ICESat-2 Elevation Retrievals in Support of Satellite-Derived Bathymetry for Global Science Applications

Geophys Res Lett. 2021 Mar 16;48(5):e2020GL090629. doi: 10.1029/2020GL090629. Epub 2021 Mar 8.


Bathymetry retrievals from 2D, multispectral imagery, referred to as Satellite-Derived Bathymetry (SDB), afford the potential to obtain global, nearshore bathymetric data in optically clear waters. However, accurate SDB depth retrievals are limited in the absence of "seed depths." The Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) space-based altimeter has proven capable of accurate bathymetry, but methods of employing ICESat-2 bathymetry for SDB retrievals over broad spatial extents are immature. This research aims to establish and test a baseline methodology for generating bathymetric surface models using SDB with ICESat-2. The workflow is operationally efficient (17-37 min processing time) and capable of producing bathymetry of sufficient vertical accuracy for many coastal science applications, with RMSEs of 0.96 and 1.54 m when using Sentinel-2 and Landsat 8, respectively. The highest priorities for further automation have also been identified, supporting the long-range goal of global coral reef habitat change analysis using ICESat-2-aided SDB.

Keywords: ICESat‐2; Landsat 8; Sentinel‐2; bathymetry.