Operation IceBridge — a NASA airborne mission to observe changes in Earth's rapidly changing polar land ice and sea ice — is soon to embark on its fourth field season in October. The mission is now paralleled by a campaign to bring data to researchers as quickly as possible and to accelerate the analysis of those changes and how they may affect people and climate systems.
Data from campaigns flown prior to the inception of IceBridge will also be archived at NSIDC. These include data from the Airborne Topographic Mapper (ATM) instrument; mountain glacier data from the University of Alaska Fairbanks; and deep radar bedmap data from University of Kansas radar instruments. Combined with NSIDC's existing complete archive of data from the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) instrument aboard ICESat, researchers will be able to access a rich repository of complementary measurements.
IceBridge, a six-year NASA mission, is the largest airborne survey of Earth's polar ice ever flown. It will yield an unprecedented three-dimensional view of Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets, ice shelves and sea ice. These flights will provide a yearly, multi-instrument look at the behavior of the rapidly changing features of the Greenland and Antarctic ice.
Data collected during IceBridge will help scientists bridge the gap in polar observations between NASA's ICESat — in orbit since 2003 — and ICESat-2, planned for late 2015. ICESat stopped collecting science data in 2009, making IceBridge critical for ensuring a continuous series of observations.
This flight path is primarily intended to monitor changes in the surgace elevation of the Thwaites Glacier, Smith Glacier and Kohler Glacier while also collecting depth, accumulation and gravity data from these area. This flight path was originally flown by the NASA/CECS/Armada de Chile project in 2002.
This flight path over the Bellingshausen Sea is intended to mesh with the efforts of the ICEBELL ship-based project. This path is based on moderate ice conditions. Modifications to this path have been designed if the ice conditions are either heavy or light.
This flight will provide measurements of ice thickness and surface elevation beyond that provided by previous Pine Island Glacier IceBridge flights, primarily to sample the numerous tributaries feeding into the main Pine Island Glacier trunk.
The purpose of this flight is to measure gradients in sea ice freeboard (and thickness) along the "gate" connecting the tip of the Peninsula with Cape Norvegia. This gate is the line across which ice export is typically computed, and the export from this area is a major contributor to total ice volume exported into the Antarctic Circumpolar Current.
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 220.127.116.11.0