Assessment of ICESat Altimetry and Tidal Gage Water Elevations with Hydrodynamic Model Predictions for the Chesapeake Bay

Photo of Viviana Villamizar holding instruments. Image Credit: URC

Image Credit: URC

Student: Viviana Villamizar
Florida International University

Major: Environmental Engineering

Degree Level: Master of Science

Internship Site: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland

Mentor: Michael F. Jasinski

Abstract: The overall objective is to assess the potential of satellite Lidar to retrieve the surface of the coastal tides during normal (non-surge) conditions. Specific objectives are to assess the capability of the GLAS sensor on board the ICESat satellite platform to retrieve the spatial water surface profile during a March 2006 transect over the Chesapeake Bay, using the 1064 wavelength; validate the retrieved water levels using a calibrated, high resolution 2D hydrodynamic model; and provide insight on future altimetry observations of coastal regions using Lidar. The present study focuses specifically on the capability to retrieve water surface elevations of the Chesapeake Bay during a single ICESat transect in March 2006. Validation is achieved using water surface elevations with a calibrated 2D, high-resolution hydrodynamic model. This is because ICESat observations do not fall exactly over available in situ tidal gages. Thus, it is necessary to first calibrate the model using tide gages. Then, one can compare the ICES at elevations to those grid elements over which the satellite observations occur. Future Lidar altimeters, that will provide higher vertical precision and spatial coverage, should be of significant benefit not only to hydrodynamic modelers, but also to a wide range of applications including water resources planning, weather forecasting, ecosystem monitoring, and disaster prevention and management.

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