NASA’s IceBridge mission braves the Arctic | MNN


After a quick winter trip, NASA’s polar ice surveyors are again in enterprise. 

The 2013 IceBridge Arctic marketing campaign plans to fly its first science flight tomorrow (March 20) from Thule, Greenland. The mission is a continuation of a number of years of effort to report changes in glacial and sea ice within the Arctic and Antarctic after the ICEsat satellite tv for pc stopped gathering knowledge in 2009. A alternative satellite tv for pc, ICEsat-2, is scheduled for launch in 2016. IceBridge, as its title suggests, is filling within the hole.

“The primary purpose is to construct a very long time sequence that paperwork the modifications in thickness and snow cowl of the Artic sea ice and modifications within the glaciers and ice sheets of Greenland and the Canadian Arctic,” venture scientist Michael Studinger stated in an e mail interview.

The IceBridge crew was greeted with a shock after they landed in Greenland this week, Studinger advised OurAmazingPlanet. “Once we arrived in Thule, temperatures had been over 40 levels Fahrenheit [4.4 degrees Celsius], which is unusually heat. Temperatures in mid-March are sometimes round minus 20 to minus 25 levels Fahrenheit [minus 29 to minus 32 C], a lot colder. I noticed meltwater on the ocean ice yesterday earlier than touchdown, which may be very uncommon that point of the 12 months. We’ll see how this impacts our radar measurements,” he stated.

From NASA’s P3-B analysis aircraft, scientists will measure the elevation and thickness of sea ice, in addition to snow depth. A wide range of radar, gravity and different devices examines the ice from the floor to the bedrock or seafloor. Laser altimeters report modifications in ice elevation.

The day by day flights from Thule and Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, will assist scientists observe quickly altering glaciers, such because the Jakobshavn Glacier in western Greenland, and Arctic sea ice, which reached a record minimum in September 2012, in line with a NASA assertion. As in earlier years, IceBridge researchers plan to fly to Fairbanks, Alaska, and again, to measure sea ice within the Beaufort and Chukchi seas.

Information on sea ice thickness, which gives preliminary ice situations for seasonal Arctic sea ice forecasts, can be launched on the finish of the marketing campaign in Might, NASA stated.

E mail Becky Oskin or observe her @beckyoskin. Observe us @OAPlanet, Facebook or Google+. Unique article on LiveScience’s OurAmazingPlanet.

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This story was initially written for LiveScience and is reprinted with permission right here. Copyright 2013 LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork firm.

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