value-added derived product, is available to individuals and non-profit organizations for research oriented purposes only. The Danish geodetic and cadastral agency Kort-og Matrikelstyrelsen (KMS) compiled the elevation data provided with the product from a number of sources, including field surveys, aerial photographs, and the ERS-1 radar altimeter.

This is the most recent version of these data.

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Data Format(s):
  • Binary
Spatial Coverage:
N: 84, 
S: 60, 
E: -10, 
W: -73
Platform(s):ERS-1, GEOSAT
Spatial Resolution:
  • 100 m x 100 m
  • 2 km x 2 km
Temporal Coverage:
  • 2 August 1992 to 9 September 1992
  • 1 January 1991 to 31 December 1995
Temporal ResolutionNot specifiedMetadata XML:View Metadata Record
Data Contributor(s):Mark Fahnestock, Simon Ekholm, Kenneth Knowles, Ron Kwok, Ted Scambos, Mike Meshek

Geographic Coverage

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

Fahnestock, Mark, Simon Ekholm, Kenneth Knowles, Ron Kwok, Ted Scambos 1997. Digital SAR Mosaic and Elevation Map of the Greenland Ice Sheet, Version 1. [Indicate subset used]. Boulder, Colorado USA. NASA National Snow and Ice Data Center Distributed Active Archive Center. doi: [Date Accessed].

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No technical references available for this data set.

How To

How to import the Digital SAR Mosaic of Greenland into ArcGIS
These are directions for importing the grnlnd_dem_wgs84.dat (a flat binary with a 2-byte integer) into ArcGIS. 1. Rename the above file to include a .bsq (band-sequential) file extension (Ex. grnlnd_dem_wgs84.bsq). 2. In the same file directory as the bsq in Step 1, use the following .hdr file:... read more
V0 Programmatic Data Access Guide
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. We provide basic command line Wget and curl instructions for HTTPS file system downloads below. For questions about programmatic access to NSIDC... read more