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Remote Sens. 2016, 8(9), 772; doi:10.3390/rs8090772

Analysis of MABEL Bathymetry in Keweenaw Bay and Implications for ICESat-2 ATLAS

1
School of Civil and Construction Engineering, Oregon State University, 101 Kearney Hall, 1491 SW Campus Way, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA
1
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA
1
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA
1
Cryospheric Sciences Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA
1
National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping, University of Houston, Houston, TX, USA
1
University of New Hampshire, Department of Earth Sciences, Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Raphael M. Kudela, Xiaofeng Li and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 3 August 2016 / Revised: 4 September 2016 / Accepted: 14 September 2016 / Published: 19 September 2016
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [7255 KB, uploaded 19 September 2016]   |  

Abstract

In 2018, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is scheduled to launch the Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2), with a new six-beam, green-wavelength, photon-counting lidar system, Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS). The primary objectives of the ICESat-2 mission are to measure ice-sheet elevations, sea-ice thickness, and global biomass. However, if bathymetry can be reliably retrieved from ATLAS data, this could assist in addressing a key data need in many coastal and inland water body areas, including areas that are poorly-mapped and/or difficult to access. Additionally, ATLAS-derived bathymetry could be used to constrain bathymetry derived from complementary data, such as passive, multispectral imagery and synthetic aperture radar (SAR). As an important first step in evaluating the ability to map bathymetry from ATLAS, this study involves a detailed assessment of bathymetry from the Multiple Altimeter Beam Experimental Lidar (MABEL), NASA’s airborne ICESat-2 simulator, flown on the Earth Resources 2 (ER-2) high-altitude aircraft. An interactive, web interface, MABEL Viewer, was developed and used to identify bottom returns in Keweenaw Bay, Lake Superior. After applying corrections for refraction and channel-specific elevation biases, MABEL bathymetry was compared against National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) data acquired two years earlier. The results indicate that MABEL reliably detected bathymetry in depths of up to 8 m, with a root mean square (RMS) difference of 0.7 m, with respect to the reference data. Additionally, a version of the lidar equation was developed for predicting bottom-return signal levels in MABEL and tested using the Keweenaw Bay data. Future work will entail extending these results to ATLAS, as the technical specifications of the sensor become available. View Full-Text
Keywords: MABEL; ICESat-2; ATLAS; photon-counting lidar; bathymetric lidar; Keweenaw Bay; Lake Superior MABEL; ICESat-2; ATLAS; photon-counting lidar; bathymetric lidar; Keweenaw Bay; Lake Superior
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Forfinski-Sarkozi, N.A.; Parrish, C.E. Analysis of MABEL Bathymetry in Keweenaw Bay and Implications for ICESat-2 ATLAS. Remote Sens. 2016, 8, 772.

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