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Climate Variability & Change

This proposal is to serve on the ICESat-II Science Definition team. In support of this work, I will analyze ICESat-1 data from Antarctica and Greenland. I will focus on how seasonally changing surface and cloud conditions on Greenland have altered the ICESat waveform, producing fine-scale variability in apparent surface height, and how temporally-varying cloud conditions in West Antarctica have allowed or prevented retrieval of surface heights. I will use surface elevation data sets from airborne surveys of Pine Island Glacier, Thwaites Glacier, and Greenland outlet glaciers, as well as remotely-sensed Antarctic slope information. These data all overlap in time with the ICESat-I data, providing both high-resolution surface slope information and a baseline elevation estimate, with which ICESat-1 elevations can be differenced to derive elevation change patterns. These data will be processed to obtain surface slope variability at scales of one kilometer or less, and the Greenland data will be processed to obtain surface roughness at the scale of individual ICESat footprints. At the same time, the ICESat data will be processed to give rates of elevation change and surface slopes, both for sections of individual ground tracks and for crossing ground tracks where the full surface slope vector can be estimated. The consistency of the elevation change rates, as well as goodness-of-fit parameters at the crossing points, will demonstrate how well the ICESat-I instrument has performed under different slope, roughness, and cloud conditions. The results of the data analysis will help to refine a statistical model of ICESat-II measurements. This model will simulate repeat-track measurements under a variety of instrumental configurations, to determine how changes to the baseline ICESat-II design can be expected to improve or impair the accuracy of ICESat-II elevation-change measurements. Parameters that can be addressed using this model include footprint size, profile resolution, laser energy, and across-track sampling strategies. Although the model will eventually include a full description of Antarctic and Greenland slope distributions, early versions of the model will be available during SDT activities to test potential design changes against the ICESat-II science requirements.

Project PI: Benjamin Smith/University of Washington

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Started: Aug 10, 2010

Last Activity: Dec 15, 2010

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