28 May 2019

First data sets from ICESat-2 data now available through NSIDC DAAC

ICESat-2 illustration from NASAIllustration of NASA’s Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2). Credit: NASA. High-resolution image and NASA release.

NASA's Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) was launched September 15, 2018, to measure surface heights of ice sheets, glaciers, ice shelves, sea ice, and even forests. The information it provides will enable scientists to monitor the health of Earth's cryosphere and how it changes over time, which is critically important for decision making around issues such as community resilience and natural resource management.

The NSIDC Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC) will ingest, archive and manage all ICESat-2 data, and the first data sets from this new satellite are now available through our ICESat-2 site. The site also includes introductory information on Level-1, Level-2, Level-3A, and Level-3B products to help users identify the most suitable products for their needs.

"These data sets are just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak," says NSIDC ICESat-2 Project Manager Steve Tanner. "When combined with data from the original ICESat mission and the airborne data from Operation IceBridge, users will have a decades-long, high resolution view into the dramatic changes taking place in the cyrosphere."

To measure surface elevation, ICESat-2 emits laser pulses—10,000 pulses per second. The data collected by this satellite amounts to nearly a terabyte every single day. To prepare for its role in data delivery, NSIDC had to upgrade its computing storage resources, website, and data services to make data download as fast and easy as possible. Advanced users will be able to use scripts to download data, and use glacier masks to subset data.


ICESat-2 data at NSIDC
NASA ICESat-2 Mission