The reference elevation model of antarctica

Ian M. Howat, Claire Porter, Benjamin E. Smith, Myoung Jong Noh, Paul Morin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

370 Scopus citations


The Reference Elevation Model of Antarctica (REMA) is the first continental-scale digital elevation model (DEM) at a resolution of less than 10 m. REMA is created from stereophotogrammetry with submeter resolution optical, commercial satellite imagery. The higher spatial and radiometric resolutions of this imagery enable high-quality surface extraction over the low-contrast ice sheet surface. The DEMs are registered to satellite radar and laser altimetry and are mosaicked to provide a continuous surface covering nearly 95 % the entire continent. The mosaic includes an error estimate and a time stamp, enabling change measurement. Typical elevation errors are less than 1 m, as validated by the comparison to airborne laser altimetry. REMA provides a powerful new resource for Antarctic science and provides a proof of concept for generating accurate high-resolution repeat topography at continental scales.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)665-674
Number of pages10
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 26 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements. This work was supported by US National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs grants 1543501 to Ian M. Howat and 1559691 to Paul Morin. High-performance computing resources were provided by the National Center for Supercomputer Applications at the University of Illinois.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Copernicus GmbH.All Rights Reserved.


Dive into the research topics of 'The reference elevation model of antarctica'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this