Antarctic topography from balloons

Nadav Levanon*, Paul R. Julian, Verner E. Suomi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


ANTARCTIC ice surface elevation maps are far from being complete, due to the difficulties in applying regular surveying and mapping techniques in Antarctica. A new wealth of ice sheet surface topography data is now available, from many balloons, floating at an altitude of about 12.5 km, which traversed the Antarctic during its 1975 summer. These balloons were part of 411 constant density balloons launched in the Southern Hemisphere during the Tropical Wind, Energy conversion and Reference Level Experiment (TWERLE)1. Each balloon carries three sensors: radio altimeter2, pressure sensor 3 and ambient temperature sensor. The balloon transmits data once per minute, as long as its solar panel is sufficiently illuminated4. The data are received by the Random Access Measuring System (RAMS)5 on board the NIMBUS-6 satellite, whenever the balloon is within line of sight.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)514-516
Number of pages3
Issue number5620
StatePublished - 1977


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