NASA’s Operation IceBridge Completes 2016 Arctic Spring Campaign

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Operation IceBridge, NASA’s airborne consult of frigid ice, finished a eighth open Arctic debate on May 21. During their 5 weeks of operations, goal scientists carried out 6 investigate flights over sea ice and 10 over land ice.

Upper partial of Midgard Glacier complement in southeast Greenland. Photo taken during NASA's Operation IceBridge Helheim-Kangerdlugssuap Gap B goal on May 17, 2016. Credits: NASA/Maria-José Viñas

Upper partial of Midgard Glacier complement in southeast Greenland. Photo taken during NASA’s Operation IceBridge Helheim-Kangerdlugssuap Gap B goal on May 17, 2016.
Credits: NASA/Maria-José Viñas

“We collected information over pivotal portions of a Greenland Ice Sheet, like a fast-changing Zachariae Isstrom Glacier, and we got a extended geographic coverage of Arctic sea ice we needed,” pronounced Nathan Kurtz, IceBridge’s plan scientist and a sea ice researcher during NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “This is an critical delay of a time array for Arctic ice, quite with a really comfortable Arctic winter noticeably impacting sea ice shelter and ice piece warp conflict this year.”

The 2016 Arctic campaign’s initial investigate moody took place Apr 19 aboard one of a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Hurricane Hunter planes, a P-3 Orion. This year’s deployment was shorter than normal due to aircraft upkeep issues and determined bad continue in a north of Greenland. The initial partial of a debate —based out of Thule Air Base in northwest Greenland and also out of Fairbanks, Alaska— focused on sea ice.

“The good news is that we lonesome a whole western Arctic basin,” pronounced Jackie Richter-Menge, IceBridge scholarship group co-lead and sea ice researcher with a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory in Hanover, New Hampshire.

NASA’s Operation IceBridge has returned from a open debate measuring changes in a Greenland ice piece and in sea ice in a Arctic Ocean. Flying for a initial time on house a borrowed NOAA P-3 aircraft, a airborne goal achieved many of a pivotal goals for a season, including removing measurements over some of a fastest-changing glaciers in Greenland.

In a entrance weeks, IceBridge scientists will be releasing a dataset of sea ice measurements that were collected during this deployment. Modelers will use a information —together with other measurements, such as those of a European Space Agency’s (ESA) CryoSat-2 satellite— to try to foresee how a arriving warp deteriorate will evolve.

“This year we’re looking during a intensity of an intensely low sea ice extent, so IceBridge’s measurements of sea ice will be quite relevant,” Richter-Menge said.

Glacier de France emptying into a Denmark Strait, Greenland. An ice melange, or a brew of damaged icebergs and sea ice, is manifest during front of a glacier. Photo taken during NASA's Operation IceBridge Helheim-Kangerdlugssuap Gap B goal on May 17, 2016. Credits: NASA/Maria-José Viñas

Glacier de France emptying into a Denmark Strait, Greenland. An ice melange, or a brew of damaged icebergs and sea ice, is manifest during front of a glacier. Photo taken during NASA’s Operation IceBridge Helheim-Kangerdlugssuap Gap B goal on May 17, 2016.
Credits: NASA/Maria-José Viñas

During this debate a IceBridge aircraft flew underneath a trail of Sentinel-3A, a recently launched ESA satellite that carries a radar altimeter that gauges sea ice thickness. Scientists will review a Sentinel-3A measurements to a information IceBridge collected over a same spots with a radar and laser altimeters. This comparison will assistance countenance and labour Sentinel-3A’s information gathering.

The final leg of this year’s prime Arctic deployment was formed out of Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, and focused on measuring changes in a betterment of a ice sheet.

“Unlike with a sea ice apportionment of a campaign, we had a strain of good continue in Kangerlussuaq and a scholarship flights picked adult — we flew 10 out of 11 probable moody days,” pronounced John Sonntag, IceBridge goal scientist. “It was a really certain approach to finish a deployment.”

This summer, IceBridge will control dual additional campaigns to magnitude a impact of a warp deteriorate on Arctic sea and land ice. The initial one will take place in late Jul and will be formed out of Barrow, Alaska, focusing on a sea ice cover in a Beaufort Sea. The second one, designed for late Aug to early September, will be formed in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, and repeat land ice missions that IceBridge finished in May, to magnitude how quick ice thins during a arriving warp season. The Barrow debate will final about dual weeks, while a Kangerlussuaq deployment will go on for 3 weeks.

This picture was taken by one of Operation IceBridge's infrared camera, that measures a heat of a aspect IceBridge is drifting over. This image, taken in a center of a Arctic Ocean, shows cold, ridged, snow-covered sea ice, flanking a lead, or moment in a sea ice. As floating sea ice insulates a H2O underneath it, a recently non-stop lead in a ice is warmer than a recently-formed skinny ice immediately adjacent it, and most warmer than a snow-covered sea ice in a rest of a image. Credits: NASA/Operation IceBridge

This picture was taken by one of Operation IceBridge’s infrared camera, that measures a heat of a aspect IceBridge is drifting over. This image, taken in a center of a Arctic Ocean, shows cold, ridged, snow-covered sea ice, flanking a lead, or moment in a sea ice. As floating sea ice insulates a H2O underneath it, a recently non-stop lead in a ice is warmer than a recently-formed skinny ice immediately adjacent it, and most warmer than a snow-covered sea ice in a rest of a image.
Credits: NASA/Operation IceBridge

While in Kangerlussuaq, Operation IceBridge hosted several visitors: a TV organisation from Spain operative on a documentary about meridian change in a Arctic; a freelance photographer; 4 IceBridge-affiliated scientists; and Kelly McCarthy, a scholarship and math clergyman from Coal Township, Pennsylvania, who visited IceBridge by a National Science Foundation’s PolarTREC educational program.

Also new to a flights was Joe MacGregor, a recently-appointed IceBridge emissary plan scientist and a land ice researcher with Goddard.

“It was a illusory experience,” MacGregor said. “It was good to knowledge a tender hurdles of collecting information and a decision-making routine concerned in relocating brazen with a campaign.”

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

During a 8 years of operations in a Arctic, IceBridge has collected immeasurable volumes of information on changes in a betterment of a ice piece and a inner structure. Measurements from IceBridge have suggested a 460-mile-long (740 kilometers) ravine stealing underneath a mile of ice and mapped a border of a immeasurable glass H2O aquifer underneath a sleet in southern Greenland. IceBridge’s readings of a density of sea ice and a sleet cover have helped scientists urge forecasts for a summer warp deteriorate and have extended a bargain of variations in ice density placement from year to year.
NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia provided a laser altimeter and one of a infrared cameras that were used during IceBridge’s 2016 Arctic open campaign. IceBridge’s 3 radar instruments came from the Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets during a University of Kansas, while NASA’s Ames Research Center during Moffett Field, California, provided a Digital Mapping System, and a University of Colorado loaned a second infrared camera.

Source: NASA