LOADING...
Text Size
Operation IceBridge at Halfway Mark; DC-8 Returns to Palmdale
April 29, 2010
 

NASA's DC-8 airborne science laboratory overflies the remote Summit Station on Greenland's ice cap.NASA's DC-8 airborne science laboratory was photographed as it overflew the remote Summit Station on northern Greenland's ice cap April 14 during an Operation IceBridge flight. (Photo courtesy Christina Hammock, CH2M Hill Polar Field Services) NASA's 2010 Operation IceBridge mission to the Arctic is nearing its halfway point, as research flights by scientists aboard NASA's DC-8 airborne science laboratory have wrapped up and the converted jetliner has returned to its base at the Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale, Calif. In just under five weeks between March 21 and April 24, scientists and crew flew more than 120 hours on 14 research missions over the Arctic Ocean and the Greenland ice sheet from a base in Thule, Greenland, flying a distance greater than 1.5 times around the world.

One important flight that was almost thwarted by the Arctic weather, but finally occurred April 19 when the IceBridge team flew the DC-8 underneath the clouds in difficult conditions to collect critical data for monitoring changes in sea ice in the Arctic Ocean.

IceBridge project scientist Michael Studinger, from the Goddard Earth Science and Technology Center at the University of Maryland, discusses some of the mission's accomplishments and critical moments, in his report from Thule.

› IceBridge mission page
› IceBridge news release 10-10
› IceBridge blog page
› DC-8 Photo Gallery





NASA Steps Up Operation Ice Bridge Over Greenland's Ice Stream

Glacial blocks are seen near Zachariae Glacier in Greenland in this low-level view from NASA's DC-8 flying science laboratory on March 30, 2010.Glacial blocks are seen near Zachariae Glacier in Greenland in this low-level view from NASA's DC-8 flying science laboratory on March 30, 2010. (NASA photo / Jim Yungel, Wallops Flight Facility) NASA's DC-8 flying science laboratory continued a series of survey flights over the Arctic ice fields and glaciers in Greenland over the past week, as scientists aboard the converted jetliner gauged the thickness and movement of the Arctic ice packs.

After a weekend break from flying, the IceBridge team flew a high-altitude survey of northwest Greenland coastal areas on Monday, March 29, surveying the northwest coast of Greenland with the Land, Vegetation, and Ice Sensor while flying five parallel high altitude tracks.

On Tuesday, March 30, the DC-8 laboratory was back in the air on its sixth IceBridge mission, an almost eight-hour survey flight over Greenland's North East Ice Stream, with three more flights over that area to follow. Flight crews flew six parallel, low-altitude passes up and down the uppermost inland portion of the Zachariae and 79 North glaciers, and then flew two additional lines - one pass down the middle of each glacier – after the planned part of the survey was completed ahead of schedule. The beds of these glaciers are below sea level, which has implications for how the glaciers interact with ocean water and how they lose ice.

This image shows the flight tracks of NASA's DC-8 science laboratory as it flew six parallel, low-altitude passes up and down the uppermost inland portion of the Zachariae and 79 North glaciers, and then flew two additional lines - one pass down the middle of each glacier – on its March 30 flight.This image shows the flight tracks of NASA's DC-8 science laboratory as it flew six parallel, low-altitude passes up and down the uppermost inland portion of the Zachariae and 79 North glaciers, and then flew two additional lines - one pass down the middle of each glacier – on its March 30 flight. (NASA photo) A long ice pack survey flight over the North Pole to Fairbanks, Alaska, is still planned for the mission, and is dependent on weather conditions at both Thule, Fairbanks and en route.





Operation IceBridge Surveys Major Greenland Glaciers

Petermann glacier in northern Greenland where it feeds into the Arctic ice pack.This photo of the Petermann glacier in northern Greenland where it feeds into the Arctic ice pack was taken from the left cockpit window of NASA's DC-8 flying laboratory during a low-altitude data collection pass (NASA photo) Scientists aboard NASA's DC-8 airborne science laboratory overflew several major glaciers in northern Greenland March 23 and 24 as the spring 2010 Operation IceBridge survey of the Arctic ice pack got under way.

The second of about a dozen dedicated science flights occurred Tuesday, March 23, an eight-hour flight that focused on Arctic sea ice north of Greenland, which reaches its maximum extent each year in March or early April.

On Wednesday, March 24, scientists and flight crew aboard the modified former jetliner targeted several glaciers north of Thule during an almost seven-hour flight. Some of the glaciers were surveyed for the first time last year and are being re-surveyed this year to monitor the changes that have occurred since last spring. Scientists surveyed the thickness and movement of the Petermann glacier on this flight, with the aircraft flying seven north-south passes and six east-west routes over the ice field just above the glacier. One data line was flown down the glacier to the ice shelf and back. A pass up smaller Heilprin and Tracy glaciers were flown en route to and from Petermann before the aircraft returned to Thule air base.

Mission managers reported all of the instruments on the aircraft, including the Airborne Topographic Mapper and the Land, Vegetation, and Ice Sensor, functioned properly during the two flights.

Spectacular vertical cliffs are in view as NASA's DC-8 airborne science laboratory overflies the Petermann Glacier.Spectacular vertical cliffs are in view as NASA's DC-8 airborne science laboratory overflies the Petermann Glacier during an Operation IceBridge survey flight. (NASA photo) Bad weather prevented a flight on Thursday, March 25. A long flight over the North Pole area to Fairbanks, Alaska, is scheduled this weekend to map sea ice.

The DC-8 and its flight crew will stay in Greenland until the end of April, when NASA's P-3B from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia will take over for another month of flights monitoring the changes occurring over the Greenland ice sheet and the Arctic sea ice before the spring 2010 IceBridge campaign concludes in late May.

NASA's Operation IceBridge, now in its second year, is the largest airborne survey ever flown of Earth's polar ice. The mission allows scientists to track changes in the extent and thickness of polar ice, which is important for understanding ice dynamics. IceBridge began in March 2009 as a means to fill the gap in polar observations between the loss of NASA's Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite, or ICESat, and the launch of ICESat-2, planned for 2015. Annual missions fly over the Arctic in the spring and over Antarctica in the fall.





NASA's DC-8 Science Lab Begins 2010 IceBridge Mission in Greenland  03.23.10

NASA flight navigator Manny Antimisiaris is responsible for directing the exact flight path of NASA's DC-8 airborne science laboratory during NASA's 2010 IceBridge campaign in the Arctic. Now in its second year, the five-week Operation IceBridge mission is the largest airborne survey ever flown of Earth's polar ice. (NASA photo / Tom Tschida)NASA flight navigator Manny Antimisiaris is responsible for directing the exact flight path of NASA's DC-8 airborne science laboratory during NASA's 2010 IceBridge campaign in the Arctic. Now in its second year, the five-week Operation IceBridge mission is the largest airborne survey ever flown of Earth's polar ice. (NASA photo / Tom Tschida) After a long overnight flight from Palmdale, Calif., via the Great Circle route over the Arctic, NASA's DC-8 airborne science laboratory arrived in Thule, Greenland on Monday, March 22, to begin the spring 2010 Operation IceBridge survey of the Arctic ice pack.

The first of about a dozen dedicated science flights occurred Tuesday, focusing on Arctic sea ice north of Greenland, which reaches its maximum extent each year in March or early April. Other high- and low-altitude flights over the next five weeks also will survey Greenland's ice sheet and outlet glaciers.

While in transit from the Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale to Thule Sunday night and Monday morning, scientists and flight crew aboard the modified former jetliner monitored a small portion of the southeast Alaskan glaciers and the Arctic sea ice using the Land, Vegetation and Ice Sensor and other instruments as the aircraft flew at an altitude of 30,000 feet on a transect across the Arctic Ocean.

The DC-8 and its flight crew will stay in Greenland until the end of April, when NASA's P-3B from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia will take over for another month of flights monitoring the changes occurring over the Greenland ice sheet and the Arctic sea ice before the spring 2010 IceBridge campaign concludes in late May.

NASA's Operation IceBridge, now in its second year, is the largest airborne survey ever flown of Earth's polar ice. The mission allows scientists to track changes in the extent and thickness of polar ice, which is important for understanding ice dynamics. IceBridge began in March 2009 as a means to fill the gap in polar observations between the loss of NASA's Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite, or ICESat, and the launch of ICESat-2, planned for 2015. Annual missions fly over the Arctic in the spring and over Antarctica in the fall.
 

Image Token: 
[image-47]
Image Token: 
[image-62]
Page Last Updated: August 16th, 2013
Page Editor: NASA Administrator