Operation IceBridge

IceBridge, a NASA field campaign currently in its 9th year, 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 provide a yearly, multi-instrument look at the behavior of the rapidly changing features of both Arctic and Antarctic ice. Data collected during IceBridge will help scientists bridge the gap in polar observations between NASA's Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) -- launched in 2003 -- and ICESat-2, planned for late 2018. ICESat stopped collecting science data in 2009, making IceBridge critical for ensuring a continuous series of observations. IceBridge uses airborne instruments to map Arctic and Antarctic areas once a year before the spring melt season takes hold. The first IceBridge flights were conducted in March/May 2009 over Greenland and in October/November 2009 over Antarctica. Other smaller airborne surveys around the world are also part of the IceBridge campaign.

Photos and HD video clips

Content Contact:

Recent videos and greatest hits

  • Big Year for NASA’s IceBridge in 2017
    2018.02.13
    From the South Pole to Greenland, from Alaska’s glaciers to Svalbard, NASA’s Operation IceBridge covered the icy regions of our planet in 2017 with a record seven separate field campaigns. The mission of IceBridge, NASA’s longest-running airborne science program monitoring polar ice, is to collect data on changing ice sheets, glaciers, and sea ice, and maintain continuity of measurements between ICESat satellite missions.
  • IceBridge tackles Svalbard, North Pole, and Greenland in One Day
    2017.05.17
    Operation IceBridge just completed 40 research flights over ten weeks, including three based out of the remote and beautiful islands of Svalbard, Norway. Here is the story of one of its most distinctive missions, called Zig Zag East. This flight started in the rugged fjords of Svalbard, passed over hundreds of miles of sea ice en route to the North Pole, flew through the narrow Nares Strait, and finally returned the team back to Thule Air Base in Greenland. The video was narrated in flight on Apr. 7, 2017 by IceBridge Mission Scientist John Sonntag. IceBridge, an airborne mission that monitors changes at the Earth’s poles, concluded its 2017 spring Arctic campaign on May 12. This field campaign has been the most ambitious in IceBridge’s nine years of operations in the Arctic, greatly expanding the survey’s reach across the Arctic Basin.
  • IceBridge images of crack in Larsen C Ice Shelf
    2016.12.08
    Operation IceBridge, a NASA airborne survey of changes in polar ice, recently completed its eighth consecutive Antarctic deployment. This page contains a wrapup video for the entire mission, as well as some footage over the Antarctic Peninsula's Larsen C Ice Shelf, and a few high definition still images. One of this year’s missions flew over a massive rift in the Larsen C. Ice shelves are the floating parts of ice streams and glaciers, and they buttress the grounded ice behind them; when ice shelves collapse, the ice behind accelerates toward the ocean, where it then adds to sea level rise. Larsen C neighbors a smaller ice shelf that disintegrated in 2002 after developing a rift similar to the one now growing in Larsen C. The IceBridge scientists measured the Larsen C fracture to be about 70 miles long, more than 300 feet wide and about a third of a mile deep. The crack completely cuts through the ice shelf but it does not go all the way across it – once it does, it will produce an iceberg roughly the size of the state of Delaware. "It’s a large rift on an ice shelf whose future we are curious about. Inevitably, when you see it in satellite imagery or from a plane, you wonder what is going to happen when it breaks off,” said Joe MacGregor, IceBridge deputy project scientist and glaciologist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. "However, large icebergs calve from ice shelves regularly and they normally do not lead to ice-shelf collapse. The growth of this rift likely indicates that the portion of the ice shelf downstream of the rift is no longer holding back any grounded ice.” For more about Operation IceBridge and to follow future campaigns, visit: www.nasa.gov/icebridge https://www.facebook.com/NasaOperationIcebridge
  • Measuring Sea Ice at the Peak of Melt
    2016.08.26
    The Arctic sea ice pack is nearing its annual minimum extent, which is projected to be one of the lowest since satellite observations began. Using satellite data and airborne observations, NASA researchers are monitoring the ever-changing ice, and gaining new insights into sea ice thickness and trends. In July, 2016, NASA’s Operation IceBridge flew its first ever science flights low over sea ice near the peak of melt season, studying how the beautiful blue melt ponds on the surface of the ice might affect increased melt rates. For more on recent observations: http://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2016/nasa-monitors-the-new-normal-of-sea-ice
  • Dr. Piers Sellers in Greenland
    2018.01.18
    In 2016, former astronaut and climate scientist Dr. Piers Sellers visited Thule, Greenland, one of the home bases for Operation IceBridge’s spring Arctic campaign. IceBridge is a 10-year airborne science mission measuring polar ice with a range of instruments including laser altimeters and radar. In recent days, Thule has seen an unusual amount of snow as well as cloud conditions more similar to early summertime months.
  • IceBridge Flies High over Both Poles
    2015.09.28
    For the first time NASA’s Operation IceBridge is flying simultaneous missions over both the Arctic and Antarctic, on smaller, faster aircraft. These campaigns and aircraft represent both a unique opportunity for measuring polar ice, and something of a scientific tradeoff from IceBridge’s traditional campaigns.
  • OIB: McMurdo Accomplished, West Antarctic Calling
    2014.10.27
    Last year Operation IceBridge flew for the first time out of McMurdo Station in Antarctica, reaching a new slate of exciting science targets. But that means it's now been two years since the mission has flown over critical areas in West Antarctica, and so the airborne campaign is returning to fly out of Punta Arenas, Chile to monitor quickly-changing ice closer to the Antarctic Peninsula.
  • OIB: Fourwheeling Antarctica
    2014.10.08
    Not everyone was sure Kyle Krabill’s four-wheeler would function in the Antarctic cold. But with some help from the talented techs at the National Science Foundation, the little ATV played a critical role in supporting Operation IceBridge’s 2013 campaign out of remote McMurdo Station.
  • From the Cockpit: The Best of IceBridge Arctic 2013
    2013.08.16
    The views from the cockpit of NASA's P-3B aircraft on an Operation IceBridge campaign are truly stunning. The mission doesn't travel to both ends of the Earth for the scenery of course — the airborne mission is there to collect radar, laser altimetry, and other data on the changing ice sheets, glaciers, and sea ice of the Arctic and Antarctic. But for those of us who aren't polar pilots, here's a selection of some of the best footage from the forward and nadir cameras mounted to the aircraft taken during IceBridge's spring deployment over Greenland and the Arctic Ocean.
  • Massive Crack in Pine Island Glacier Ice Shelf
    2011.11.02
    NASA's DC-8 flew over the Pine Island Glacier Ice Shelf on Oct. 14, 2011, as part of Operation IceBridge. A large, long-running crack was plainly visible across the ice shelf. The DC-8 took off on Oct. 26, 2011, to collect more data on the ice shelf and the crack. The area beyond the crack that could calve in the coming months covers about 310 square miles (800 sq. km).
  • Operation IceBridge Hyperwall video (v1)
    2012.06.19
    A silent video highlighting Operation IceBridge and designed for use on a nine or 15 screen hyperwall.

Data visualizations and conceptual animations

  • NASA Views Laser Landscapes of Helheim Glacier
    2017.07.28
    What if you could measure a glacier in such detail that you could visualize its surface in 3D? And what if you could compare that view with data from one, two, even 20 years ago? NASA airborne campaigns like Operation IceBridge have been measuring Greenland and Antarctica’s glaciers and ice sheets with a range of instruments for years, including radar, lasers, and high resolution cameras, in order to understand just how our planet’s ice is changing. This video shows in unprecedented detail how Greenland’s massive Helheim Glacier has changed over 20 years, using data from instruments like the Airborne Topographic Mapper laser altimeter and the Digital Mapping System cameras, which fly every year on IceBridge missions, and satellite data form the Canadian Space Agency’s Radarsat Satellite. IceBridge plans to return to Helheim again in 2018 to carry on its annual survey.
  • Operation Icebridge Studies Changes in Greenland's Helheim Glacier
    2017.07.28
    These visualizations show data from the Helheim Glacier in Greenland collected by Pre-Icebridge in 1998 and Operation Icebridge in 2013. Data from both the Airborne Topographic Mapper (ATM) and the Digital Mapping System (DMS) are included. The first visualization shows how the scanner on the aircraft acquired the data, building up a representation of the 3d laser scanned points as we go. Once the calving front from 1998 is revealed, the 2013 data is faded in showing the differences between the years. The dots are colored initially by absolute height with reds higher and blues lower; after the 2013 data is added, the dot colors change to a localized scheme with reds higher than nearby points and blues lower than nearby points. ATM data is added at the end for some context. The second visualization shows the DMS data with ATM data at the 2013 calving front. The DMS data is overlayed onto photogrametrically determined altitudes which don't precisely correspond to the ATM data. The heights of the ATM data are the 'true' heights.
  • Operation IceBridge Tracks over the Helheim Glacier in Greenland
    2016.08.31
    Operation Ice Bridge (OIB) has been flying annual airborne missions over the Helheim Glacier in Greenland since 1997. These missions record the elevation of the glacier along a long, thin track near the middle of the glacier. This record of heights helps scientists see how the glacier has changed over the years. This visualization shows OIB tracks from each year in sequence. The camera then moves to the side to compare the ice profiles on a graph. The track profiles are shown to scale (i.e., no exaggeration) until they are compared on the graph where they are exaggerated 10 times to help see the changes. The initial camera for this animation matches the end of the Helheim visualization (#4348). Image layers are included for each track and the graph for those wishing to create different composites.
  • Greenland Ice Sheet stratigraphy
    2015.01.23
    For nearly a century, scientists have been studying the form and flow of the Greenland Ice Sheet. They have measured the change in the elevation of the surface over time using satellites. They have drilled ice cores in the field to reveal a record of what the past climate was like. They have flown aircraft over the surface of the ice sheet laden with instruments to gleen information about the interior of the ice sheet and the bedrock below. Now a new analysis of this data has revealed a three dimensional map of the age of the ice sheet. This animation shows this new 3D age map of the Greenland Ice Sheet, explains how it was created and describes the three distinct periods of climate that are evident within the ice sheet. The full script of the narration is available here. More information is available here.
  • Measuring Elevation Changes on the Greenland Ice Sheet
    2014.03.25
    This narrated animation shows the accumulated change in the elevation of the Greenland ice sheet between 2003 and 2012. This is the official release without the scrolling credits.

    If needed, a complete transcript is available.

  • Greenland's Mega Canyon (narrated video)
    2013.08.29
    Hidden for all of human history, a 460 mile long canyon has been discovered below Greenland's ice sheet. Using radar data from NASA's Operation IceBridge and other airborne campaigns, scientists led by a team from the University of Bristol found the canyon runs from near the center of the island northward to the fjord of the Petermann Glacier.

    A large portion of the data was collected by IceBridge from 2009 through 2012. One of the mission's scientific instruments, the Multichannel Coherent Radar Depth Sounder, operated by the Center for the Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets at the University of Kansas, can see through vast layers of ice to measure its thickness and the shape of bedrock below.

    This is a narrated version of an visualization that can be found, along with more detailed information, at

    Greenland's Mega-Canyon beneath the Ice Sheet (#4097).

  • Antarctic Bedrock
    2013.06.04
    The complete narrated animation with labels and flight paths.
  • Operation Ice Bridge 2011 Arctic Flight Paths and Change in Elevation Data over Greenland
    2011.03.28
    With the aircraft resources of NASA's Airborne Sciences Program, Operation IceBridge is taking to the sky to ensure a sustained, critical watch over Earth's polar regions. Flight lines (black) are shown for the 2011 campaign over Arctic sea ice and Greenland's land ice. Many flights target outlet glaciers along the coast where NASA's Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) shows significant thinning. Blue and purple colors, respectively, indicate moderate to large thinning. Gray and yellow, respectively, indicate slight to moderate thickening. Since its launch in January 2003, the ICESat elevation satellite has been measuring the change in thickness of ice sheets. This image of Greenland shows the changes in elevation over the Greenland ice sheet between 2003 and 2006.
  • West Antarctic Glacier Ice Flows and Elevation Change
    2011.11.02
    This animation shows glacier changes detected by ATM, ICESat and ice bridge data in the highly dynamic Amundsen Embayment of West Antarctica. We know that ice speeds in this area have increased dramatically from the late 1990s to the present as the ice shelves in this area have thinned and the bottom of the ice has lost contact with the bed beneath. As the ice has accelerated, ice upstream of the coast must be stretched more vigorously, causing it to thin. NASA-sponsored aircraft missions first measured the ice surface height in this region in 2002, followed by ICESat data between 2002 and 2009. Ice Bridge aircraft have measured further surface heights in 2009 and 2010, and these measurements continue today. Integrating these altimetry sources allows us to estimate surface height changes throughout the drainage regions of the most important glaciers in the region. We see large elevation changes at the coast on Thwaites glacier, at the center of the images, and large and accelerating elevation changes extending inland from the coast on Pine Island and Smith glaciers, to the left and right of the images, respectively. The changes on Pine Island and Smith glaciers mark these as potential continuing sources of ice to the sea, and they have been surveyed in 2011 by Ice Bridge aircraft and targeted for repeat measurements in coming years.
  • Laser Radar Animation
    2010.04.05
    Laser and radar instruments aboard NASA aircraft provide measurements of the snow and ice surface and down to the bedrock under the ice. Lasers, with a shorter wavelength, measure the surface elevation of the snow or ice to within a fraction of an inch. Radar instruments utilize a longer wavelength and can penetrate the ice to "see" below the surface, providing a profile of ice characteristics and also the shape of the bedrock. This information is critical for understanding how and why the world's biggest ice masses are changing.
  • Operation Ice Bridge Flight Paths - Antarctica Fall 2010 Campaign
    2010.10.20
    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.

  • DC-8 Floor plan animation
    2010.04.05
    NASA's DC-8 aircraft is a four-engine jetliner capable of traveling at 40,000 feet for up to 12 hours. This spring, Ice Bridge will harness the power and longevity of the DC-8 to conduct both high- and low-altitude flights for sea and land ice surveys. A number of cutting-edge science instruments are onboard . This conceptual animation shows the aircraft and the locations of all of the instruments on the DC-8 for the spring 2010 mission.

Arctic

In March, Operation IceBridge flies out of Thule and Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, measuring the Greenland ice sheet and Arctic sea ice with its instruments aboard a P-3B aircraft from the Wallops Flight Facility. The LViS instrument fiels on a smaller aircraft which in 2012 was NASA Langley's HU-25C.
  • IceBridge tackles Svalbard, North Pole, and Greenland in One Day
    2017.05.17
    Operation IceBridge just completed 40 research flights over ten weeks, including three based out of the remote and beautiful islands of Svalbard, Norway. Here is the story of one of its most distinctive missions, called Zig Zag East. This flight started in the rugged fjords of Svalbard, passed over hundreds of miles of sea ice en route to the North Pole, flew through the narrow Nares Strait, and finally returned the team back to Thule Air Base in Greenland. The video was narrated in flight on Apr. 7, 2017 by IceBridge Mission Scientist John Sonntag. IceBridge, an airborne mission that monitors changes at the Earth’s poles, concluded its 2017 spring Arctic campaign on May 12. This field campaign has been the most ambitious in IceBridge’s nine years of operations in the Arctic, greatly expanding the survey’s reach across the Arctic Basin.
  • Shrinking Sea Ice (NASA VIsualization Explorer story)
    2017.04.10
    A combination of warmer-than-average temperatures, winds unfavorable to ice expansion, and a series of storms halted Arctic sea ice growth.
  • 2016 Sea Ice Minimum Live Shots
    2016.08.15

    Arctic Sea Ice Trending Low After Record 2016 Heat

    NASA Scientists Available August 19 To Show New Views Of The Arctic During Summer Melt Season

    Record-breaking temperatures in the first half of 2016 have primed the Arctic for another summer of low sea ice cover. Sea ice is frozen ocean water around the polar caps that, in the winter thickens and grows and in the summer thins and decreases. Arctic sea ice is important because it reflects sunlight and keeps the Arctic region cool. Over the past three decades, Arctic sea ice has dramatically declined; making what was once extraordinary low measurements the new normal.

    Join NASA scientists on Friday August 19th from 6:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. EDT to show your viewers new images from the Arctic, and talk about how the polar region is fairing this summer, and how long-term changes in this region could affect the way we live in the U.S.

    The Arctic is Earth’s air conditioner and it helps regulate global temperatures. But the region is warming twice as fast as elsewhere in the world, making the Arctic one of the most visible signs of a changing planet.

    NASA is keeping a close eye on changing conditions in the Arctic with its satellites, airborne and ground campaigns that are measuring the polar sea ice. Scientists are also monitoring the ice sheets that sit on land that are also melting at increasing rates. In 2018 NASA will launch the ICESat-2 satellite that will make some of the most advanced measurements of the polar regions ever.

    ** To book a window ** Michelle Handleman/ michelle.z.handleman@nasa.gov / 301-286-0918 work

    HD Satellite Coordinates for AMC9-K17/Slot AB (18MHz): AMC-9 Ku-band Xp 17 Slot AB| 83.0 ° W Longitude | DL 12045.0 MHz | Horizontal Polarity | QPSK/DVB-S | FEC 3/4 | SR 13.235 Mbps | DR 18.2954 MHz | HD 720p | Format MPEG2 | Chroma Level 4:2:0 | Audio Embedded

    Suggested Questions:

    1. Globally it’s been the warmest year on record. What do the latest images show us about this year’s summer in the Arctic?

    2. What is sea ice and why is it important to the Arctic and the Earth as a whole?

    3. Do you think we’ll ever see an ice-free Arctic?

    4. What about the rest of the Arctic – aren’t we seeing changes in Greenland, too?

    5. Where can we learn more?

    Live Shot Details:

    Location: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Greenbelt, Maryland

    Scientists:

    • Dr. Walt Meier / NASA Scientist


    • Dr. Tom Wagner / NASA Cryosphere Program Manager

    • Dr. Carlos Del Castillo / NASA Scientist [Interviews in Spanish]

    Video: NASA will roll all insert videos during live interviews. If needed, stations can roll a clean feed of all video at 5:45 a.m. EDT on August 18, 2016, at the above listed satellite.

    Canned interviews and b-roll will be available starting August 18 at 6:00 p.m. EDT On Twitter @NASAEarth

  • Dr. Piers Sellers in Greenland
    2018.01.18
    In 2016, former astronaut and climate scientist Dr. Piers Sellers visited Thule, Greenland, one of the home bases for Operation IceBridge’s spring Arctic campaign. IceBridge is a 10-year airborne science mission measuring polar ice with a range of instruments including laser altimeters and radar. In recent days, Thule has seen an unusual amount of snow as well as cloud conditions more similar to early summertime months.
  • Sea Ice Maximum/Operation IceBridge Live Shots
    2016.03.22

    Just three months into 2016 and already global temperatures – particularly in the Arctic – are far warmer than normal. Global temperatures for February were the warmest on record for that month.

    Nowhere is this warming trend felt more than in the Arctic where the unusual wintertime warmth has contributed to record low wintertime sea ice extent. Arctic sea ice keeps the Polar Regions cold and helps regulate global temperatures. The shrinking of sea ice is a key indicator of our planet’s health. NASA is monitoring the health of the Arctic from space and the ground. In the coming days NASA will launch two missions – Operation Ice Bridge and OMG (Oceans Melting Greenland). These airborne and ground campaigns to the Arctic will take measurements of sea ice and glacier thickness.

    Join NASA scientists on Friday, March 25 from 6:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. EDT to see new images of this year’s sea ice extent; talk about how the Arctic faired this winter; and find out the latest on NASA missions to the Arctic set to launch in the coming days.

    Suggested Questions:

    1. What do the latest images show us about this year’s winter in the Arctic?

    2. What do the images tell us about the long-term trend?

    3. NASA is getting ready to send out teams of scientists to the Arctic in the coming days. What will they be doing?

    4. Where can we learn more?

    *** To book a window contact*** Michelle Handleman / michelle.z.handleman@nasa.gov Click for sea ice Flickr gallery.

  • IceBridge Kicks Off Campaign with “New” Aircraft
    2015.03.20
    NASA’s Operation IceBridge is back in the field, but this time, there’s a twist. Instead of using the P-3 or DC-8 aircraft from previous campaigns, they’ve outfitted a C-130 cargo plane for the trip. Science flights begin this week as the mission studies Arctic sea ice, ice caps, glaciers, and the Greenland Ice Sheet with a range of different instruments.
  • IceBridge Rendezvous with an Ice-Bound Vessel
    2015.03.26
    Having just arrived in Greenland, the first challenge for the Operation IceBridge Arctic 2015 campaign was to survey a broad swath of Arctic sea ice … and along the way, locate and precisely overfly a Norwegian research vessel frozen in the quickly moving ice pack. In this quick mission update, Flight Team Lead John Sonntag gives us the story from the field. For more on the Lance overflight and Operation IceBridge: www.nasa.gov/icebridge
  • Operation IceBridge Arctic 2015 video series
    2015.04.22
    NASA’s Operation IceBridge has wrapped up its 2015 Arctic field campaign after covering a vast expanse of science targets during 33 different flights over land ice, sea ice, and glaciers. The airborne campaign flies over the Arctic and Antarctic every year measuring changes in the ice with instruments like radar and lasers. For more on IceBridge: www.nasa.gov/icebridge
  • Arctic 2014 video series
    2014.04.24
    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 Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) — in orbit since 2003 — and ICESat-2, planned for early 2016. ICESat stopped collecting science data in 2009, making IceBridge critical for ensuring a continuous series of observations.
  • Greenland's Mega Canyon (narrated video)
    2013.08.29
    Hidden for all of human history, a 460 mile long canyon has been discovered below Greenland's ice sheet. Using radar data from NASA's Operation IceBridge and other airborne campaigns, scientists led by a team from the University of Bristol found the canyon runs from near the center of the island northward to the fjord of the Petermann Glacier.

    A large portion of the data was collected by IceBridge from 2009 through 2012. One of the mission's scientific instruments, the Multichannel Coherent Radar Depth Sounder, operated by the Center for the Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets at the University of Kansas, can see through vast layers of ice to measure its thickness and the shape of bedrock below.

    This is a narrated version of an visualization that can be found, along with more detailed information, at

    Greenland's Mega-Canyon beneath the Ice Sheet (#4097).

  • From the Cockpit: The Best of IceBridge Arctic 2013
    2013.08.16
    The views from the cockpit of NASA's P-3B aircraft on an Operation IceBridge campaign are truly stunning. The mission doesn't travel to both ends of the Earth for the scenery of course — the airborne mission is there to collect radar, laser altimetry, and other data on the changing ice sheets, glaciers, and sea ice of the Arctic and Antarctic. But for those of us who aren't polar pilots, here's a selection of some of the best footage from the forward and nadir cameras mounted to the aircraft taken during IceBridge's spring deployment over Greenland and the Arctic Ocean.
  • Keeping a Close Eye on Jakobshavn
    2013.04.05
    Jakobshavn Glacier, one of the fastest moving glaciers in Greenland, has been the focus of IceBridge survey flights for five consecutive years. Here, images from an IceBridge mission on Apr. 4, 2013 and video footage from the 2012 Arctic campaign show this rapidly changing ice stream and how IceBridge is using its suite of airborne instruments to collect crucial data on ice movement and how much glaciers like Jakobshavn might contribute to future sea level rise.
  • Flying Low over Southeast Greenland
    2013.04.11
    Few of us ever get to see Greenland's glaciers from 500 meters above the ice. But in this video — recorded on April 9, 2013 in southeast Greenland using a cockpit camera installed and operated by the National Suborbital Education and Research Center, or NSERC — we see what Operation IceBridge's pilots see as they fly NASA's P-3B airborne laboratory low over the Arctic. Following a glacier's sometimes winding flow line gives IceBridge researchers a perspective on the ice not possible from satellites which pass in straight lines overhead. By gathering such data, IceBridge is helping to build a continuous record of change in the polar regions.
  • Operation IceBridge: Wheels Down in Thule
    2013.03.20
    NASA's Operation IceBridge begins another season of science over the Arctic with survey flights out of Greenland. For the next several weeks, IceBridge will carry out a research campaign — the result of months of planning and discussion — to study Arctic sea ice, glaciers, and ice sheets.

  • Five teachers, 500 meters above Greenland
    2012.06.12
    This year five teachers were invited on board NASA's P-3B aircraft to fly at 500 meters above the glaciers of Greenland with Operation IceBridge, a six-year mission to study Arctic and Antarctic ice. Two teachers from Greenland, two from Denmark, and one from the United States were given the opportunity to see polar research first hand, and then take that experience back to their classrooms.

    For complete transcript, click here.

  • NASA and ESA in an Arctic Alliance
    2012.06.13
    For the second straight year, NASA's Operation IceBridge is collaborating with the European Space Agency's CryoVEx program, flying aircraft low over Arctic sea ice while ESA's CryoSat satellite orbits above. In this video, IceBridge Project Scientist Michael Studinger discusses the benefits of the long term joint data set the agencies are creating.
  • IceBridge Field Update on a Day Off (2011)
    2011.04.12
    Science writer Kathryn Hansen and video producer Jefferson Beck give an update on Operation IceBridge from the field. They interview NASA engineer Kyle Krabill about the weather in Greenland and the flying conditions so far.

    For complete transcript, click here.

  • Building a Bigger Bridge - OIB Arctic 2011 Preview
    2011.03.15
    Operation IceBridge is heading back into the Arctic with two aircraft and the most sophisticated suite of instruments ever flown in polar regions. This year's mission will focus on sea ice thickness, the Canadian Ice Caps, Greenland ice sheet dynamics, and flyovers of the European Space Agency's CryoSat-2 ground validation sites.
  • IceBridge Flies the Ice Caps (2011)
    2011.05.12
    Ice caps are simply small versions of ice sheets, measuring in at a maximum area of 50,000 square kilometers (about 19,000 square miles). It's their small and thin stature that makes ice caps more prone to melt in a warming Arctic. Charles Webb of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., explains the importance of monitoring ice caps in the Canadian Arctic

    A few flights within NASA's Operation IceBridge — an airborne mission to monitor Earth's polar ice — are adding to the long-term record of ice cap changes. Such a record can provide insight into ice cap dynamics as well as provide an early-warning indicator of the impacts of climate change.

  • OIB Arctic 2011 LIveshot with Tom Wagner
    2011.03.30
    NASA scientists have just begun the most recent leg of the Operation IceBridge Mission, an unprecedented six-year mission to study the Earth's polar regions, not through the lens of a satellite, but from onboard an airplane. In fact, IceBridge is the largest airborne survey of Earth's polar ice ever flown.
  • Eight Down, One To Go (2011)
    2011.04.06
    As of April 6, 2011, crew and scientists with NASA's Operation IceBridge mission have completed eight out of nine planned sea ice flights from Thule, Greeenland, and plan to fly one more from Kangerlussuaq. Michael Studinger, IceBridge project scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., talks about the successes and challenges of logging 30,000 kilometers in an Arctic environment. Credit: NASA/Jefferson Beck
  • Behind the Scenes with Operation IceBridge (2010)
    2010.04.22
    Learn what a typical day is like with Operation IceBridge scientists, pilots and crew as they explore the polar ice sheets. This video includes exclusive footage of Arctic sea ice and Greenland glaciers.
  • Operation IceBridge Arctic 2010 Campaign Takes Off: reporters package
    2010.04.06
    NASA's Operation IceBridge mission, the largest airborne survey ever flown of Earth's polar ice, kicked off its second year of study in late March 2010. The IceBridge mission allows scientists to track changes in the extent and thickness of polar ice, which is important to understanding ice dynamics. IceBridge began in March 2009 as a means to fill the gap in polar observations between the loss of NASA's ICESat satellite and the launch of ICESat-2, planned for 1015. Annual missions fly over the Arctic in March and April and over the Antarctic in October and November. This video gives a brief overview of the start of the Arctic 2010 IceBridge campaign.

    For complete transcript, click here.

  • Live interview with Lora Koenig on IceBridge and the 2010 Arctic sea ice maximum
    2010.04.02
    Live interview with NASA Goddard cryospheric scientist Lora Koenig regarding Operation IceBridge and the 2010 Arctic sea ice maximum.
  • Operation IceBridge Arctic 2010 Pre-Mission Video
    2010.03.18
    This short video provides an introduction to the science objectives and key players for the Operation IceBridge Spring 2010 campaign in Greenland.

Antarctic

In October, Operation IceBridge flies over Antarctica from its base of operations in Punta Arenas, Chile, typically with the DC-8 aircraft supplied by NASA Dryden. A smaller aircraft carrying the LViS instrument also joins the campaign, which in 2011 was a Gulfstream V operated by the National Science Foundation and the National Center for Atmospheric Research.
  • Antarctica's Giant Iceberg (NASA Visualization Explorer story)
    2017.07.24
    An iceberg the size of Delaware recently broke off from Antarctica.
  • IceBridge images of crack in Larsen C Ice Shelf
    2016.12.08
    Operation IceBridge, a NASA airborne survey of changes in polar ice, recently completed its eighth consecutive Antarctic deployment. This page contains a wrapup video for the entire mission, as well as some footage over the Antarctic Peninsula's Larsen C Ice Shelf, and a few high definition still images. One of this year’s missions flew over a massive rift in the Larsen C. Ice shelves are the floating parts of ice streams and glaciers, and they buttress the grounded ice behind them; when ice shelves collapse, the ice behind accelerates toward the ocean, where it then adds to sea level rise. Larsen C neighbors a smaller ice shelf that disintegrated in 2002 after developing a rift similar to the one now growing in Larsen C. The IceBridge scientists measured the Larsen C fracture to be about 70 miles long, more than 300 feet wide and about a third of a mile deep. The crack completely cuts through the ice shelf but it does not go all the way across it – once it does, it will produce an iceberg roughly the size of the state of Delaware. "It’s a large rift on an ice shelf whose future we are curious about. Inevitably, when you see it in satellite imagery or from a plane, you wonder what is going to happen when it breaks off,” said Joe MacGregor, IceBridge deputy project scientist and glaciologist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. "However, large icebergs calve from ice shelves regularly and they normally do not lead to ice-shelf collapse. The growth of this rift likely indicates that the portion of the ice shelf downstream of the rift is no longer holding back any grounded ice.” For more about Operation IceBridge and to follow future campaigns, visit: www.nasa.gov/icebridge https://www.facebook.com/NasaOperationIcebridge
  • Antarctic 2014 video series
    2014.10.28
    Operation IceBridge has returned to operate out of Punta Arenas, Chile in 2014 in order to fly over science targets like the Weddell Sea and the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.
  • OIB: McMurdo Accomplished, West Antarctic Calling
    2014.10.27
    Last year Operation IceBridge flew for the first time out of McMurdo Station in Antarctica, reaching a new slate of exciting science targets. But that means it's now been two years since the mission has flown over critical areas in West Antarctica, and so the airborne campaign is returning to fly out of Punta Arenas, Chile to monitor quickly-changing ice closer to the Antarctic Peninsula.
  • OIB: Fourwheeling Antarctica
    2014.10.08
    Not everyone was sure Kyle Krabill’s four-wheeler would function in the Antarctic cold. But with some help from the talented techs at the National Science Foundation, the little ATV played a critical role in supporting Operation IceBridge’s 2013 campaign out of remote McMurdo Station.
  • Ross Sea Highlights
    2013.12.24
    A highlight reel set to music.
  • First Landing at McMurdo
    2013.11.25
    With the successful landing of the NASA P-3 aircraft on McMurdo Station's seasonal sea ice runway, Operation IceBridge is opening the door to a whole new suite of remote science targets in Antarctica.
  • Operation IceBridge 2013 Antarctic Campaign B-Roll
    2014.04.01
    Raw video footage from Operation IceBridge's 2013 science campaign out of McMurdo Station Antartica

  • Antarctic 2012 video series
    2012.11.16
    This year Operation IceBridge completed 16 science flights over Antarctica and nearby sea ice, flying once again out of Punta Arenas, Chile. This video series contains a diverse set of products reflecting the science and adventure of the mission.
  • Flying through the Rift: An update on the crack in the P.I.G.
    2012.03.06
    NASA's DC-8 flew over the Pine Island Glacier Ice Shelf on Oct. 14, 2011, as part of Operation IceBridge. A large, long-running crack was plainly visible across the ice shelf. The DC-8 took off on Oct. 26, 2011, to collect more data on the ice shelf and the crack. The area beyond the crack that could calve in the coming months covers about 310 square miles (800 sq. km).
  • OIB Antarctic 2011 Mission Preview
    2011.10.13
    In preparation for Operation IceBridge's Antarctica 2011 campaign, flight crews at NASA Dryden worked to outfit the DC-8 aircraft — NASA's long-haul "workhorse" — with an array of different instruments designed to measure sea ice, ice sheets, and even the bedrock below Antarctic glaciers.
  • Massive Crack in Pine Island Glacier Ice Shelf
    2011.11.02
    NASA's DC-8 flew over the Pine Island Glacier Ice Shelf on Oct. 14, 2011, as part of Operation IceBridge. A large, long-running crack was plainly visible across the ice shelf. The DC-8 took off on Oct. 26, 2011, to collect more data on the ice shelf and the crack. The area beyond the crack that could calve in the coming months covers about 310 square miles (800 sq. km).
  • IceBridge Antarctic 2010 Video File
    2010.11.15
    Operation IceBridge video file for the Antarctic 2010 campaign.
  • IceBridge Antarctic Peninsula Flight Highlights - Nov. 13, 2010
    2010.11.15
    The IceBridge science team and DC-8 crew flew a mission over the Antarctic Peninsula on Saturday, November 13th. This video provides a snapshot of the flight from the field and describes the challenges faced with weather and terrain. All instruments collected data for several glaciers before the weather conditions forced an early return to Punta Arenas.