1.2 NASA Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite-2 Applications in the Context of the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Monday, 23 January 2017: 11:15 AM
613 (Washington State Convention Center )
Sabrina Delgado Arias, NASA-GSFC/Science Systems and Applications, Inc., Greenbelt, MD; and V. M. Escobar, M. E. Brown, T. Neumann, M. F. Jasinski, and F. Policelli

NASA’s upcoming space-borne mission, the Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2), will provide multi-year elevations measurements of our Earth’s surfaces. It is designed to 1) quantify polar ice-sheet contribution to current and recent sea-level change and linkages to climate conditions; 2) quantify regional signatures of ice-sheet changes to assess mechanisms driving those changes and improve predictive ice sheet models; 3) estimate sea ice thickness to examine ice/ocean/atmosphere exchanges of energy, mass, and moisture; and 4) measure vegetation canopy height as a basis for estimating large-scale biomass change. As a global mission, the ICESat-2 project will also generate elevation data products for inland water, ocean and atmosphere.

In alignment with the United Nations (UN) Goal to, promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels, and more specifically with its Target 16.7 to, ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels, the ICESat-2 mission implements an Applications Program.  Since 2012, the ICESat-2 Applications Program has worked to understand how the planned mission observations can be transformed into useful information for more effective decisions and societal benefits. Through various engagement and outreach activities, as well as an Early Adopter program, the program facilitates dialogue between potential users of the mission data, project scientists, science definition team members, NASA Headquarters and the mission’s data distribution center. This dialogue clarifies how ICESat-2’s science data can be integrated, improved or leveraged to advance science objectives aligned with or beyond those of the mission, and in support of a range of decisions and actions of benefit to communities across the globe.

Latency, spatial and temporal resolutions are key data characteristics uniquely inherent to individual decision processes and operations; the ICESat-2 Early Adopter program facilitates the necessary feedback loops between the mission and user communities to clarify these characteristics for particular applications and to help redefine the paths for how the mission data can become actively relevant. Through a bi-annual approval process, the program selects groups and individuals who have a direct or clearly defined need for particular ICESat-2 data products; have an existing application or decision-making activity; and who are planning to apply their own resources (i.e., funding, personnel, facilities, etc.) to demonstrate the utility of ICESat-2 data for their specific application. The Early Adopters (EAs) may either be organizations who will use the data in decision making (end-users), or scientists/technical people in a science-based organization who will conduct the prelaunch research for an end-user and then work with the decision-making organization to ensure routine use of the new data. The ICESat-2 mission currently hosts 19 Early Adopters (as of July 2016). These Early Adopters are providing the mission with insights into how the data products could contribute to a range of applications including operational sea ice forecasting for Arctic shipping, global flood risk monitoring, and fire fuel mapping.

This presentation will provide an overview of the ICESat-2 Applications Program initiatives and highlight the Early Adopter research in the context of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We provide the ICESat-2 Applications Program as an example of how the NASA Earth science community is supporting use of its data, knowledge, models, and information products to contribute to achieving UN Goal 16. Since we expect that results from the Early Adopter research will also help advance other UN goals, in this presentation we will also provide examples of research-to-applications chains that can potentially be enhanced by ICESat-2 data and the corresponding UN Goals these may contribute to. More information on the ICESat-2 Applications Program can be found via the following link: http://icesat-2.gsfc.nasa.gov/applications

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