ICESat2 – Measuring the Height of the Earth One Photon at a Time
by Kaitlin Harbeck, on behalf of the ICESat-2 Project & Science Team
About the talk
NASA’s next generation laser altimeter mission, the Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2), launched on 15 September 2018, carrying the Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS) as its sole payload. ICESat-2 is the planned successor of the ICESat mission, which was on orbit from 2003 to 2009; ICESat-2 was designated as a top priority in the NASA Earth Science Decadal Survey in 2007. ATLAS is a photon-counting lidar that directs laser beams (532 nm) at the Earth’s surface, fires a stream of light 10,000 times per second, and measures the distance between the illuminated ground surface and the instrument by precisely measuring individual photon times of flight. ICESat-2 has a 91-day repeat orbit cycle and a 92-degree inclination, providing the scientific community with satellite laser altimetry data closer to the Earth’s poles (88 N/S) than ever before. ICESat-2 is well on its way to meeting its primary science requirements for measuring ice sheet elevation, sea ice freeboard, and vegetation canopy height. While ICESat-2’s primary science objectives are listed above, the mission has proven exceptional in observing and measuring near-shore bathymetry, atmospheric phenomena such as smoke from wildfires, and dynamic ocean topography. ICESat-2 has made more than one trillion measurements to date, and the data is available for public use from the NASA DAAC at the National Snow & Ice Data Center. In this presentation, I’ll discuss a general mission overview and status, interesting science results that have been published using ICESat-2 data, and information on the ICESat-2 data products that are available to the public via NSIDC.
About the speaker
Kaitlin Harbeck is the data product manager for the ICESat-2 Project Science Office at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD. She coordinates the communications between software developers and the ICESat-2 mission science team, disseminates critical mission news/updates/status to the science team and other collaborators, gathers and distributes critical documentation from the ICESat-2 data product leads for distribution with data products at the NASA DAAC at the National Snow & Ice Data Center, organizes deliveries of data from development at NASA GSFC to the NSIDC, and other general coordination/communications between the ICESat-2 Project Science Office and the science team. Kaitlin has a M.Sc. in Earth sciences from Ohio State University (2011) and a B.Sc. in geography from Penn State University (2009).