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IceBridge Arctic 2015

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IceBridge - Arctic 2015

06.03.15
IceBridge Concludes 2015 Arctic Campaign

View through the cockpit window during an IceBridge flight.
View through the cockpit window during an IceBridge flight.
Credits: NASA/IceBridge

Operation IceBridge wrapped up its seventh Arctic deployment on May 21, when NASA’s C-130 research aircraft with the mission’s researchers and instruments on board departed Thule Air Base in Greenland and headed to NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

This Arctic field season, IceBridge, NASA’s twice-yearly airborne survey of polar ice, carried out 33 eight-hour flights during ten weeks, collecting data over sea and land ice regions that have been evolving rapidly over the last decades. The mission also conducted over a dozen international research collaborations and released two sea ice data products that will help scientists forecast how Arctic sea ice will behave during the summer.

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04.06.15
A Day in the Life -- “Sea Ice – North Pole Transect” (flown March 25
)

Wake up time is 5:30am, unless you're the aircrew, then it's earlier.
5:30 a.m.
Credits: NASA/IceBridge

On IceBridge’s seventh year of operations, most people who follow this blog already know our routine, but nevertheless, I figured I would give it a shot for any of those out there that aren’t familiar with a typical daily schedule of ours, or want to hear about it from a different member of the team. I’ll interject some of the things we encounter along the course of the day that might be unique to today’s flight

5:30 am – Wakeup time. If you are a part of the aircrew, you probably get up even earlier than this. This isn’t fun for anyone aside from those elusive “morning people” that I’ve been told exist somewhere (at right).

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03.26.15
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.

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03.20.15
Operation IceBridge Debuts Its Seventh Arctic Campaign

C-130 aircraft getting readied for pressurization tests on March 16, 2015 at Wallops.
NASA's C-130 aircraft getting readied for pressurization tests on March 16, 2015 at Wallops Flight Facility, during preparation for the Arctic 2015 Operation IceBridge field campaign. The mission¹s usual research aircraft in the Arctic, a P-3, is currently getting new wings. Credit: NASA/Jefferson Beck

NASA's Operation IceBridge, an airborne survey of polar ice, successfully completed its first Greenland research flight of 2015 on March 19, thus launching its seventh Arctic campaign. This year’s science flights over Arctic sea and land ice will continue until May 22.

The mission of Operation IceBridge is to collect data on changing polar land and sea ice and maintain continuity of measurements between NASA's Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) missions. The original ICESat mission ended in 2009, and its successor, ICESat-2, is scheduled for launch in 2017. Operation IceBridge, which began in in 2009, is currently funded until 2019. The planned two-year overlap with ICESat-2 will help scientists validate the satellite’s measurements.

The extensive data IceBridge has gathered over the Greenland ice sheet during its six years of operations have provided an improved picture of the surface, the bed and the internal structures of Greenland’s ice sheet and allowed scientists to create more accurate models of glacier contribution to sea level rise. As for sea ice, IceBridge’s measurements of the thickness of sea ice and its snow cover have assisted in improving forecasts for summertime melt, enhanced the understanding of variations in ice thickness distribution from year to year, and updated the climatology of the snow depth over sea ice.

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03.16.15
Preparing For The Arctic Campaign

The hanger doors open on a new day of flight tests for the C-130 IceBridge aircraft.› View larger
The hanger doors open on a new day of flight tests for the C-130 IceBridge aircraft at Wallops Flight Faciltiy. Credit: NASA/C. Hansen

NASA’s C-130 aircraft, one of the fleet of aircraft maintained by NASA's Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Virginia, is almost ready for the upcoming Operation IceBridge Arctic 2015 campaign, which will begin on March 17, 2015 and run through May 22, 2015. The C-130 was preparing for its final project test flight at dawn this morning. If all goes well, it will be leaving for Thule Air Base in northern Greenland later this week.

Operation IceBridge, an airborne survey of polar ice, conducted its first campaign in 2009, and has flown two campaign each year since, one to survey the Arctic and one to survey the Antarctic.

The mission of Operation IceBridge is to collect data on changing polar land and sea ice and maintain continuity of measurements between NASA's Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) missions. The original ICESat mission ended in 2009, and its successor, ICESat-2, is scheduled for launch in 2017. Operation IceBridge, which began in in 2009, is currently funded until 2019. The planned two-year overlap with ICESat-2 will help scientists validate the satellite’s measurements.
 


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Page Last Updated: June 3rd, 2015
Page Editor: Holly Zell