At this month’s Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), faculty and researchers from the Department of Geographical Sciences are highlighting how NASA’s ICESat-2 is helping to understand aspects of the Earth, well beyond what the satellite mission was initially intended to do.
Since launch in 2018, ICESat-2 has been precisely measuring the height of the ice sheets and sea ice at Earth’s poles as well as forest canopies across the globe. But, because it operates using green light, the laser altimeter on ICEsat-2 can also “see” through water! This is helping researchers determine the depth of melt ponds that pool on Arctic sea ice floes, and Antarctic ice shelves, in summer. The technology is also contributing to new maps of seafloor bathymetry in shallow coastal regions around the world, where researchers are investigating coral reefs and mangroves.
GEOG scientists, including Laura Duncanson, John Armston, Tuo Feng, David Minor, Hao Tang, Michelle Hofton, Lei Ma, George Hurtt, Ralph Dubayah, Molly Brown and Sinead Farrell, delivered presentations on their latest ICESat-2 results at the AGU meeting:
- Boreal Forest Aboveground Biomass Estimation with ICESat-2
- Integrating GEDI, ICESat-1 and -2 to Characterize Vegetation Structure Dynamics: DOs and DON'Ts
- Actionable Earth Observations: Lessons Learned from NASA’s ICESat-2 Applications Program
- Exploring High-resolution Observations of Arctic Sea Ice with ICESat-2
- High-Resolution Sea Ice Topography from ICESat-2
- ICESat-2 observations of melt ponds on Arctic sea ice
See also a NASA press release highlighting the work of GEOG's Dr. Sinead Farrell, among others, who are studying ICESat-2.