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Operation IceBridge - Studying Earth's Polar Ice

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Antarctic 2014 Campaign News

11.24.14
IceBridge Campaign Closes with Four More Flights

A rock outcrop and ice near Antarctica’s Fleming Glacier.› View larger
A rock outcrop and ice near Antarctica’s Fleming Glacier seen during the Nov. 16, 2014, IceBridge survey flight. Credit: NASA / Michael Studinger

NASA’s Operation IceBridge completed four more surveys of the Antarctic, bringing the mission’s six-week-long field campaign to a close.

On Nov. 15, IceBridge carried out a newly-created mission designed to study the Institute Ice Stream near the Ronne Ice Shelf. On this flight researchers collected data on surface elevation, sub-ice bedrock and water depth along paths previously measured by NASA’s Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite, or ICESat, from 2003 to 2009. This region has been the subject of ground-based studies going back to the 1950s, airborne research by a joint U.S.–Danish project in the 1970s and an effort by Germany’s Alfred Wegener Institute in the 1990s.

Previously IceBridge had flown one line in this area in 2012, so this survey expanded the mission’s record of measurements in Antarctica. Thanks to good weather, researchers collected good data for the entire day with the exception of one five minute stretch where low clouds blocked laser and camera instruments. In addition, ice-penetrating radar detected two steep sidewalls in the bedrock in the Hercules Inlet.

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IceBridge Mission Statement

NASA’s Operation IceBridge images Earth's polar ice in unprecedented detail to better understand processes that connect the polar regions with the global climate system. IceBridge utilizes a highly specialized fleet of research aircraft and the most sophisticated suite of innovative science instruments ever assembled to characterize annual changes in thickness of sea ice, glaciers, and ice sheets. In addition, IceBridge collects critical data used to predict the response of earth’s polar ice to climate change and resulting sea-level rise. IceBridge also helps bridge the gap in polar observations between NASA's ICESat satellite missions.

 

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Page Last Updated: December 9th, 2014
Page Editor: Holly Zell