Earth  ID: 3647

Operation IceBridge Flight Paths - Antarctica Fall 2009 Campaign

Early in the 20th century, a succession of adventurers and scientists pioneered the exploration of Antarctica. A century later, they're still at it, albeit with a different set of tools. This fall, a team of modern explorers will fly over Earth's southern ice-covered regions to study changes to its sea ice, ice sheets, and glaciers as part of NASA's Operation Ice Bridge.

Operation Ice Bridge is a six-year campaign of annual flights to each of Earth's polar regions. The first flights in March and April carried researchers over Greenland and the Arctic Ocean. This fall's Antarctic campaign, led by principal investigator Seelye Martin of the University of Washington, will begin the first sustained airborne research effort of its kind over the continent. Data collected by researchers will help scientists bridge the gap between NASA's Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) — which is operating the last of its three lasers — and ICESat-II, scheduled to launch in 2014.

The Ice Bridge flights will help scientists maintain the record of changes to sea ice and ice sheets that have been collected since 2003 by ICESat. The flights will lack the continent-wide coverage that can be achieved by satellite, so researchers carefully select key target locations. But the flights will also turn up new information not possible from orbit, such as the shape of the terrain below the ice.

Six flights are scheduled along Antarctica's peninsula, one along the Getz Ice Shelf, two over the Pine Island Glacier, and two others along the Amundsen coast to include the Thwaites, Smith, and Kohler glaciers.

Visualization Credits

Lori Perkins (NASA/GSFC): Lead Animator
Stuart A. Snodgrass (HTSI): Video Editor
Jefferson Beck (UMBC): Producer
Laura Motel (UMBC): Producer
Tom Wagner (NASA): Scientist
John Sonntag (EGG): Scientist
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio.

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Operation IceBridge

Data Used:
Landsat-7/ETM+/Landsat Image Mosaic of Antarctica also referred to as: LIMA
Mosaic - NASA/GSFC, British Antarctic Survey, USGS EROS Data Center
Mosaicing to avoid clouds produced a high quality, nearly cloud-free benchmark data set of Antarctica for the International Polar Year from images collected primarily during 1999-2003.
Terra and Aqua/MODIS/MODIS Mosaic of Antarctica (MOA) Image Map also referred to as: MOA
Mosaic - National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) and the University of New Hampshire
Staff from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) and the University of New Hampshire have assembled two digital image maps of surface morphology and optical snow grain size that cover the Antarctic continent and its surrounding islands. The MODIS Mosaic of Antarctica (MOA) image maps are derived from composites of 260 MODIS (Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) orbit swaths acquired between 20 November 2003 and 29 February 2004. The MOA provides a cloud-free view of the ice sheet, ice shelves, and land surfaces, and a quantitative measure of optical snow grain size for snow- or ice-covered areas. All land areas larger than a few hundred meters that are south of 60° S are included in the mosaic, as well as persistent fast ice regions and some grounded icebergs present near the coast in the 2003-2004 austral summer. The MOA surface morphology image map is derived from digitally processed MODIS Band 1 data. The optical snow grain size image is compiled using a normalized ratio of atmospherically corrected, calibrated band radiance data from Bands 1 and 2.
Operation Ice Bridge Flight Paths
NASA DC-8 Flight Path
Note: While we identify the data sets used in these visualizations, we do not store any further details nor the data sets themselves on our site.

This item is part of these series:
Landsat Image Mosaic of Antarctica
Operation IceBridge

GCMD >> Earth Science >> Cryosphere >> Glaciers/Ice Sheets
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Cryosphere >> Glaciers/Ice Sheets >> Glacier Elevation/Ice Sheet Elevation
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Cryosphere >> Glaciers/Ice Sheets >> Glacier Topography/Ice Sheet Topography
GCMD >> Location >> Antarctica
SVS >> Exploration
SVS >> For Educators
NASA Science >> Earth

GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation: Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version