New NASA Satellite Reveals Profiles of Ice, Forests and Oceans


[music] NASA’s Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2, or ICESat-2,
launched on September 15, 2018. Using a rapid-firing laser, ICESat-2 has begun mapping the height of sea ice, ice sheets and forest canopies. Data collected over Arctic and Antarctic sea ice reveal thin ice, thick ice and ice ridges. Comparing the height of sea ice with the height of open water in the cracks between ice floes (leads) gives an estimate of thickness. Beyond ice, photons returning from over the ocean trace individual waves. Over forests, ICESat-2 can distinguish the tops of trees, inner canopies and forest floors. ICESat-2’s data will provide insights into carbon storage, monitor changes in sea level and help improve climate modeling and forecasts. [beeping sound, music]

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