Operation IceBridge - Studying Earth's Polar Ice

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Arctic 2015 Campaign News

IceBridge Overflies Norwegian Camp On Drifting Sea Ice

The view from IceBridge's C-130 of the Norwegian research vessel R/V Lance. The Norwegian research vessel R/V Lance as captured by the Digital Mapping System during an Operation IceBridge flight on March 19, 2015. IceBridge flew over a survey field established by a science team aboard the Lance as part of the airborne mission's Arctic 2015 campaign. Credits: NASA/IceBridge/DMS

Studying sea ice in the Fram Strait, a passage between Greenland and Svalbard that is the main gateway for Arctic sea ice into the open ocean, is not easy. In this area, not only does ice flow southward quickly – at the same time, warmer ocean waters melt and thin it from below, making it easier for waves to break the ice into smaller floes. This dynamic, unstable environment makes it hard for scientists to set camps on the sea ice and collect direct measurements. In turn, scarce field data means that remote measurements of sea ice in the Fram Strait have few sources of validation.

Enter the collaboration between an expedition led by the Norwegian Polar Institute, called the Norwegian Young Sea Ice Cruise (N-ICE2015), and Operation IceBridge, NASA’s biannual airborne survey of polar sea and land ice.

The players: at sea, a Norwegian research vessel, the R/V Lance, locked into the sea ice pack, quickly drifting along with it. In the sky, NASA’s C-130 aircraft, loaded with radar and laser instruments.


Read more about the IceBridge 2015 Arctic campaign.

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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: March 26th, 2015
Page Editor: Holly Zell