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Global Vegetation Height Frequency Distributions (v1.1) from the ICESAT GLAS instrument produced under NCEO

Update Frequency: Not Planned
Latest Data Update: 2015-06-23
Status: Completed
Online Status: ONLINE
Publication State: Published
Publication Date: 2015-06-28
Download Stats: last 12 months
Dataset Size: 2 Files | 140MB


This dataset provides global (between 60 S and 80 N) vegetation height (or object height) frequency distributions per half by half degree longitude and latitude derived from ICESAT Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) waveform data.

This version 1.1 data was produced as part of the National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO)

Citable as:  National Centre for Earth Observation; Los, S.O. (2015): Global Vegetation Height Frequency Distributions (v1.1) from the ICESAT GLAS instrument produced under NCEO. Centre for Environmental Data Analysis, date of citation.
Abbreviation: Not defined
Keywords: NCEO;, vegetation, height


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Use of these data is covered by the following licence: When using these data you must cite them correctly using the citation given on the CEDA Data Catalogue record.
Data lineage:

Data prepared by authors and sent to NERC Earth Observations Data Centre (NEODC) for archiving. Data files are checked for CF conventions compliance.

Data Quality:
See dataset associated documentation
File Format:
Data are netCDF formatted

Process overview

This dataset was generated by a combination of instruments deployed on platforms and computations as detailed below.

Computation Element: 1

Title Procedure used to derive vegetation height frequency distributions from the ICESAT Geoscience Laser Altitmeter System (GLAS) dataset
Abstract Vegetation height is derived from the ICESAT Geoscience Laser Altitmeter System (GLAS) waveform data from the GLA14 product release 31. This product contains the decomposition of waveforms in up to 6 Gaussians. Height is estimated from the difference between the first return, indicative of the top of the vegetation canopy or object, and the ground return. Ground return is estimated from the lowest of the two gaussians. The Gaussian with maximum amplitude of the last two Gaussians is thought to represent the ground return (Rosette et al. 2008). Spurious data were eliminated by applying a set of filters. Filters test for slope, difference in elevation between the wave form and the ground (indicative of clouds) and signal strength. An adjustment is applied for the shape of the last Gaussian. Further details can be found in Los et al 2012.
Input Description None
Output Description None
Software Reference None
Output Description


  • units: m
  • var_id: height
  • long_name: 90th_percentile_of_vegetation_height
  • standard_name: canopy_height
  • names: 90th_percentile_of_vegetation_height, canopy_height
  • units: m
  • standard_name: canopy_height
  • var_id: centreHeightInterval
  • names: canopy_height
  • var_id: frequency
  • units: count
  • long_name: frequency_distribution_of_vegetation_height_per_half_by_half_degree
  • names: frequency_distribution_of_vegetation_height_per_half_by_half_degree

Co-ordinate Variables

  • units: degree_north
  • standard_name: latitude
  • var_id: latitude
  • names: latitude
  • units: degree_east
  • standard_name: longitude
  • var_id: longitude
  • names: longitude
Temporal Range
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Geographic Extent