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Taking the pulse of an iceberg -- scientists simulate laser imaging for NASA missions
Date:11/29/2011

ool, developed at RIT, to model the light-scattering radiometric behavior of the Earth and its atmosphere in a computer-coded world of glaciers and icebergs orbited by a simulated ICESat-2.

"DIRSIG is capable of simulating scenes that reflect the physics and radiometry found in the real world as compared to simulations that were designed for a movie, where it doesn't have to have the right physical units; it just has to look good," Kerekes says.

The polar scene is a stage for working out the complicated geometry of ice nooks and crevasses, dusted with snow or completely covered. It allows the team to trace the light pulses and write algorithms accounting for the multiple scattering that delays the photons' return to the sensor. Modeling how the detector works on a computer will advance the science of using laser data to interpret the shape of an ice sheet in the real world. The simulation also doubles as an inexpensive way to test potential design changes or shortfalls in component performances.

Input from geophysicist Beata Csatho, associate professor of geology at University at Buffalo, will provide essential details to the mini-Arctic world. Her expertise in polar topics with a remote-sensing perspective will layer the scenes with realistic physical details of ice sheets and glaciers and lend relevance to testing the laser sensor's signal processing methods via computer software. Csatho, who is also the leader of the NASA ICESat-2 Science Definition Team, understands the challenges of interpreting data collected from airplanes and satellites.

"Ice sheets and glaciers play a critical role in the Earth's climate system and they are major contributors to global sea level rise," Csatho says. "Ice sheets and outlet glaciers often change rapidly exhibiting a complex pattern, controlled by interactions with climate, oceanographic and geological processes. Simulations will allow us to develop and test algorithms to process ICESat-2 dat
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Contact: Susan Gawlowicz
smguns@rit.edu
585-475-5061
Rochester Institute of Technology
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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