18 Feb 2022
18 Feb 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

British Antarctic Survey’s Aerogeophysical Data: Releasing 25 Years of Airborne Gravity, Magnetic, and Radar Datasets over Antarctica

Alice C. Frémand1,, Julien A. Bodart1,2,, Tom A. Jordan1, Fausto Ferraccioli1,3, Carl Robinson1, Hugh F. J. Corr1, Helen J. Peat1, Robert G. Bingham2, and David G. Vaughan1 Alice C. Frémand et al.
  • 1British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, UK
  • 2School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  • 3Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale, Trieste, Italy
  • These authors contributed equally to this work.

Abstract. Over the past 50 years, the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) has been one of the major acquirers of aerogeophysical data over Antarctica, providing scientists with gravity, magnetic and radar datasets that have been central to many studies of the past, present, and future evolution of the Antarctic Ice Sheet. Until recently, many of these datasets were unpublished in full, restricting further usage of the data for different applications such as gravity inversions, bed-reflectivity analysis, and englacial-layer tracking. Starting in 2020, scientists and data managers at the British Antarctic Survey have worked on standardising and releasing large swaths of aerogeophysical data acquired during the period 1994–2020, including a total of 64 datasets from 24 different surveys, amounting to ~450,000 line-km (or 5.3 million km2) of data across West Antarctica, East Antarctica, and the Antarctic Peninsula. Amongst these are the extensive surveys over the fast-changing Pine Island (BBAS 2004-05) and Thwaites (ITGC 2018-20) glacier catchments, and the first ever surveys of the Wilkes Subglacial Basin (WISE-ISODYN 2005-06) and Gamburtsev Subglacial Mountains (AGAP 2007-09). Considerable effort has been made to standardise these datasets to comply with the FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Re-Usable) data principles, as well as to create the Polar Airborne Geophysics Data Portal (, which serves as a user-friendly interface to interact with and download the newly published data. This paper reviews how these datasets were acquired and processed, presents the methods used to standardise them, and introduces the new data-portal infrastructure and interactive tutorials that were created to improve the accessibility of the data. Lastly, we exemplify future potential uses of the datasets by extracting information on the continuity of englacial layering from the fully processed radar data. We believe this newly released data will be a valuable asset to future geophysical and glaciological studies over Antarctica and will extend significantly the life cycle of the data. All datasets included in this data release are now fully accessible at:

Alice C. Frémand et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on essd-2022-49', Anonymous Referee #1, 08 Apr 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on essd-2022-49', Neil Ross, 09 May 2022

Alice C. Frémand et al.

Data sets

Discovery Metadata System British Antarctic Survey (BAS)

Alice C. Frémand et al.


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Short summary
This paper presents the release of large swaths of airborne geophysical data (including gravity, magnetics and radar) acquired between 1994 and 2020. This includes a total of 64 datasets from 24 different surveys, amounting to > 30 % of coverage over the Antarctic Ice Sheet. The paper discusses how this data was acquired and processed, and presents the methods used to standardise and publish the data in an interactive and reproducible manner.