Meltwater In Crevasses In Greenland

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
March 26, 2022
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Meltwater In Crevasses In Greenland
Meltwater In Crevasses In Greenland

NASA’s annual survey of changes in Arctic ice cover greatly expanded its reach in a series of flights that wrapped up on May 12, 2017.
This was the most ambitious spring campaign to date in 2017 in the region for NASA’s Operation IceBridge, an airborne mission to monitor ice changes at Earth’s poles, which also included a rapid-response flight over a new crack in Petermann Glacier, one of the largest and fastest-changing glaciers in Greenland.

“This has easily been our best year ever for surveying sea ice,” said Nathan Kurtz, IceBridge’s project scientist and a sea ice researcher at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “Geographically, we covered a wider area than ever before, and the new instruments we deployed during this campaign have given us denser and more accurate measurements.”

IceBridge explored for the first time the Eurasian half of the Arctic Basin through two research flights departing from Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago in the northern Atlantic Ocean. The mission also took measurements of a recently formed crack on the ice shelf of Petermann Glacier.

This Arctic season, IceBridge completed all of its sea and land ice baseline flights -surveys that are repeated year after year to measure regions that have been evolving rapidly over the last decades. In total, the mission carried out 39 eight-hour flights in 10 weeks. Of those, 13 focused on surveying sea ice, while the remaining 26 flights targeted land ice. Several flights included collaborations with international Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) missions teams to collect and compare measurements of snow and ice. The largest one was with CryoVEx, a campaign dedicated to validating data gathered by ESA’s (the European Space Agency) CryoSat-2 satellite, but IceBridge also coordinated data collection with a group of European adventurers collecting snow depth data while doing a traverse toward the North Pole, with ESA’s Sentinel-3A satellite, and with a GPS survey near Summit Station, Greenland, designed to validate future measurements by the upcoming Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) mission, among other collaborations.

Image credit: NASA
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