Altimetry Data Analysis in Support of the ICESat-2 Science Definition Team

MeasConcept 6 Beam MultilaserICESat-2 is a satellite mission under development by NASA for launch in 2015.  It will make measurements of ice sheet elevations in Antarctica over a 3-5 year period, to accurately the shape of the ice sheet, and to show how the ice sheet is changing over time.  As the satellite is developed, the science definition team, made up of researchers from NASA and from several different universities, provides direction as to what scientific questions the satellite measurements must address.  APL researcher Ben Smith has joined the team to investigate how best to tailor the measurements to the characteristics of ice sheet surfaces; by analyzing data collected with previous satellite altimeters and with instruments carried on airplanes, he seeks to understand the patterns of elevation change occurring on the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, and how best to design the satellite measurements to capture these patterns.