Operation IceBridge (Quicklook)


NASA Operation IceBridge Program Office, Goddard Space Flight Center

Principal contact

Dr. Nathan Kurtz and the OIB Program Office

Project web site



Scanning Lidar Altimeter, Snow Radar, Cameras


Arctic Ocean

Time interval


Data processing notes

This is the Quicklook Product. SInce IceBridge data processing typically lags about a year this Quicklook Product is provided. Overlap between 2012 and 2013 V2 products provides some indication of potential differences though those may vary from year to year.

All flights with usable data are combined for each campaign. Annual campaigns are conducted in the appropriate spring based either in Greenaland or Punta Arenas, Chile..

The 'Freeboard, Snow Depth, and Ice Thickness' data product from NSIDC was used to form 50-km clusters, combining data from more than one flight if the flights were less than 10 days apart. The spacing of the point thickness estimates is approximately 25 m. The original data set includes a variable for the uncertainty in the estimated ice thickness that is used to select points with an uncertainty of less than 1 m for very thin ice up to 2 m for ice greater than 4 m thick. The maximum uncertainty in the point measurements included in the clusters is 2 m. Clusters were required to have 500 or more point samples to be retained and some clusters have as many as 7000 points. The average is 1670 points.

In the summary file the minimum, maximum, mean, and standard deviation is given for the snow depth, the uncertainty in the ice thickness, and the ice thickness. See the file headers. The mean uncertainty is not the uncertainty of the mean because we do not know how the errors are correlated, but it does give some information about the relative confidence in the sample estimates. If the errors were uncorrelated the uncertaity in the mean would be approximately 1/sqrt(nsamps) times the mean uncertainty.

Number of samples


2012-GrnlQL: 205297 point estimates, 204 50-km clusters
2013-GrnlQL: 210073 points estimates, 242 50-km clusters
2014-GrnlQL: 235595 points estimates, 231 50-km clusters
2015-GrnlQL: 167012 points estimates, 183 50-km clusters
2016-GrnlQL: 14284 points estimates, 22 50-km clusters
2017-GrnlQL: 412061 points estimates, 328 50-km clusters
2018-GrnlQL: 211460 points estimates, 200 50-km clusters
2019-GrnlQL: 125655 points estimates, 88 50-km clusters


Operation IceBridge Quicklook Products (documentation)


NSIDC web site: (link)

Kurtz, N. T., Farrell, S. L., Studinger, M., Galin, N., Harbeck, J. P., Lindsay, R., Onana, V. D., Panzer, B., and Sonntag, J. G., 2013: Sea ice thickness, freeboard, and snow depth products from Operation IceBridge airborne data, The Cryosphere, 7, 1035-1056, doi:10.5194/tc-7-1035-2013.

Point data

The 20-m point data for ice thickness is at the National Snow and Ice Data Center as well as all of the clibrated instrument data.


Kurtz, Nathan, Michael Studinger, Jeremy Harbeck, Vincent-De-Paul Onana, and Sinead Farrell. 2012, updated to current year. IceBridge Sea Ice Freeboard, Snow Depth, and Thickness, [list dates of data used]. Boulder, Colorado USA: NASA Distributed Active Archive Center at the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Digital media. http://nsidc.org/data/idcsi2.html.





IceBridge Campaign Maps

Greenland 2012 Map

April to 24 April, 2012

2013 Greenland map

March to April, 2013

2014 Greenland map

March to April, 2014

2015 Greenland map

March to April, 2015

March to April, 2016

March to April, 2017

March to April, 2018

March to April, 2019

All Quicklook, 2012-2019

Click on the maps for a bigger version


Sample Thickness, Uncertainty, and Snow Depth

Greenland 2009 Map

March to April, 2012

2010 Greenland map

March to April, 2013

2011 Greenland map

March to April, 2014

2011 Greenland map

March to April, 2015

March to April, 2016

March to April, 2017

March to April, 2018

March to April, 2019


Click on the plot for a bigger version.