Great Bahama Bank

Narration: Lori Magruder


Magruder: The track we're going to talk about today is the ICESat-2 flight over the Great Bahama Bank. This is interesting because you might notice the really strong returns from beneath the surface of the water. Although this is a pretty shallow area--about ten meters or 30 feet deep--the signal is quite strong, just as strong as from the surface of the water. The reason that is there’s a lot of limestone in the deposits there, and it’s highly reflective. So ICESat-2 gets a lot of reflected photons back from those laser shots. So ICESat-2 provides bathymetric measurements. And what that means is measurements beneath the surface of the water, so we can map the topography underwater. Which is really important when you think about studying coral reefs or fish habitats or just sedimentation. Or how the topography under the water moves for storm surge modeling. It’s a really important measurement that usually we make from aircraft that can only cover small areas.