ICESat-II ICE, CLOUD, AND LAND ELEVATION SATELLITE II

LAUNCH: 2010–2013

MISSION SIZE: Medium

ORBIT: LEO, non-SSO

AGENCY: NASA

ESTIMATED COST: $300 million

AREAS OF INTEREST: Climate, Ecosystems, Water

INSTRUMENTS: Laser altimeter

BENEFITS:

Data on changes in ice sheet volume due to climate change to improve forecasts of sea-level rise

Data on land carbon storage to understand responses of vegetation to changing climate and land use

Laser altimetry is a proven method for measuring the height and inferring the volume of glaciers, ice sheets, and sea ice. The topographic data obtained by the ICESat mission since 2003 have led to the first basin-wide estimates of sea ice thickness, a critical measure for the Arctic Ocean in a warming climate. Although sea ice extent has been monitored by satellite since the 1970s, no comparable record exists for ice thickness. Laser altimetry is also the preferred technique for measuring ice volume over large areas and long time periods. It has also proven useful for measuring the depth of forest canopies, an indicator of biomass.


ICESat-II will extend the unique record of ICESat into the next decade to provide data that, together with the data provided by GRACE-II (see page 17), will enable scientists to monitor both the mass and the thickness of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets and clarify their contributions to sea-level rise. ICESat-II will also complement the ice data from DESDynI (see page 13) and contribute to studies of vegetation.

The payload will include a single-channel lidar with GPS navigation and pointing capability to allow for repeated high-accuracy sampling of ice elevation. Limitations to the lidar technology now being used in ICESat will be corrected in ICESat-II.



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earth Science and applicatiOnS frOm Space  ICESat-II ICE, CLOUD, AND LAND ELEVATION SATELLITE II LAUNCH: 2010–2013 MISSION SIZE: medium ORBIT: Leo, non-sso AGENCY: nasa ESTIMATED COST: $300 million AREAS OF INTEREST: Climate, ecosystems, Water INSTRUMENTS: Laser altimeter BENEFITS: Data on changes in ice sheet volume due to climate change to improve forecasts of sea-level rise Data on land carbon storage to understand responses of vegetation to changing climate and land use Laser altimetry is a proven method for measuring the height and inferring the volume of glaciers, ice sheets, and sea ice. the topo- graphic data obtained by the iCesat mission since 2003 have led to the first basin-wide estimates of sea ice thickness, a critical measure for the arctic ocean in a warming climate. although sea ice extent has been monitored by satellite since the 1970s, no comparable record exists for ice thickness. Laser altimetry is also the preferred tech- nique for measuring ice volume over large areas and long time periods. it has also proven useful for measuring the depth of forest canopies, an indicator of biomass. iCesat-ii will extend the unique record of iCesat into the next decade to provide data that, together with the data provided by GRaCe-ii (see page 17), will enable scientists to monitor both the mass and the thickness of the Greenland and antarctic ice sheets and clarify their contributions to sea-level rise. iCesat-ii will also complement the ice data from DesDyni (see page 13) and contribute to studies of vegetation. the payload will include a single- channel lidar with GPs navigation and pointing capability to allow for repeated high-accuracy sampling of ice elevation. Limitations to the lidar technology now being used in iCesat will be corrected in iCesat-ii.