Linda Chen ’23

Linda Chen 2020

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Project Title

Measuring Bathymetry Using NASA’s ICESat-2 in Andros Island, Bahamas

The Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat-2) NASA mission measures ice sheet elevation, sea-ice thickness and vegetation canopy to quantify the effects of global warming. The instrument on the ICESat-2 is the Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS), a photon-counting lidar that emits six separate laser pulses to the surface of the Earth. I investigated whether the ATLAS instrument can measure the depth of shallow water. I used a depth-measurement model based on optical satellite imagery and direct measurements from northern Andros Island, Bahamas. Developing accurate depth maps on shallow continental shelves is crucial for modeling water and nutrient transport, and for ultimately understanding how sediments accumulate to form a stratigraphic record of Earth’s history. I studied different ATLAS data products and developed an algorithm to extract water depth from noisy photon data. I learned about the engineering of Earth’s satellites and how to extract data using various statistics and clustering algorithms. I also learned how to manipulate large data sets using parallel computing and high-performance computing clusters. After this internship, I would like to hone my skills in data analysis and explore space-technology engineering.

Internship Year


Project Category

Climate and Environmental Science


Maloof Research Group, Department of Geosciences, Princeton University


Adam Maloof, Professor of Geosciences