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Data Set ID:

Ice-Penetrating Radar Data Across Siple Coast Grounding Lines, Version 1

These data consist of ice-penetrating radar data collected on the ground across the grounding line near Siple Dome during the 2006 and 2007 Antarctic summer field seasons. Primarily, the data consist of low-frequency radar data (2 MHz, approximately 50 meter resolution) in order to observe deep internal layers and the ice-bed interface. The data set also contains one file with high-frequency (100 MHz, approximately 1 meter resolution) radar data, for a sub-region of one of the low-frequency radar profiles. Coincident kinematic GPS data were also collected to correct the radar data for topography along each profile. Radar profiles are typically approximately 20 km in length with the grounding line crossed centrally where possible.

Data are available via FTP in Matlab (.mat) format.

Geographic Coverage

Spatial Coverage:
  • N: -81, S: -83, E: -145, W: -160

Spatial Resolution: Not Specified
Temporal Coverage:
  • 1 November 2006 to 20 December 2007
Temporal Resolution: Not specified
  • Glaciers/Ice Sheets > Glacier Elevation/Ice Sheet Elevation
  • Glaciers/Ice Sheets > Glacier Thickness/Ice Sheet Thickness
  • Glaciers/Ice Sheets > Ice Sheets
  • Snow/Ice > Snow Stratigraphy
  • Topography > Terrain Elevation
Platform(s) GPS, MODELS
Sensor(s): GPS, RADAR
Data Format(s):
Version: V1
Data Contributor(s): Christina Hulbe, Ginny Catania

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.

Hulbe, C. and G. Catania. 2010. Ice-Penetrating Radar Data Across Siple Coast Grounding Lines, 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 are in Matlab (.mat) format.

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File and Directory Structure

Data are available on the FTP site in the directory. Within this directory, there are seven Matlab (.mat) files, containing radar profile data from Siple Dome. Six of the files contain low-frequency radar data from six profiles near Siple Dome. The profile locations are provided in the files, and are further defined in Catania, et. al, 2010. The remaining file, GPR.mat, contains high-frequency (100 MHz) radar data acquired along a portion of line SA (SA.mat) where a relict ice shelf rift and a relict Kamb Ice Stream shear margin is crossed.

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File Naming Convention

Files are named according to the following convention and as described in Table 1:



Table 1. File Naming Convention
Variable Description
NN Radar profile ID
.mat Matlab file extension

Example: SA.mat contains the radar profile for the radar track "SA."

The data set contains seven files. The radar profiles NA, NB, and NC, span a grounding line north of the Siple Dome (SDM) summit, while SA, SB, and SC span a grounding line south of the SDM summit. The radar profile identified as GPR is a high-frequency record that spans a sub-section of the SA line. Position data for each radar profile is available in its respective Matlab file.

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File Size

Files range in size from 19 MB to 260 MB

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750 MB

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Spatial Coverage

Data were collected at the Kamb Ice Stream, in the Siple Dome region of Antarctica. Detailed location information is available in the Matlab files, as well as in Catania, et. al., 2010.

Southernmost Latitude: 83°S
Northernmost Latitude: 81°S
Westernmost Longitude: 160°W
Easternmost Longitude: 145°W

Spatial Resolution

14 meters

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Temporal Coverage

Data were collected between November 2006 and December 2007.

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Parameter or Variable

The Matlab files contain raw and filtered data and coincident location information from GPS. Table 2 contains a description of arrays in the low-frequency radar data files, SA.mat, SB.mat, SC.mat, NA.mat, NB.mat, and NC.mat. Table 3 contains a description of arrays in the high-frequency data file, GPR.mat.

Parameter Description

Table 2. Radar Profile Array Description for Low-Frequency Data Files
Array Description
Hpos Horizontal position along profile (in meters) calculated from latitude/longitude position per trace
Xinc 1/sampling frequency (in units of seconds/sample)
Yinc Amplifier setting on oscilliscope (units of Volts/bit)
data Raw data has been demeaned or dewowed to remove the mean-average waveform. Form of data array is number of samples x number of traces. Sample length is typically 2500.
height GPS-determined surface elevation at each radar trace
dday Decimal day recorded in some cases to match radar and GPS data height: surface elevation from GPS data
lat Latitude in decimal degrees for each trace
lon Longitude in decimal degrees for each trace
time Travel time (seconds)

Table 3. Radar Profile Array Description for the High-Frequency Data File, GPR.mat
Array Description
Hpos Horizontal position along profile (in meters) calculated from latitude/longitude position per trace
Xinc Volts/bit for converting values
filtdata Bandpassed data (between 50 and 150 MHz)
height GPS-determined surface elevation at each radar trace
lat GPS-determined latitude at each radar trace
lon GPS-determined longitude at each radar trace
time Two-way travel time for traces

Sample Data Record

image showing arrays in matlab file SA.mat

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Software and Tools

Software and Tools

Data are accessible using Matlab software, available from

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Data Acquisition and Processing

Theory of Measurements

The researchers used a custom built, low-frequency, short-pulse, ground-based radar system to image deep internal layers and the base of the ice sheet. They collected six radar profiles across the grounding line of Siple Dome. Three were located on the south side of the grounding line (SA,SB,SC) and three were located on the north side, (NA,NB,NC).

All Siple Dome radar data were collected using 3 MHz antennas which provide a pulse wavelength of 56 meters in ice and a horizontal resolution of 14 meters. Waveforms were averaged over a horizontal spacing of 3 meters. There was an 80 m separation between the transmitter and receiver sleds for the deep radar. The signal to noise ratio was improved in all profiles by removing the mean waveform, to limit interference due to instrumentation artifacts. The researchers also employed a higher-frequency (100 MHz) radar to image near-surface layers in some regions. Separation between transmit (Tx) and receive (Rx) is 1 m. Global Positioning System (GPS) data were used to compute elevation, latitude and longitude for every radar waveform.

For profiles NA and NB position data come from a geodetic quality Trimble GPS receiver that provides surface elevation relative to the WGS84 ellipsoid. In this region the ellipsoid is 45 m above the present-day sea level and the two radar profiles are corrected to reflect the true elevation of the ice surface above mean-sea level. Accuracy is less than 1 m in horizontal and approximately 2 m in vertical. The remaining Siple Dome radar profiles use position data from a lower-resolution real-time kinematic GPS solution which does not require an ellipsoid correction. Accuracy is roughly 10 m horizontal, 20 m vertical.

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References and Related Publications

Contacts and Acknowledgments

Dr. Ginny Catania
University of Texas Institute for Geophysics
J. J. Pickle Research Campus, Bldg. 196
10100 Burnet Rd. (R2200)
Austin, Texas, USA

Dr. Christina Hulbe
Portland State University 
Department of Geology 
P. O. Box 751 
Portland, Oregon, USA 


This research was supported by NSF OPP grant number 0538120.

Document Information


26 July 2010

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