A full coverage, high-resolution, topographic model of Greenland computed from a variety of digital elevation data


  • Simon Ekholm


In this paper, a new high-resolution elevation model of Greenland, including the ice sheet as well as the ice free regions, is presented. It is the first published full coverage model, computed with an average resolution of 2 km and providing an unprecedented degree of detail. The topography is modeled from a wide selection of data sources, including satellite radar altimetry from Geosat and ERS 1, airborne radar altimetry and airborne laser altimetry over the ice sheet, and photogrammetric and manual map scannings in the ice free region. The ice sheet model accuracy is evaluated by omitting airborne laser data from the analysis and treating them as ground truth observations. The mean accuracy of the ice sheet elevations is estimated to be 12–13 m, and it is found that on surfaces of a slope between 0.2° and 0.8°, corresponding to approximately 50% of the ice sheet, the model presents a 40% improvement over models based on satellite altimetry alone. On coastal bedrock, the model is compared with stereo triangulated reference points, and it is found that the model accuracy is of the order of 25–35 m in areas covered by stereo photogrammetry scannings and between 200 and 250 m elsewhere.