Christopher E. Parrish

Oregon State University

Applied Research Topic: 

ICESat-2 Coastal Mapping and Monitoring

Potential Applications: 

Coastal Hazards, Coastal Erosion, Coastal Inundation, Nearshore Mapping


This project seeks to apply ICESat-2 ATLAS data and derived geospatial products to coastal science and engineering applications. With ~40% of the world’s population living within 100 km of the coast, data are needed to support policy decisions addressing coastal erosion, inundation due to hurricanes, tsunamis, and other coastal hazards. Nearshore data are also required for mapping and monitoring coral reef ecosystems around the world. The OSU project team is currently working with NASA and with members of the Joint Airborne Lidar Bathymetry Technical Center of Expertise (JALBTCX) research community to investigate the potential to map bathymetry using an active-passive sensor fusion approach that integrates ICESat-2 ATLAS and Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI) data. ATLAS and OLI are highly complementary for bathymetric mapping, as OLI data can provide spatially contiguous estimates of relative bathymetry over broad spatial extents, while ATLAS geolocated and refraction-corrected bottom return photons, even if sparse, can serve to constrain the spectrally-derived bathymetry. Additional applications being investigated in this work include coastal vegetation characterization and coastal erosion assessment using time series of geolocated photon returns. The OSU team is currently conducting proof-of-concept studies using MABEL data acquired over Lake Superior in August, 2012 at an altitude of 20 km. Additionally, the team is using the latest ATLAS sensor parameters provided by NASA to assess the extensibility of the current methods to ATLAS and analyzing the ICESat-2 predicted orbit tracks in combination with Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) Kd490 data to identify promising coastal areas for post-launch investigation.

SDT Member Partner: 
  • Nick Forfinski-Sarkozi, OSU PhD student, will lead the algorithm development, testing, and implementation.
End Users: 

Joint Airborne Lidar Bathymetry Technical Center of Expertise (JALBTCX) Consortium and Partner Agencies, POC: Jennifer Wozencraft, JALBTCX Director,

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