Ice melt

$US 963,723 per day for an answer to a non-problem

The?Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2, or ICESat-2, is NASA’s most technologically advanced ice-monitoring spacecraft to date.? It was launched on the weekend on the last of the Delta II rockets.? It is scheduled to operate for three years and cost?$US 1.056 billion, or $963k/day.

Space.com reports on this pretty impressive piece of kit (as you would expect for that moolah) Quote.

Capable of measuring changes in ice thickness, forest growth and cloud height down to 0.02 inches (0.4 millimeters) every year ? the thickness of a No. 2 pencil, according to NASA ? ICESat-2 offers scientists an unprecedented view of Earth’s changing systems, especially at its poles. End of quote.

0.4 mm resolution?? Really?? Seemingly not. The official NASA specifications say 0.4cm/year on an ice sheet or?0.25 m/year for an outlet glacier,?surface elevation change rates for dynamic ice features to an accuracy of better than or equal to 0.4 m/year along 1-km track segments or?ice-sheet elevation change to 10 cm. Quote.

“Watching and understanding how it [ice] is changing helps us understand why it?s changing,” said Waleed Abdalati, a geographer at the University of Colorado in Boulder and a concept designer of ICESat-2. In turn, the information will sharpen environmental-prediction models and help scientists better forecast rising sea levels and climate shifts because of melting ice. End of quote.

An interesting unspoken assumption by this concept designer is that there will be melting ice and sea level rise.? Surely they have not spent a billion bucks with a predetermined outcome in mind? Quote. Read more »

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