ICESat-2 over Sea Ice: Early Results

The webinar focused on one of NASA’s science objectives for the ICESat-2 altimetry mission—to provide observations to quantify changes and to add to previous satellite and airborne records of freeboard, thickness, and sea surface height of the ice-covered Arctic and Southern Oceans (e.g., from ICESat, Operation IceBridge, and CryoSat-2, etc.). ATLAS, a multi-beam photon-counting lidar, the sole instrument on the ICESat-2 observatory, launched in September 2018, provides a rich altimetric dataset of multiple profiles of the ice and ocean surfaces. In this talk, Ron Kwok talked about the capabilities of the multi-beam instrument based on data acquired thus far over the Arctic and Antarctic ice covers. In particular, he showed the precision in the retrieved surface heights over relatively flat surface, the spatial resolution of the height estimates, the time-varying freeboard estimates and sea surface height anomalies over a seasonal cycle, and assessments of the retrievals when compared with airborne and field acquisitions.

Webinar Presenters:
Ron Kwok, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the ICESat-2 Team


Ron Kwok is a Senior Research Scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena California. His research interests include the mass and energy balance of the Arctic and Southern Ocean ice cover and the role of the sea ice in global climate, with current focus on the analysis of thickness, small-scale sea ice kinematics, time varying gravity from various spaceborne and airborne instruments.

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