Assessment of NASA airborne laser altimetry data using ground-based GPS data near Summit Station, Greenland
Abstract. A series of NASA airborne lidars have been used in support of satellite laser altimetry missions. These airborne laser altimeters have been deployed for satellite instrument development, for spaceborne data validation, and to bridge the data gap between satellite missions. We used data from ground-based Global Positioning System (GPS) surveys of an 11 km long track near Summit Station, Greenland, to assess the surface–elevation bias and measurement precision of three airborne laser altimeters including the Airborne Topographic Mapper (ATM), the Land, Vegetation, and Ice Sensor (LVIS), and the Multiple Altimeter Beam Experimental Lidar (MABEL). Ground-based GPS data from the monthly ground-based traverses, which commenced in 2006, allowed for the assessment of nine airborne lidar surveys associated with ATM and LVIS between 2007 and 2016. Surface–elevation biases for these altimeters – over the flat, ice-sheet interior – are less than 0.12 m, while assessments of measurement precision are 0.09 m or better. Ground-based GPS positions determined both with and without differential post-processing techniques provided internally consistent solutions. Results from the analyses of ground-based and airborne data provide validation strategy guidance for the Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite 2 (ICESat-2) elevation and elevation-change data products.