with Alek Petty, NASA GSFC/UMD

When: 17th November 2021 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM MST

NASA’s ICESat-2 laser altimetry mission is revolutionizing our understanding of the polar regions including its fast-changing sea ice cover. ICESat-2, launched in fall 2018, has been specially designed for advanced sea ice profiling due its combination of high resolution (<20 m), high precision (< 2 cm over flat surfaces) and dense (10 kHz, overlapping shots) along-track sampling across a novel 3 beam pair configuration – enabling us to accurately monitor small-scale freeboard variability across both polar oceans from space. ICESat-2 also benefits from dense polar coverage (profiling up to 88 degrees N/S) and has collected year-round data with minimal downtime since production started in October 2018.

In this talk I present an overview of recent developments in profiling sea ice and polar ocean state variables from ICESat-2 (freeboard, thickness, floe size, sea surface height, wave activity) and on-going efforts to validate these data and reconcile them with estimates produced from other satellite datasets (e.g., CryoSat-2). I will also present the three winters of sea ice thickness estimates obtained by ICESat-2 since 2018 (with snow loading estimates provided by the NASA Eulerian Snow on Sea Ice Model) and a brief discussion of atmospheric drivers of these differences.


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