Meteorological and Environmental Satellite Observing Systems: From 50 Years Ago to 15 Years Ahead
14th Symposium on Integrated Observing and Assimilation Systems for the Atmosphere, Oceans, and Land Surface (IOAS-AOLS)
6th Annual Symposium on Future National Operational Environmental Satellite Systems-NPOESS and GOES-R


Ice Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2): Science and implementation

Waleed Abdalati, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO

Over the past decade, satellites and aircraft measurements have revealed remarkable changes in the Earth's polar ice cover. The impacts of these changes, which include dramatic ice loss from ice sheets and rapid declines in Arctic sea ice, could be quite high in terms of sea level rise and global climate. NASA's Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) is specifically intended to quantify the amount of change in ice sheets and sea ice and provide key insights into their behavior. It will achieve these objectives through the use of precise laser measurements of surface elevation, building on the groundbreaking capabilities of its predecessor, ICESat. In particular, ICESat-2 will measure the temporal and spatial character of ice sheet elevation change to enable assessment of ice sheet mass balance and examination of the underlying mechanisms that control it. The precision of ICESat-2's elevation measurement will also allow for accurate measurements of sea ice freeboard height, from which sea ice thickness and its temporal changes can be estimated. ICESat-2 will provide important information on other components of the Earth System as well, most notably large-scale vegetation biomass estimates through the measurement of vegetation canopy height. When combined with the original ICESat observations, ICESat-2 will provide ice change measurements across more than a 15-year time span, and its significantly improved laser system will also provide observations with much greater spatial resolution, temporal resolution, and accuracy than has ever been possible before.

Recorded presentation

Joint Session 7, Meteorological and Environmental Satellite Observing Systems: …to 15 Years Ahead (II)
Tuesday, 19 January 2010, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM, B313

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