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Python tools for obtaining and working with ICESat-2 data

GitHub license Conda install Pypi install All Contributors JOSS publication link and DOI

Latest release (main branch): Docs Status main Travis main Build Status Code Coverage main

Current development version (development branch): Docs Status dev Travis dev Build Status Code Coverage dev status

Origin and Purpose

icepyx is both a software library and a community composed of ICESat-2 data users, developers, and the scientific community. We are working together to develop a shared library of resources - including existing resources, new code, tutorials, and use-cases/examples - that simplify the process of querying, obtaining, analyzing, and manipulating ICESat-2 and (via the QUEST module) relevant ancillary datasets to enable scientific discovery.

icepyx aims to provide a clearinghouse for code, functionality to improve interoperability, documentation, examples, and educational resources that tackle disciplinary research questions while minimizing the amount of repeated effort across groups utilizing similar datasets. icepyx also hopes to foster collaboration, open-science, and reproducible workflows by integrating and sharing resources.

Many of the underlying tools from which icepyx was developed began as Jupyter Notebooks developed for and during the cryosphere-themed ICESat-2 Hackweek at the University of Washington in June 2019 or as scripts written and used by the ICESat-2 Science Team members. Originally called icesat2py, the project combined and generalized these scripts into a unified framework, adding examples, documentation, and testing where necessary and making them accessible for everyone. Similar scripts were conceived at the 2021 Hackweek, which in turn led to the development of QUEST. icepyx is now a domain-agnostic, standalone software package and community (under the broader icesat2py GitHub organization) that continues to build functionality for obtaining and working with ICESat-2 data products locally and in the cloud. It also improves interoperability for ICESat-2 datasets with other open-source tools.


The simplest way to install icepyx is by using the conda package manager. Conda install

conda install icepyx

Alternatively, you can also install icepyx using pip. Pypi install

pip install icepyx

More detailed instructions for installing icepyx can be found at

Examples (Jupyter Notebooks)

Listed below are example Jupyter notebooks for working with ICESat-2 (IS2).








Citing icepyx

This community and software is developed with the goal of supporting science applications. Thus, our contributors (including those who have developed the packages used within icepyx) and maintainers justify their efforts and demonstrate the impact of their work through citations. Please see CITATION.rst for additional citation information.


Working with ICESat-2 data and have ideas you want to share? Have a great suggestion or recommendation of something you'd like to see implemented and want to find out if others would like that tool too? Come join the conversation at: Search for "icesat-2" under the "science" topic to find us.


We welcome and invite contributions to icepyx from anyone at any career stage and with any amount of coding experience! Check out our contribution guidelines to see how you can contribute.

Please note that this project is released with a Contributor Code of Conduct. By participating in this project you agree to abide by its terms. Contributor Covenant

Research notice

Please note that this repository is participating in a study into sustainability of open source projects. Data will be gathered about this repository for approximately the next 12 months, starting from June 2021.

Data collected will include number of contributors, number of PRs, time taken to close/merge these PRs, and issues closed.

For more information, please visit the informational page or download the participant information sheet.