Variability in the ice sheet elevations over Antarctica derived from repetitive SARAL/AltiKa radar altimeter data (2013–2016)

  • Maya Raghunath SuryawanshiEmail author
  • Shard Chander
  • Sandip R Oza
  • I M Bahuguna


Changes in surface elevations of polar ice sheets are the result of changes in ice dynamics and surface mass balance. Here, we present intra- and inter-annual elevation changes over the Antarctic ice sheet using the AltiKa radar altimeter’s 40 Hz geophysical data record products for the period 2013–2016. Slope corrections were applied on the elevations using a digital elevation model (DEM) available from NASA’s ice, cloud and land elevation satellite (ICESat). Comparison of elevations from AltiKa and ICESat’s DEM yielded correlation, bias and root-mean-square-deviation values of the order of 0.99, −2.88 and 23.04 m, respectively, indicating the first-level accuracy of a former dataset. Further comparison of Airborne Topographic Mapper dataset with AltiKa derived elevation yielded 0.4 m root-mean-square-deviation over a part of Vostok subglacial lake. The intra-annual change indicates that for GY2 (glaciological year), GY3 and GY4, number of negative elevation change points exceeded the number of positive elevation change points during the Antarctic austral summer period (December–February). Inter-annual elevation changes were negative during 2013–2014 and positive during 2014–2015 over east Antarctica, whereas in west Antarctica negative elevation changes were observed for both periods.


Antarctica ice sheet elevation change SARAL/AltiKa 



We express our gratitude to Shri Tapan Misra, Director, Space Applications Centre (SAC)–ISRO, Ahmedabad, India, for encouraging us to carry out polar science studies. In addition, the encouragement and directions given by Dr Rajkumar, Deputy Director, EPSA-SAC-ISRO, are duly acknowledged and appreciated. We also thank Dr A S Rajawat, Group Director, GHCAG-EPSA-SAC-ISRO, for the support given to us during the work.


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Copyright information

© Indian Academy of Sciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maya Raghunath Suryawanshi
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Shard Chander
    • 1
  • Sandip R Oza
    • 1
    • 2
  • I M Bahuguna
    • 1
  1. 1.Space Applications Centre (ISRO)AhmedabadIndia
  2. 2.Department of Physics, Electronics and Space ScienceGujarat UniversityAhmedabadIndia

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