Although the ATLAS instrument is optimized to measure changes in polar sea ice and land ice, as a global mission, ICESat-2 collects elevation data over all surfaces, from pole to pole.  The table below summarizes the mission Standard Data Products, which are available through the National Snow and Ice Data Center.  The low-level data products are developed through the ICESat-2 project science office.  These products include ATL01 and 02 (where photon times of flight are computed and corrected for temperature and voltage effects) and end with ATL03, which provides a latitude, longitude and elevation for each photon. Beyond that, surface-specific data products are developed by experts into those disciplines, and include products for land ice, sea ice, the atmosphere, vegetation and land, oceans and inland water.

The left column contains the product indicator name.  Clicking on these product names links to the latest Algorithm Theoretical Basis Document (ATBD) for that product.  These ATBDs are updated periodically to remain consistent with the data products.

For ATBDs associated with the previous release, click here.


ATL00 Telemetry Data Raw ATLAS telemetry in packet format
ATL01 Reformatted Telemetry

Parsed, partially reformatted into HDF5, generated daily, segmented into several minute granules.

ATL02 Science Unit Converted Telemetry

Photon time of flight, corrected for instrument effects. Includes all photons, pointing data, spacecraft position, housekeeping data, engineering data, and raw atmospheric profiles, segmented into several minute granules.

POD Precise Orbit Determination, Orbit Design & Geolocation Calibration

Precise orbit determination modeling and implementation, orbit tuning and reference ground track parameters, POD/PPD calibration and validation.

PPD Precision Pointing Determination

Arcsecond-level knowledge of laser pointing direction for each laser pulse; combined with POD and range measurements to eild the geolocation of laser spots on the surface of the Earth to an accuracy of 6.5 meters.

ATL03A Atmospheric Delay Corrections

Correcting the laser footprint altitude as a result of atmopsheric path delay, refraction, and other atmospheric properties.

ATL03G Received Photon Geolocation

General overview of steps/procedures required to provide geolocated heights for each ATLAS photon event, as well as a detailed geolocation algorithm implementation and processing flow specifically designed for the ICESat-2 mission.

ATL03 Global Geolocated Photon Data

Precise latitude, longitude and elevation for every received photon, arranged by beam in the along-track direction. Photons classified by signal vs. background, as well as by surface type (land ice, sea ice, land, ocean), including all geophysical corrections (e.g. Earth tides, atmospheric delay, etc…). Segmented into several minute granules.


Uncalibrated Backscatter Profiles

Along-track atmospheric backscatter data, 25 times per second. Includes calibration coefficients for polar regions. Segmented into several minute granules. 


Land Ice Elevation

Surface height for each beam with along- and across-track slopes calculated for each beam pair. Posted at 40m along-track; segmented into several minute granules.

ATL07 Arctic/Antarctic Sea Ice Elevation

Height of sea ice and open water leads at varying length scale based on returned photon rate for each beam presented along-track. 

ATL08 Land Water Vegetation Elevation

Height of ground including canopy surface posted at variable length scales relative to signal level, for each beam presented along-track. Where data permits include canopy height, canopy cover percentage, surface slope and roughness, and apparent reflectance. 


Calibrated Backscatter and Cloud Characteristics

Along-track cloud and other significant atmosphere layer heights, blowing snow, integrated backscatter, and optical depth.

ATL09 Layer Parameters

ATL09, Pt. II -- DDA Density-Dimension Algorithm for Atmospheric Layers & Surface

Detection of clouds and other atmospheric layers, such as blowing snow and aerosols, and their boundaries in ATLAS data.


Arctic/Antarctic Sea Ice Freeboard

Estimate of sea ice freeboard over specific spatial scales using all available sea surface height measurements. Contains statistics of sea surface and sea ice heights.


Antarctica / Greenland Ice Sheet H(t) Series

Time series of height at points on the ice sheet, calculated based on repeat tracks and/or cross-overs.


Ocean Elevation

Surface height at specific length scale. Where data permits include estimates of height distribution, roughness, surface slope, and apparent reflectance.


Inland Water Height

Along-track inland and near shore water surface height distribution within water mask.  Where data permit, include roughness, slope and aspect


Antarctica / Greenland Ice Sheet H(t) Gridded

Height maps of each ice sheet for each year based on all available elevation data.


Antarctica / Greenland Ice Sheet dh/dt Gridded

Height change maps for each ice sheet, for each mission year, and for the whole mission.


ATLAS Atmosphere Weekly

Polar cloud fraction, blowing snow frequency, ground detection frequency.


ATLAS Atmosphere Monthly

Polar cloud fraction, blowing snow frequency, ground detection frequency.


Land/Canopy Gridded

Gridded ground surface height, canopy height, and canopy cover estimates.


Mean Sea Surface (MSS)

Gridded ocean height product.


Arctic / Antarctic Gridded Sea Ice Freeboard

Gridded sea ice freeboard.


Arctic/Antarctic Gridded Sea Surface Height w/in Sea Ice

Gridded monthly sea surface height inside the sea ice cover.


Mean Inland Surface Water

Mean inland surface water products for each beam transect.

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