Over the past 50 years, the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) has been one of the significant acquirers of aero geophysical data over Antarctica, providing scientists with gravity, magnetic, and radar datasets that have been central to many studies of the past, present, and future evolution of the Antarctic Ice Sheet.
Until recently, many of these datasets were not openly available, restricting further usage of the data for different glaciological and geophysical applications.
Starting in 2020, scientists and data managers at BAS have worked on standardizing and releasing large swaths of aerogeophysical data acquired during the period 1994–2020, including a total of 64 datasets from 24 different surveys, amounting to ∼ 450000 line-km (or 5.3 million km2) of data across West Antarctica, East Antarctica, and the Antarctic Peninsula. Amongst these are the extensive surveys over the fast-changing Pine Island (BBAS 2004–2005) and Thwaites (ITGC 2018–2019 & 2019–2020) glacier catchments, and the first ever surveys of the Wilkes Subglacial Basin (WISE-ISODYN 2005–2006) and Gamburtsev Subglacial Mountains (AGAP 2007–2009).
Considerable effort has been made to standardize these datasets to comply with the FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable and re-usable) data principles, as well as to create the Polar Airborne Geophysics Data Portal, which serves as a user-friendly interface to interact with and download the newly published data.
This paper reviews how these datasets were acquired and processed, presents the methods used to standardize them, and introduces the new data portal and interactive tutorials that were created to improve the accessibility of the data.
Lastly, we exemplify future potential uses of the aerogeophysical datasets by extracting information on the continuity of englacial layering from the fully published airborne radar data. We believe these newly released data will be a valuable asset to future glaciological and geophysical studies over Antarctica and will significantly extend the life cycle of the data. All datasets included in this data release are now fully accessible at https://data.bas.ac.uk (British Antarctic Survey, 2022).