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Know Your Earth 3.0: IceBridge
April 1, 2013


About Nathan Kurtz

Nathan Kurtz is a physical scientist working with NASA's Operation IceBridge, an airborne science campaign to monitor polar ice, to learn more about how sea ice affects Earth's climate. He is currently a co-investigator on the IceBridge science team and is the principal investigator responsible for producing the IceBridge community sea ice data products. Through his work on IceBridge, Kurtz has made numerous trips to the Arctic and Antarctic, receiving the Antarctic Service Medal for his work on the project.

Kurtz was born in Fort Madison, Iowa, where he lived and worked for the first 18 years of his life. Following his passion for science, he moved to Ames, Iowa, to study physics at Iowa State University (ISU). It was at Iowa State that Kurtz first became connected to NASA, earning a prestigious summer internship position that connected him to cutting edge research in planetary sciences and remote sensing.

After earning his undergraduate degree in physics at ISU, Kurtz continued his work in physics research, pursuing a graduate degree at the University of Maryland Baltimore County in collaboration with a NASA funded project. He received graduate degrees in atmospheric physics, an M.S. in 2007 and a Ph.D. in 2009. His dissertation was on the use of satellite and airborne laser altimetry to study the role of sea ice in the Earth's climate system.

view from a DC-8 over Tierra del Fuego View from the DC-8 over Tierra del Fuego, the tip of South America, during its transit to Antarctica on Nov. 1.
Credit: NASA/Maria-José Viñas
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iceberg Iceberg floating on Pine Island Bay on Nov. 4, 2012.
Credit: NASA/Maria-José Viñas
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Kurtz joined the Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology as a research associate in Jan. 2010 and the Goddard Earth Sciences Technology and Research program in July 2010 in collaboration with NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. His research interests are in active and passive remote sensing of the polar regions with an emphasis on the use of laser, radar and model data to study sea ice. This work has led to further research on how changing sea ice cover affects climate through studies of ocean-atmosphere energy exchange.

About IceBridge

Operation IceBridge is an airborne science campaign designed to image Earth's polar ice in unprecedented detail. Data from IceBridge's yearly campaigns over the Arctic and Antarctic is meant to help researchers better understand processes that connect the polar regions with the global climate system, predict how Earth's changing climate will affect polar ice and sea level and bridge the gap in polar observations between NASA's ICESat satellite missions. To accomplish this, IceBridge uses a fleet of research aircraft carrying a suite of sophisticated science instruments to measure yearly changes in sea ice, ice sheets and glaciers.


Additional Links


› Know Your Earth 3.0
› IceBridge Mission
› Ice Bridge Blogs
› IceBridge Twitter
› IceBridge Facebook
› IceBridge Flickr


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Page Last Updated: November 12th, 2014
Page Editor: NASA Administrator