Antarctic Ice Shelf Data


The U.S. National Ice Center (USNIC) maintains an Antarctic ice shelf file that integrates with the coast to give an accurate depiction of the Antarctic coast/ice shelf boundary. As the Antarctic ice shelf is constantly changing through calving and growth, it becomes important to USNIC to update and utilize a current ice shelf to integrate with its ice analysis. This is provided here in a GIS shapefile format. Updates will be implemented roughly every 2 years, but not on a rigid time frame.


This polygon shapefile depicts year-round ice shelves and ice tongues in Antarctica. Data does not include seasonal sea ice which extends much farther around the entire continent, and that can vary considerably day to day. Land data is included for context. Ice edges were manually digitized from high resolution satellite based images from a variety of sensors, including MODIS, Sentinel, and RADARSAT-2, by experienced sea ice analysts at the US National Ice Center in Washington, DC, USA. This data has been extracted from the USNIC PRODUCTION geodatabase, where it constitutes the basic contextual data for all USNIC Antarctic sea ice data, including the regular Daily and Weekly sea ice products. Data is updated periodically, as required.


Esri shapefile with polygons representing Antarctic ice shelfs and land features, identified by the POLY_TYPE field ('S' or 'L' respectively). Coordinate system is WGS 1984 Stereographic South Pole projection, based on the WGS84 datum. Central Meridian = 180.0 degrees, Standard Parallel = -60.0 degrees. False Easting = 0.0, False Northing = 0.0.


United States National Ice Center

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West -180.000000 East 180.000000
North -56.781858 South -90.000000

Other citation details

Medium resolution vector polygons of the Antarctic coastline (2014) [Data set]. UK Polar Data Centre, Natural Environment Research Council, UK Research & Innovation. Generalized to a 800 meter tolerance using a Bend Simplify algorithm based on Wang, Zeshen and Müller, Jean-Claude, "Line Generalization Based on Analysis of Shape Characteristics," Cartography and Geographic Information Systems 25(1), 3–15 (1998).

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