Data Set ID:

Seasat and GEOSAT Altimetry for the Antarctic and Greenland Ice Sheets, Version 1

Note: This data set is now on FTP so references to CD-ROM are historic and no longer applicable.

The Ice Altimetry System (IAS) data seet contains surface elevations of
the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets derived from Seasat and GEOSAT
radar altimetry data. The Seasat data were collected for a continuous
90 days in 1978, at latitudes between 72 degrees South and 72 degrees
North. GEOSAT was launched in 1985 and placed in a nearly identical
orbit to Seasat, also at latitudes of between 72 degrees South and 72
degrees North. The orbit was designed to provide high-density
measurements over the Earth's surface, at a maximum grid spacing of 2.7 kilometers at the equator and much denser spacing over polar ice
sheets. Data were acquired between April 1985 and September 1986.

Initially acquired by the Johns Hopkins APL (Applied Physics Lab)
satellite tracking facility, the raw altimetry satellite data from
Seasat and GEOSAT were passed on to NASA, via the US Navy. NASA
developed slope correction routines for the higher slopes over the ice
sheets, relative to ocean surfaces. The data are height profile Level
3 data and gridded height Level 4 data provided by the Oceans and Ice
branch of the Laboratory for Hydrospheric Physics of Goddard Space
Flight Center. Elevations from the full data rate (i.e., one
measurement every 662.5 m) are provided in georeferenced databases.
These elevations are relative to the WGS-84 ellipsoid. Gridded
elevations at 10-kilometer and 20-kilometer spacing are provided in
the gridded data sets created from the GEOSAT and Seasat data,
respectively. Software to extract and browse subsets of these data is
included. The IAS software also allows the user to view
contours created from the gridded data and groundtracks of the
full-rate data.

Get Data

Geographic Coverage

Data Set Tabs

Spatial Coverage:
  • N: 72, S: 60, E: -20, W: -60

Spatial Resolution:
Not Specified
Temporal Coverage
  • 1978-06-01 to 1986-09-30
Temporal Resolution:
Not specified
  • Glaciers/Ice Sheets > Glacier Elevation/Ice Sheet Elevation
  • Glaciers/Ice Sheets > Ice Sheets
Data Format(s):
  • Binary
  • ASCII Text (.txt)
Data Contributor(s): H. Zwally, Anita Brenner

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, J. and A. Brenner 1997. Seasat and GEOSAT Altimetry for the Antarctic and Greenland Ice Sheets, Version 1. [indicate subset used]. Boulder, Colorado USA. NSIDC: National Snow and Ice Data 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