First forest canopy heights from NASA’s ICESat mission

First terrain surface and canopy heights from ICESat-2
First terrain surface and canopy heights from ICESat-2

Launched in September 2018, ICESat-2 (Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite-2) has just begun making its first data available. The data map global terrain surface and forest canopies. The Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS) instrument on-board ICESat-2 utilizes photon counting technology for the altimetry observations. Photon counting technology is relatively new to the vegetation mapping community. Data from ICESat-2 will provide global terrain elevation and canopy height estimates as well as showing potential for estimation of forest biomass.

The ATL08 land and vegetation product for the ICESat-2 Mission, Amy Neuenschwander, Katherine Pitts Remote Sensing of Environment, 221, February 2019, Pages 247-259 doi/10.1016/j.rse.2018.11.005