National Academies Press: OpenBook

Satellite Observations to Benefit Science and Society: Recommended Missions for the Next Decade (2008)

Chapter: DESDynI, Deformation, Ecosystem Structure, and Dynamics of Ice

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Suggested Citation:"DESDynI, Deformation, Ecosystem Structure, and Dynamics of Ice ." National Research Council. 2008. Satellite Observations to Benefit Science and Society: Recommended Missions for the Next Decade. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11952.
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Page 13

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Earth Science and Applications from Space 13 DESDynI Deformation, Ecosystem Structure, and Dynamics of Ice Launch: 2010–2013 Mission size: Large Orbit: LEO, SSO Agency: NASA Estimated cost: $700 million Areas of interest: Solid Earth, Ecosystems, Climate, Health, Water Instruments:  -band interferometric synthetic aperture radar, L laser altimeter Benefits:  Observations of the effects of changing climate and land use on species habitats, ecosystems, and carbon storage in vegetation Data on the response of ice sheets to climate change and the resulting impact on sea level Improved forecasts of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and landslides Changes in the height of features on Earth’s surface serve as important indicators of crucial geophysical processes. Surface deformation is linked directly to earth- quakes, volcanic eruptions, and landslides; it can also occur when fluids are injected underground to stimulate production from oil and gas reserves. Ice sheets deform in response to changes in temperature and precipitation, providing clues to large-scale melt that can raise global sea levels. The changing height of a forest canopy can serve as a proxy for the amount of carbon it stores. Each of these variables will be assessed globally through DESDynI. The key instrument is an inter- ferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR). The InSAR’s resolution of better than 35 meters will allow it to depict tectonic faults and surface deformation with high precision. These data will help scientists to better calculate the near-surface strain that accumulates between earthquakes, the migration of magma toward volcanos, and the kinematics of landslides. InSAR data will also help document the dynamics that shape the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, as well as their melt rates and resulting sea-level rise. The second DESDynI instrument is a multibeam laser altimeter, operating in the infrared range. It will collect data from specific points on Earth’s surface to supplement the InSAR’s broader sweep. Together, the instruments will be able to characterize the three- dimensional structure of forests, from which estimates of carbon storage can be obtained.

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Satellite Observations to Benefit Science and Society: Recommended Missions for the Next Decade brings the next ten years into focus for the Earth and environmental science community with a prioritized agenda of space programs, missions, and supporting activities that will best serve scientists in the next decade. These missions will address a broad range of societal needs, such as more reliable weather forecasts, early earthquake warnings, and improved pollution management, benefiting both scientific discovery and the health and well-being of society.

Based on the 2007 book, Earth Science and Applications from Space: National Imperatives for the Next Decade and Beyond, this book explores each of the seventeen recommended missions in detail, identifying launch dates, responsible agencies, estimated cost, scientific and public benefits, and more. Printed entirely in color, the book features rich photographs and illustrations, tables, and graphs that will keep the attention of scientists and non-scientists alike.

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