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Data Set ID:

Ablation Rates of Taylor Glacier, Antarctica, Version 1

This data set provides glacier surface ablation rates for a network of approximately 250 sites on Taylor Glacier, spanning a period from 2003 to 2011. Here sublimation is the dominant ablation mechanism, though a few sites have accumulation. Ablation data are provided in meters water equivalent per year.

Data are available via FTP in space-delimited ASCII format.

Geographic Coverage

Spatial Coverage:
  • N: -77.6, S: -77.9, E: 162.2, W: 160.1

Spatial Resolution: Not Specified
Temporal Coverage:
  • 19 November 2002 to 12 January 2011
(Updated 2012)
Temporal Resolution: Not specified
  • Glaciers/Ice Sheets > Ablation Zones/Accumulation Zones
  • Glaciers/Ice Sheets > Glacier Mass Balance/Ice Sheet Mass Balance
  • Glaciers/Ice Sheets > Glaciers
  • Glaciers/Ice Sheets
  • Snow/Ice
Sensor(s): Not specified
Data Format(s):
  • ASCII Text
Version: V1
Data Contributor(s): Kurt Cuffey, Andrew Bliss, Jeffrey Kavanaugh

Data Citation

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.

Cuffey, K. M., A. Bliss, and J. Kavanaugh. 2007, Updated 2012. Ablation Rates of Taylor Glacier, Antarctica, Version 1. [Indicate subset used]. Boulder, Colorado USA. NSIDC: National Snow and Ice Data Center. doi: [Date Accessed].

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Detailed Data Description


Data files are in space-delimited ASCII format viewable with spreadsheet software.

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File Directory and Structure

Data are available on the FTP site in the directory. Within this directory, there are six data files and a Readme file.

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File Naming Convention

Files are named according to the following convention


Where Y1 indicates the start year for the data file and Y2 indicates the end year for that file.

Table 1, below, indicates the measurements made during each field season

Table 1. Measurements made during field seasons 2003 to 2011
Year Description
2003 Ablation poles were installed and measured for the first time during the 2002-03 season.
2004 All ablation poles were remeasured during the 2003-04 season.
L4 73 poles along the center line of the glacier were remeasured at the end of the 2003/04 season, for a summer ablation rate. (File is named *04_L4.txt)
2006 4 poles were measured by Hassan Basagic during the 2005/06 season.
2007 A selection of 163 poles were measured by Hassan Basagic during the 2006/07 season.
2010 10 poles were measured by Daniel Baggenstos during the 2009/10 season.
2011 17 poles were measured by Vasilii Petrenko during the 2010/11 season.
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The data set is approximately 150 KB.

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Spatial Coverage

Southernmost Latitude: 77.9° S 
Northernmost Latitude: 77.6° S 
Westernmost Longitude: 160.1° E 
Easternmost Longitude: 162.2° E

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Parameter or Variable

Parameter Description

This data set provides glacier surface ablation rate for Taylor Glacier in Antarctica, in meters water equivalent per year. Table 2 below lists the columns in the text files.

Table 2. Parameter Description
Column Number Parameter
1 Ablation Pole Name
2 Latitude
3 Longitude
4 Northing UTM57C (m)
5 Easting UTM57C (m)
6 Elevation
7 Start Year
8 Start Month
9 Start Day
10 End Year
11 End Month
12 End Day
13 Ablation Rate (m w.e./yr) with ablation taken as positive, and accumulation as negative, assuming an ice density of 0.9 kg/m3

Sample Data Record

The data below are the first 3 data samples in the TaylorAblationData03_04.txt file.

AV1 -77.82212747 161.075753 1360365 548873.9 997.15 2002 12 7 2004 1 4 0.300683
AV2 -77.82090784 161.0431627 1360528 548111.6 995.17 2002 12 7 2004 1 4 0.24462
AV3 -77.81937786 161.0366401 1360704 547964 993.69 2002 12 7 2004 1 4 0.224399
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Software and Tools

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Data Acquisition and Processing

Sensor or Instrument Description

Aluminum conduit measurement pole

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Data Acquisition Methods

Data were acquired using the traditional pole-height measurement technique. Aluminum conduit poles were initially emplaced 2 meters into the ice. Ablation rate is the difference between initial exposure and exposure approximately one year later, divided by the time interval between measurements. Initial measurements were in December 2002 and January 2003, and then again periodically between 2003 and 2011.

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References and Related Publications

Contacts and Acknowledgments

Kurt Cuffey
Department of Geography
University of California Berkeley
507 McCone Hall
Berkeley, California 94720-4740 USA 

Andrew Bliss 
Department of Geography
University of California Berkeley
507 McCone Hall
Berkeley, California 94720-4740 USA 

Jeffrey Kavanaugh 
Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences 
University of Alberta
1-26 Earth Sciences Building
Edmonton Alberta Canada T6G 2E1 


This research was supported by National Science Foundation (NSF) Office of Polar Programs (OPP) grant 0125579 awarded to K. Cuffey.

Document Information

Document Creation Date

November 2007

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