Present Day Greenland

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Grid Details

Downloadable from this page are 5km resolution NetCDF files for Greenland using data from various sources interpolated, when necessary, onto the same polar stereographic projection grid.

A table of the Data Sources for Greenland.

Mapping for Greenland: Polar Stereographic(WGS84)
Standard Parallel    71.0
Latitude of Projection Origin   90.0
False Easting    0.0
False Northing    0.0
Straight Vertical Longitude from Pole   -39.0
Lower Left Corner X-Value   -800 km
Lower Left Corner Y-Value   -3400 km

Precipitation Maps

The precipitation maps below are courtesy of Bea Csatho and show the locations of data, and a comparison of the observation study and the Bromwich climate model.

Greenland: Stations Map.
Greenland: Colormaps of observational data.
Greenland: Model vs. observational data

Greenland Data Visuals

Greenland: . Greenland: .

Data Download

There are currently four different versions of the Greenland Present Day Data Set available:

Each of these data sets contains the fields listed below.

Data Fields:

  • Longitude
  • Latitude
  • Bed Topography (Bamber 2001) and bathymetry (Jakobsson et al. 2008). Data courtesy of Ed Bueler. See note 1 below.
  • Ice Thickness (Bamber 2001). See note 1 below.
  • Surface Elevaton (Bamber 2001). See note 1 below.
  • Mean Annual Near-surface (2 meter) Air Temperature. See note 2 below.
  • Mean Annual Precipitation. See note 2 below.
  • Basal Heat Flux (Shapiro and Ritzwoller 2004). Data courtesy of Ed Bueler.
  • Interferometrically Measured Surface Velocity (Joughin I., Smith B.E., Howat I.M., Scambos T., Moon T., "Greenland flow variability from ice-sheet wide velocity mapping", JGlac 56(197), 2010. Any publication of results based on this data should cite the above paper.)
  • Surface Balance Velocity - Created at the University of Montana by Jesse Johnson in July 2009.
  • Time Rate of Change of Ice Sheet Surface Height (Bea Csatho, Toni. Schenk, C.J. van der Veen, William B Krabill, Presented at the AGU 2009 Fall Meeting).
  • Land Cover (Bea Csatho, Toni. Schenk, C.J. van der Veen, William B Krabill, Presented at the AGU 2009 Fall Meeting).
  • Oxygen Isotopes Record and associated Temperature Time Series from the Greenland Ice Core Project (GRIP).


1. The bed topography in each of the three available data sets have been modified from that given by Bamber to incorporate the Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS) data in the Jakobshavn region. In the "Obsolescent" and "Standard" Data Sets local spatial averages of the CReSIS data were calculated for each 5km grid point. Values on the border of the region for which there is CReSIS data were assigned an average of the new values and the original values to decrease artificial gradients outside. The "Developmental" Data Set uses an algorithm developed by Ute Herzfeld which preserves the continuity and depth of the trough below the glacier. The changes to the bed topography in the Jakobshavn region also affect the ice thickness and upper surface fields. (The upper surface is only affected at a few grid points where the Cresis data places the topography above the original upper ice surface.)

note 1.1: When using the "Developmental" Data Set, the ice thickness values are not consistent with the surface and bed elevations in the Jakobshavns region--thus, the ice thickness values should be recalculated to ensure they are compatible with the surface and bed elevations.

note 1.2: The Bamber bedrock dataset prior to the inclusion of the fine scale CReSIS data in the Jakobshavn region ( is available under the October 28, 2009 entry in the change log.

note 1.3: The bedrock dataset was created for the purpose of the SeaRISE experiments. It has not been validated and should therefore be used with caution.

2. The climate data differs between the "Obsolescent" Data Set and the later "Standard" and "Developmental" Data Sets. The "Obsolescent" Data Set uses the temperature parameterization of Fausto et al (2009) and a juxtaposition of precipitation data provided by Evan Burgess (Burgess et al 2009) for regions where there is permanent ice with data provided by Bea Csatho (van der Veen, Bromwich, Csatho, and Kim 2001) for regions where there is not permanent ice. The later ("Standard" and "Developmental") Data Sets use climate data provided by Janneke Ettema (Ettema et al 2009). This data includes Runoff, Surface Mass Balance, and Surface Temperature fields in addition to the Two-meter Temperature and Precipitaion fields. Janneke Ettema (personal correspondence) provides the following comment: "I would recommend to use the surface temperature as boundary condition for ice dynamic model instead of the 2 meter temperature. They might differ significantly, especially for Greenland where Ts is limited to 0C and T2m could rise over the melting point. Furthermore, T2m is a result of interpolating the temperature at the lowest atmospheric model layer and the surface temperature using a certain lapse rate. The surface temperature is a direct result from the energy balance computed at the ice sheet surface."

  Greenland Obsolescent Data Set
  Greenland Standard Data Set
  Greenland Developmental Data Set
  Greenland for 2011 SeaRISE experiments

A description of recent changes to the Greenland data sets can be found in the change log.