A compilation of flight lines showing the paths of all flights flown during Operation IceBridge's Antarctic 2014 campaign. Credit: NASA/Michael Studinger
In 2014 IceBridge returned to Punta Arenas, Chile, to carry out another research campaign over Antarctica. From Oct. 13 to Nov. 23, IceBridge researchers studied land ice in West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula and sea ice in the Weddell and Bellingshausen seas.
During this campaign the team surveyed all but one of their highest priority flights, with surveys of the rapidly-changing Pine Island and Thwaites glacier regions and other missions focusing on scientifically important areas. The mission also expanded its reach into previously unsurveyed areas and gathered baseline measurements that will help validate data collected by ICESat-2 after it launches in 2017.
This map of Earth's northern hemisphere shows the completed flights for the Arctic 2014 IceBridge campaign. Credit: NASA/M. Studinger
The 2014 IceBridge Arctic campaign took place from Mar. 12 to May 23. During this record-length 11-week deployment, researchers collected data on land and sea ice in Greenland and the Arctic Ocean, making repeat measurements of rapidly-changing areas like Jakobshavn Glacier and expanding the mission’s reach into previously unsurveyed regions.
IceBridge researchers continued their cooperative work with scientists from the European Space Agency and other groups to study changes to Arctic sea ice. The mission also conducted a pair of flights designed to help verify future measurements from ICESat-2, which is slated to launch in 2017.
On top of the campaign’s scientific achievements, IceBridge also continued its educational and media outreach efforts. During the middle of the campaign the mission hosted three high school science teachers, who plan to use their IceBridge experience to better educate their students. Also, the team was joined by a television production crew from the Al Jazeera America program TechKnow.
A compilation of flight lines showing the paths of all flights flown during Operation IceBridge's Antarctic 2013 campaign. Credit: NASA/Michael Studinger
In 2013 IceBridge made history with its first-ever Antarctic campaign to be based directly from Antarctica. From Nov. 12 to Dec. 2, IceBridge researchers carried out six science flights from the sea ice runway at the National Science Foundation’s McMurdo Station.
During this three-week campaign, IceBridge surveyed key portions of Antarctica that were previously unreachable by the mission, including the first large-scale airborne measurements of sea ice in the Ross Sea, a survey of part of the Transantarctic Mountains and several areas that will be used to ensure the accuracy of ICESat-2 data when it launches in 2017.
This deployment was the result of more than 18 months of careful planning and coordination with NSF and paved the way for future IceBridge campaigns from McMurdo Station.
This map of Greenland and the surrounding area shows the completed science flights for the Greenland 2013 late summer IceBridge campaign. Credit: NASA/M. Studinger
Shortly after the end of summer 2013, researchers with the Land, Vegetation and Ice Sensor (LVIS) team carried out a field campaign to measure seasonal changes to the Greenland Ice Sheet. From Oct. 31 to Nov. 15, LVIS researchers collected data on ice surface height using the LVIS and LVIS-GH laser altimeters.
The surface of the Greenland Ice Sheet changes dramatically during the summer, with some areas along the coast seeing declines of more than 100 feet. During these flights the LVIS team revisited several key sites previously measured by IceBridge during their Arctic deployment earlier in the year. This campaign marked the first large-scale airborne study of seasonal melt in Greenland and was also the inaugural deployment for NASA’s C-130 research aircraft, which is based at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
This map of Greenland and the surrounding area shows the completed science flights for the Arctic 2013 IceBridge campaign. The heavy gray line in the top portion of the map shows the boundary between Western and Russian air space. Credit: NASA/M. Studinger
The IceBridge 2013 Arctic campaign ran from March 20 to May 2, operating out of Thule and Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, and Fairbanks, Alaska. Due to favorable weather conditions, the team conducted 26 science flights and collected a vast amount of data on sea ice, ice sheets and glaciers.
IceBridge furthered its collaborations with other research groups, including the Seasonal Ice Zone Reconnaissance (SIZRS) program which monitors sea ice between the annual minimum and maximum. IceBridge expanded measurements into new areas such as the Nares Strait, of interest to Canadian Space Agency researchers looking for improved data on sea ice thickness for modeling purposes and planning future shipping routes.
Science outreach activities continued with IceBridge hosting three guest science teachers and conducting remote chats with teachers and students, reaching 772 students in 13 states and two schools in Chile.
A compilation of flight lines showing the paths of all flights flown during Operation IceBridge's Antarctic 2012 campaign. Credit: NASA/Michael Studinger
The 2012 Antarctic campaign marked IceBridge's fourth year of flights over Antarctica since the mission began in 2009. IceBridge completed 16 high-priority survey flights over a five-week period from Oct. 12 to Nov. 8, 2012.
Using its suite of instruments ranging from ice-penetrating radar to measure ice thickness and map sub-glacial bedrock, to a gravimeter to measure the depth and shape of water beneath ice shelves, scientists added on to existing datasets and surveyed new areas of the Antarctic ice sheet. IceBridge also revisited the Pine Island Glacier crack, discovered in 2011, and noted it had grown significantly over the past year.
IceBridge achieved goals in educational outreach and science diplomacy, as well. On one flight IceBridge was joined by the U.S. Ambassador to Chile and his Secretary for Economic Affairs. On another, the mission was joined by U.S. Embassy personnel, two Chilean teachers and visitors from the U.S. Antarctic Program. In addition, IceBridge researchers on the DC-8 used a new online portal to answer questions from students and teachers in several U.S. states and Chile by text chat.
This map of Earth's northern hemisphere shows the completed flights for the Arctic 2012 IceBridge campaign. The P-3B aircraft flight lines are in orange for land ice missions and yellow for sea ice mission. The HU-25C Falcon aircraft flight lines are in blue. Credit: NASA/M. Studinger
The IceBridge Arctic 2012 campaign was a record breaking success with the team completing 44 science flights including a survey of the Canadian Ice caps and a newly designed Northeast Grid mission to examine bedrock topography in northeast Greenland. Joining the workhorse P-3B aircraft in the field was a newly acquired NASA aircraft, the HU-25C Guardian Falcon on its first NASA science mission.
In addition to the annual field campaign tasks, IceBridge joined forces with Danish and German aircraft, for a coordinated effort called CryoVEx, designed to verify measurements made by the European Space Agency's (ESA) ice-monitoring satellite, CryoSat-2. IceBridge also hosted five educators, from the U.S., Greenland and Denmark, who spent several days embedded with the IceBridge team, their goal being to improve their understanding of polar science, which they intend to pass on to their students.
A compilation of flight lines showing the paths of all flights flown during Operation IceBridge's Antarctic 2011 campaign. Credit: NASA/Michael Studinger
IceBridge, utilizing NASA's DC-8 flying laboratory and a Gulfstream-V owned by the National Science Foundation, flew a record 24 science flights during their six-week Antarctic 2011 campaign. The highlight was the discovery of a large crack across the Pine Island Glacier ice shelf. Additionally, IceBridge charted the continued rapid acceleration and mass loss of Pine Island Glacier and made historic flights to rarely studied regions of East Antarctica, Slessor and Recovery glaciers, where ice-penetrating radar measured the topography of the bedrock underneath the ice sheet.
This map of Earth's northern hemisphere shows the completed flights for the Arctic 2011 IceBridge campaign. The P-3B aircraft flight lines are in yellow. The King Air B200 aircraft flight lines are in brown. Credit: NASA/M. Studinger
The IceBridge mission visited the Arctic between March and May of 2011. Based out of Thule and Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, this field campaign focused on re-surveying areas that are undergoing rapid change and embarking on new lines of investigation, such as surveys of Canadian ice caps. NASA's P-3B and King Air B200 (IceBridge newcomer) aircraft were used on this campaign.
A compilation of flight lines shows the paths of all 10 flights flown during Operation IceBridge's Antarctic 2010 campaign. Credit: Michael Studinger
Despite a mechanical malfunction requiring replacement parts to be flown in, unpredictable weather conditions, and a fuel shortage due to a refinery strike, the Antarctic October-November 2010 IceBridge campaign completed 10 highly successful science flights totaling almost 115 hours of flight time over Antarctica and its environs, including Thwaites Glacier and Pine Island Bay, and measured the ice thickness and surface elevations of the numerous tributaries feeding into the main Pine Island Glacier. New flight destinations included West Antarctica's Getz Ice Shelf and an arc-shaped flight path around the South Pole.
This map of Greenland shows the completed flights for the Arctic 2010 IceBridge campaign. Credit: NASA/Goddard
The IceBridge mission visited the Arctic between March and May of 2010. Based out of Thule and Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, this field campaign to monitor Greenland and Arctic sea ice focused on areas where glaciers and ice sheets have been undergoing rapid changes, including the Northwest Passage. NASA's DC-8 and P-3B aircraft were used on this campaign.
This map of western Antarctic shows the completed flights for the Antarctic 2009 IceBridge campaign. Credit: NASA/Goddard/Michael Studinger
In October/November of 2009, IceBridge flew over Earth's southern ice-covered regions to study changes to its sea ice, ice sheets, and glaciers. Based out of Punta Arenas, Chile, the IceBridge team used NASA's DC-8 flying laboratory to study western Antarctica's Amundsen Coast, Pine Island Glacier, and the Antarctic Peninsula, where data was collected from the Larsen Ice Shelf and nearby glaciers. Difficult-to-forecast Antarctic weather conditions played a significant role in scheduling flights.