icepyx: Python tools for accessing and working with ICESat-2 data

icepyx is a python software library for accessing and working with ICESat-2 data. Acting as a wrapper around Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) supported by the NASA National Snow and Ice Data Center Distributed Active Archive Center (NSIDC DAAC), icepyx enables data acquisition in as few as three lines of code.

icepyx is also a larger project that aims to provide a central repository for code, documentation, data use-cases, tutorials, and educational resources that tackle disciplinary research questions while minimizing the amount of repeated effort across groups utilizing similar datasets. icepyx hopes to foster collaboration, open-science, and reproducible workflows by integrating and sharing resources.

Behind the icepyx project is a community of ICESat-2 data users, developers, scientists, and students. This community is working to develop a shared library of resources that simplify the process of querying, obtaining, analyzing, and manipulating ICESat-2 datasets to enable scientific discovery.

Many of the icepyx tools began as Jupyter Notebooks developed during the cryosphere themed ICESat-2 Hackweek at the University of Washington in June 2019 and as scripts written and used by the ICESat-2 Science Team members. icepyx combines and generalizes these scripts into a unified framework, making them accessible for everyone. icepyx is available for installation via pip or from the GitHub repository. Examples of using icepyx for data access and visualization are available as Jupyter Notebooks.

You can learn more about installing and using icepyx on the project’s website and Github repository.

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Upcoming 2020 ICESat-2 Hack Week: June 15-19

NSIDC is excited to bring your attention to the Cryospheric Sciences with ICESat-2 Hack Week, June 15-19, 2020, on the University of Washington campus. Visit the website for details on how to apply.

From the ICESat-2 Hack Week Organizers:
Join us for five days of tutorials, data exploration, software development and community networking focused on open source tools to analyze and visualize ICESat-2 data for cryospheric applications. We will build on tools developed at our 2019 hack week, but attendance to that event is not a prerequisite for our 2020 hack week.

We welcome applications from participants at any career stage and level of technical ability. All tutorials and projects will use the Python programming language, and we will provide links to educational resources in advance of the event for those new to Python.

We look forward to seeing you in Seattle!

Application deadline: April 3, 2020

For more information, contact


NSIDC DAAC Hands-on Tutorial: Discover, Access, and Harmonize Arctic Remote Sensing Data during the 2019 AGU Fall Meeting

The NASA National Snow and Ice Data Center Distributed Active Archive Center (NSIDC DAAC) will be presenting a hands-on tutorial during the 2019 AGU Fall Meeting, hosted by the ARCUS Arctic Community Meeting Space. This tutorial will demonstrate our data discovery, access, subsetting services, and how to utilize basic open source resources to harmonize and analyze data across different remote sensing products.

Our data services team will be presenting this tutorial as a series of Python-based Jupyter Notebooks, focusing on sea ice height and ice surface temperature data from NASA’s ICESat-2 and MODIS missions, respectively, to characterize Arctic sea ice. No coding experience or computing prerequisites are required, though some familiarity with Python and Jupyter Notebooks is recommended.

Registration for this tutorial will close on Tuesday, December 10th, so please be sure to sign up to ensure a seat:

When: Wednesday, December 11th, 2:00 – 3:30 PST

Hotel Nikko, Room: Monterrey I
222 Mason St, San Francisco, CA 94102

We look forward to seeing you in San Francisco!ICESat-2 Freeboard This composite image is a measurement of Arctic sea ice freeboard taken by ICESat-2’s instrument from data acquired between 1 to 30 November 2018. Freeboard is the difference between the top of ice and the ocean. Pink = higher elevation; blue/white = lower elevation; white circle = no data. Image Credit: NASA GSFC Kel Elkins

ICESat-2 Data Now Available at NSIDC DAAC

The first data sets from NASA’s Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) are now available from the NASA National Snow and Ice Data Center Distributed Active Archive Center (NSIDC DAAC). These data sets provide backscatter profiles; geolocated photon data; atmospheric layer characteristics; and geolocated surface elevations for land ice, sea ice, vegetation and land, and inland water.

The ICESat-2 web page provides an overview of the satellite mission and information on specific data sets, including those currently available and ones scheduled for future release.

Data access options for ICESat-2 data include direct download through HTTPS, but more advanced options for searching, customization, and data delivery can also be achieved through the following methods:

OpenAltimetry provides advanced discovery, processing, and visualization for both ICESat and ICESat-2 data.

Earthdata Search provides access to both ICESat and ICESat-2 data, with advanced search and order options. Here users have the option to customize their data, including reformatting; reprojection; and subsetting by spatial coverage, temporal coverage, and parameter.

Data set subscription is an option available for users who require the latest data delivered on a regular basis. As data are ingested at NSIDC DAAC, our subscription service will automatically send a subscriber data files that match their specifications. This can be done through email or through the Secure Copy Protocol (SCP), where NSIDC DAAC will send data directly to an SCP-enabled server. If the email delivery option is selected, users can choose to apply customizations, such as subsetting, reformatting, and reprojection, to their data files.

All access options are available on each ICESat-2 data set landing page in the “Data Downloads” tab.

Upcoming Earthdata Webinar – NASA Operation IceBridge: Come Discover a Decade of Polar Data

NASA’s Operation IceBridge airborne mission has flown over 700 flights through some of the most stunning regions of the Arctic and Antarctic. Join us to learn how to discover and access data that “bridges” the gap between the ICESat and ICESat-2 missions.

When: Wednesday, July 25, 2018 at 2pm EDT (UTC/GMT-4).

For more information about the webinar, please visit NASA Earthdata

Register now!