Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Wheels up for NASA mission's most extensive Arctic ice survey

Date:
March 16, 2011
Source:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Summary:
Researchers and flight crew arrived in Thule, Greenland, on March 14 for the start of NASA's 2011 Operation IceBridge, an airborne mission to study changes in Arctic polar ice. This year's plans include surveys of Canadian ice caps and expanded international collaboration.

On March 14, the P-3B carried Operation IceBridge scientists and instruments from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Va., to Thule Air Base in Greenland, where the Arctic 2011 campaign will be based. Credit:
Credit: NASA/Jim Yungel

Researchers and flight crew arrived in Thule, Greenland, on March 14 for the start of NASA's 2011 Operation IceBridge, an airborne mission to study changes in Arctic polar ice. This year's plans include surveys of Canadian ice caps and expanded international collaboration.

Related Articles


The state of Earth's polar ice sheets, glaciers and sea ice is an important indicator of climate change and plays a key role in regulating global climate. With IceBridge, NASA is pushing ahead with its commitment to keep an eye on changes to polar ice to better understand the effects of climate change.

Since 2009, Operation IceBridge has flown annual campaigns over the Arctic starting in March and over Antarctica starting in October. The mission extends the multi-year record of ice elevation measurements made by NASA's Ice Cloud and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat), which stopped collecting data in 2009, and the upcoming ICESat-2, scheduled for launch in 2016.

"Each successive IceBridge campaign has broadened in scope," said IceBridge project scientist Michael Studinger of Goddard Earth Sciences and Technology Center at the University of Maryland. "This year, we have more flight hours and flight plans than ever before. We are looking forward to a busy, fruitful campaign."

The first science flight is scheduled for this week, pending favorable weather. For almost 10 weeks, researchers will operate an array of airborne instruments collecting data over Arctic land and sea ice.

Among the highest priority flights is an overnight transit to Fairbanks, Alaska, to collect sea ice thickness data across a slice of the Arctic Ocean. Sea ice is thought to be thinning in recent years in addition to shrinking in the area covered. Another high-priority flight plan is to fly over the Barnes and Devon ice caps of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.

"The Canadian ice caps are notably smaller than the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, but are still significant potential contributors to sea-level change in the next few decades," said Charles Webb, deputy cryosphere program manager at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "They also serve as potential early-warning indicators, responding more sensitively to temperature changes than the more massive ice sheets."

The IceBridge campaign also plans to fly for the first time over the European Space Agency's ground-based calibration sites for their ice-observing satellite, CryoSat-2. Flights over calibration sites ultimately are expected to provide data to evaluate and improve remote-sensing measurements.

Still other IceBridge missions will retrace paths flown in previous years, such as flights over Petermann, Jacobshavn, Kangerlussuak and Helheim glaciers. With this multi-year data, scientists can begin to see how such glaciers -- the outlets through which Greenland loses mass from its ice sheet -- are changing, where ice loss is slowing or accelerating, and why.

The P-3B aircraft from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Va., will fly from Thule and Kagerlussuaq, Greenland, carrying a suite of instruments. The Airborne Topographic Mapper measures changes in the surface elevation of the ice by reflecting lasers from the ground back to the aircraft and converting the readings into elevation maps.

Radar instruments onboard the P-3B from the University of Kansas' Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets in Lawrence, Kan., allow scientists to see snow and ice characteristics at the surface and down to the bedrock. A gravity instrument from Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, N.Y., is used to peer below floating ice to determine the shape of water-filled cavities below.

Another laser altimeter, the Land, Vegetation, and Ice Sensor, operates at higher altitudes to survey large areas. This altimeter will fly solo out of Kangerlussuaq on the King Air B-200, an aircraft based at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.

The IceBridge campaign is led by Goddard. The Earth Science Project Office at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., is responsible for integration of science experiments on the aircraft and mission logistics.

For more information about Operation IceBridge, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/icebridge/


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. "Wheels up for NASA mission's most extensive Arctic ice survey." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110315142742.htm>.
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. (2011, March 16). Wheels up for NASA mission's most extensive Arctic ice survey. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110315142742.htm
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. "Wheels up for NASA mission's most extensive Arctic ice survey." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110315142742.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

World's Salamanders At Risk From Flesh-Eating Fungus

World's Salamanders At Risk From Flesh-Eating Fungus

Newsy (Oct. 31, 2014) The import of salamanders around the globe is thought to be contributing to the spread of a deadly fungus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Controversial French Dam Halted After Death of Protester

Controversial French Dam Halted After Death of Protester

AFP (Oct. 31, 2014) Local French authorities Friday decided to suspend work on a controversial dam after the death last week of an activist protesting against the project that sparked uproar in the country. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How A Chorus Led Scientists To A New Frog Species

How A Chorus Led Scientists To A New Frog Species

Newsy (Oct. 30, 2014) A frog noticed by a conservationist on New York's Staten Island has been confirmed as a new species after extensive study and genetic testing. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Hawaii Lava Inches Closer

Raw: Hawaii Lava Inches Closer

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) Aerial video shows the path lava has carved across a portion of Hawaii's big island, threatening homes in the town of Pahoa. Officials say the flow was just over 230 yards from a roadway Thursday morning. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins