An investigation in the use of ICESat-2 reflectance data for the identification of sub-canopy snow cover in boreal forests
The ICESat-2 satellite launched by NASA in 2018 collects global elevation data using the photon counting lidar ATLAS instrument. The ATLAS instrument records the reflectance of photons from the Earth’s surface with enough detail to calculate vegetation metrics from this data. This paper investigates whether ICEsat-2 reflectance data is capable of distinguishing canopy and ground reflectance rates, using recent developments in Canopy Gap Probability calculations. From this an investigation into the impact of snow cover within a reflectance scene is also explored. This paper finds that ICESat-2 radiometric data is capable of distinguishing canopy and ground reflectance values. However, data cleaning and filtering is required to achieve clear distinction of canopy and ground reflectances between total snow and zero snow cover. This paper suggests avenues of investigation towards identification of sub-canopy snow cover using ICESat-2 data and presents a promising first step.