MEaSUREs: InSAR based Grounding Line

The delineation of an ice sheet grounding line, i.e. the transition boundary where ice detaches from the bed and becomes afloat in the ocean, is critical to ice sheet mass budget calculations, numerical modeling of ice sheet dynamics and time evolution, and studies of ice-ocean interactions and subglacial environments.

This data set, part of the NASA Making Earth System Data Records for Use in Research Environments (MEaSUREs) program, provides 22 years of comprehensive high-resolution mapping of grounding lines in Antarctica, derived using differential satellite synthetic aperture radar interferometry (DInSAR) data from the Earth Remote Sensing Satellites 1 and 2 (ERS-1 and ERS-2), RADARSAT-1, RADARSAT-2, the Advanced Land Observing System Phased Array type L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (ALOS PALSAR), COSMO SkyMED, and Copernicus Sentinel-1 for years 1992 to 2014.

Update (July 2017): We added time-tagged grounding line information, additional mappings using Sentinel-1a/b in the Amundsen Sea Embayment (ASE) sector West Antarctica, COSMO SkyMed data from Totten Glacier and select parts of ASE, and RADARSAT-2 data of the TransAntarctic mountains.

To download this data set go to:

The data set parameters include latitude, longitude, sensor, and up to 4 orbits and acquisitions dates. Two interferograms are required to perform differential interferometry. This requires a minimum of 3 consecutive acquisitions of a single sensor. In some cases two sets of two consecutive acquisitions were used to generate the grounding line. In the case of the ERS-1/ERS-2 Tandem mission, two Tandem interferograms (4 acquisitions) are used for grounding line detection.

Literature Cirtation:

Rignot, E., J. Mouginot, and B. Scheuchl. 2011. Antarctic Grounding Line Mapping from Differential Satellite Radar Interferometry, Geophyical Research Letters, 38, L10504,doi:10.1029/2011GL047109.

Rignot, E., J. Mouginot, M. Morlighem, H. Seroussi, and B. Scheuchl. 2014. Widespread, rapid grounding line retreat of Pine Island, Thwaites, Smith, and Kohler glaciers, West Antarctica, from 1992 to 2011, Geophysical Research Letters. 41. 3502-3509.

Data Citation:

Rignot, E., J. Mouginot, and B. Scheuchl. 2016MEaSUREs Antarctic Grounding Line from Differential Satellite Radar Interferometry, Version 2. [Indicate subset used]. Boulder, Colorado USA. NASA National Snow and Ice Data Center Distributed Active Archive Center. doi:

Antarctic Grounding Line from Differential Satellite Radar Interferometry (Version 2)

Delineation of Antarctic grounding lines with satellite radar interferometry (DInSAR) from ERS-1 and ERS-2 (red), RADARSAT-1 (purple), RADARSAT-2 (blue), ALOS PALSAR (green), Copernicus Sentinel-1A (yellow), COSMO Skymed (cyan) overlaid on the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) mosaic of Antarctica.