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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 11, issue 2
The Cryosphere, 11, 681-692, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-11-681-2017
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
The Cryosphere, 11, 681-692, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-11-681-2017
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 08 Mar 2017

Research article | 08 Mar 2017

Assessment of NASA airborne laser altimetry data using ground-based GPS data near Summit Station, Greenland

Kelly M. Brunt1,2, Robert L. Hawley3, Eric R. Lutz3, Michael Studinger2, John G. Sonntag4,5, Michelle A. Hofton6, Lauren C. Andrews7,2, and Thomas A. Neumann2 Kelly M. Brunt et al.
  • 1Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC), University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA
  • 2NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA
  • 3Department of Earth Sciences, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, USA
  • 4AECOM Corporation, Wallops Island, VA, USA
  • 5Wallops Flight Facility, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Wallops Island, VA, USA
  • 6Department of Geographical Sciences, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA
  • 7Universities Space Research Association (USRA), Columbia, MD, USA

Abstract. A series of NASA airborne lidars have been used in support of satellite laser altimetry missions. These airborne laser altimeters have been deployed for satellite instrument development, for spaceborne data validation, and to bridge the data gap between satellite missions. We used data from ground-based Global Positioning System (GPS) surveys of an 11km long track near Summit Station, Greenland, to assess the surface–elevation bias and measurement precision of three airborne laser altimeters including the Airborne Topographic Mapper (ATM), the Land, Vegetation, and Ice Sensor (LVIS), and the Multiple Altimeter Beam Experimental Lidar (MABEL). Ground-based GPS data from the monthly ground-based traverses, which commenced in 2006, allowed for the assessment of nine airborne lidar surveys associated with ATM and LVIS between 2007 and 2016. Surface–elevation biases for these altimeters – over the flat, ice-sheet interior – are less than 0.12m, while assessments of measurement precision are 0.09m or better. Ground-based GPS positions determined both with and without differential post-processing techniques provided internally consistent solutions. Results from the analyses of ground-based and airborne data provide validation strategy guidance for the Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite 2 (ICESat-2) elevation and elevation-change data products.

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This manuscript presents an analysis of NASA airborne lidar data based on in situ GPS measurements from the interior of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Results show that for two airborne altimeters, surface elevation biases are less than 0.12 m and measurement precisions are 0.09 m or better. The study concludes that two NASA airborne lidars are sufficiently characterized to form part of a satellite data validation strategy, specifically for ICESat-2, scheduled to launch in 2018.
This manuscript presents an analysis of NASA airborne lidar data based on in situ GPS...
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