NASA Flights Map Summer Melt of Greenland Land Ice

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Operation IceBridge is drifting in Greenland to bulk how most ice has melted over a march of a summer from a ice sheet. The flights, that began on Aug. 25 and will go on until Sept. 21, repeat paths flown this open and aim to guard anniversary changes in a betterment of a ice sheet.

“We started to mountain these summer campaigns on a unchanging basement dual years ago,” pronounced Joe MacGregor, IceBridge’s emissary devise scientist and a glaciologist with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “If a flights go as expected, a outcome will be a high-quality consult of some of a fastest melting areas in Greenland and opposite as most of a island as possible.”

Terminus of a Zachariæ Isstrøm glacier in northeast Greenland, as seen from 28,000 feet during an Operation IceBridge moody on Aug. 29, 2017
Credits: NASA/LVIS TEAM

The picture above was taken during a investigate moody carried on Aug. 29 and shows a calving front –the finish of a glacier, from where it sheds chunks of ice– of a Zachariae Isstrom glacier in northeast Greenland. During a initial week of a end-of-summer campaign, IceBridge was formed in Thule Air Base, in northwest Greenland. The warp deteriorate ends progressing in a north of a island, and IceBridge directed to finish a northernmost flights before any poignant layer had occurred there. From Thule, a debate surveyed a northwest seashore of Greenland and a fast-changing Zachariæ Isstrøm, Nioghalvfjerdsfjorden (79ºN) and Petermann glaciers.

On Sept. 1, a IceBridge group changed to Kangerlussuaq, in executive western Greenland, from where they devise to fly over fast-changing areas such as Jakobshavn Isbræ and Helheim Glacier. The idea is to accomplish 16 flights in sum during a campaign.

For this campaign, IceBridge is drifting on a B200T King Air aircraft from Dynamic Aviation, a NASA contractor. The craft is carrying a Land, Vegetation and Ice Sensor, a laser instrument built by Goddard that measures changes in a ice betterment with an correctness improved than 4 inches, and a high-resolution camera complement to map a ice surface. The summer flights are about 5 and a entertain hours long, shorter than a 8-hour missions carried during IceBridge’s open Arctic campaign, so a strange paths flown have been straightened to improved fit a betterment during that a B200T flies —about 28,000 feet, most aloft than that of a unchanging open flights.

“For this campaign, we’re mapping as extended an area as possible, since we wish to know a anniversary cycle of betterment change opposite a whole ice sheet,” MacGregor said. “When NASA’s Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) goal is adult and using subsequent year, it’ll be mapping these changes continuously. We need to improved know a bulk of anniversary betterment change between a open and a summer right now so that we have a starting indicate from that to weigh any trend celebrated by ICESat-2.”

The goal of Operation IceBridge, NASA’s longest-running airborne consult to guard frigid ice, is to collect information on changing frigid land and sea ice and say smoothness of measurements between ICESat missions. The strange ICESat goal launched in 2003 and finished in 2009, and a successor, ICESat-2, is scheduled for launch in late 2018. Operation IceBridge began in 2009 and is now saved until 2019. The designed overlie with ICESat-2 will assistance scientists countenance a satellite’s measurements.

Source: NASA

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