NASA’s Operation IceBridge In Search Of Ice Change In Arctic

by Elizabeth Howell on April 9, 2014

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How much is the polar ice melting, and how are the sheets being affected by climate change? These are some of the questions that NASA’s Operation IceBridge seeks to answer. You can see a quick overview of the mission in the video above.

“IceBridge, a six-year NASA mission, is the largest airborne survey of Earth’s polar ice ever flown,” NASA stated in the YouTube description accompanying the video.

“It will yield an unprecedented three-dimensional view of Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets, ice shelves and sea ice. These flights will provide a yearly, multi-instrument look at the behavior of the rapidly changing features of the Greenland and Antarctic ice,” the agency added.

The aerial survey is intended to supplement information from NASA’s Ice Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite (ICESat), which has been orbiting Earth since 2003, and the forthcoming ICESat-2 that is expected to launch in early 2016.

The surveys started in 2009 and are expected to wrap up in 2016. This year’s field season runs from about March to May.¬†For more information on IceBridge, check out this 2013 Universe Today article by Ken Kremer.

The NASA P-3B's shadow on sea ice off of southeast Greenland during an IceBridge survey on Apr. 9, 2013. Flying at a low altitude allows IceBridge researchers to gather detailed data. Credit: NASA / Jim Yungel

The NASA P-3B’s shadow on sea ice off of southeast Greenland during an IceBridge survey on Apr. 9, 2013. Flying at a low altitude allows IceBridge researchers to gather detailed data. Credit: NASA / Jim Yungel

About 

Elizabeth Howell is the senior writer at Universe Today. She also works for Space.com, Space Exploration Network, the NASA Lunar Science Institute, NASA Astrobiology Magazine and LiveScience, among others. Career highlights include watching three shuttle launches, and going on a two-week simulated Mars expedition in rural Utah. You can follow her on Twitter @howellspace or contact her at her website.

Aqua4U April 10, 2014 at 12:11 PM

Elizabeth, your ‘minimalist’ approach to reporting is I’m sure(?) directed toward those who use mobile devices to get their news and information? Parsed down and simple seems to be the trend for most media today? This due in no small part to the quantity of news available? But don’t you think the complexity in/of most topics covered here at Universe Today demand a little more detail?

I reject the ‘dummy down’… and applaud deeper thinking, as usually required for these pages.

Fraser Cain April 11, 2014 at 10:29 AM

Sometimes we just don’t have a lot of time to commit to a story. If there’s a lot of news breaking all over, we have to spread our efforts around. We always try to link to the original sources, so you can dig as deep as you want to get at the full story.

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