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What was the purpose of PolarGap?

Survey team at the South Pole
The survey team at the South Pole, after the last PolarGap flight on 19 January 2016

The ESA PolarGap airborne gravity, lidar/radar and aeromagnetic survey was carried out in Antarctica in the field season 2015/16.

The primary aim of PolarGAP was to fill in the GOCE southern polar gap with new high-quality airborne gravity data, and the associated estimation of gravity gradients at altitude, as well as collecting Ku-band radar data (ASIRAS) in a smaller area at the southern limits of the CryoSat orbit, to get data on radar penetration into the snow and firn, in order to improve understanding of apparent anomalies in elevation changes in the region.

In addition, aeromagnetic and ice-penetrating radar data were collected on an opportunistic basis, providing additional datasets of relevance to the Swarm mission and augmenting continental scale compilations such as BEDMAP 2 and ADMAP 2.

What was the outcome of PolarGap?

The PolarGap 2015/16 survey was a major success, with nearly 100% of planned data acquired, relative to the campaign implementation plan. The campaign was – in addition to ESA – supported by in-kind contributions of the British Antarctic Survey, DTU Space, the Norwegian Polar Institute, as well as the US National Science Foundation, the latter providing access and fuel at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, a key logistics element for successfully accomplishing the mission goals.

Download PolarGap Final Report

Campaign Summary
Data Coverage (Years)2015-2016
Release DateNovember 2018
Geographic SiteAntarctica
Field of ApplicationAirborne altimetry, gravity, lidar and magnetic data SAR
Data Size~2 GB
LIDAR DataAvailable

Digital Object Identifier: - PolarGap: "Filling the GOCE polar gap in Antarctica and ASIRAS flight around South Pole"


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