Operation IceBridge tracks polar ice in breakthrough year


Operation IceBridge tracks polar ice in breakthrough year Today’s Video of the Day comes from NASA Goddard and features a look at how Operation IceBridge is mapping and monitoring polar ice across the globe.

In 2017, Operation IceBridge flew 7 separate field campaigns, the most in its 9-year history. This amounted to 87 flights and 210,000 miles, the equivalent of 8.5 times around the Earth. Operation IceBridge tracks polar ice in breakthrough year as shown above. 

The mission of Operation IceBridge is “to collect data on changing ice sheets, glaciers, and sea ice, and maintain continuity of measurements between ICESat satellite missions.”

Operation IceBridge is an ongoing NASA mission to monitor changes in polar ice. It is an airborne follow-on mission to the ICESat satellite, continuing until after the ICESat-2 mission launch in September 2018. From 2003 to 2009, NASA used a space-based laser altimeter, ICESat, for observing polar ice.

Operation IceBridge uses up to four different radar instruments operated by the Center for the Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS) at the University of Kansas. Indiana University provides data management services for CReSIS activities in Operation IceBridge.

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 at least once every year. The first IceBridge flights were conducted in March/May 2009 over Greenland and in October/November 2009 over Antarctica.

By Rory Arnold, Earth.com Staff Writer

Video Credit: NASA

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