Linda Chen ’23
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
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.
Climate and Environmental Science
Maloof Research Group, Department of Geosciences, Princeton University
Adam Maloof, Professor of Geosciences