NASA has now started to collect this year’s research of the Earth’s polar ice sheets as part of their six-year survey.
NASA began Operation IceBridge back in 2009, when their ice, cloud and land elevation satellite (ICESat) ceased collecting data. NASA are unable to launch the second ICESat until 2016, so they are running Operation IceBridge and annual P-3 airborne campaigns until then, in order to ensure that scientific data of the Earth’s polar ice sheets.
NASA’s 2013 Operation IceBridge has kicked off in Greenland and the Artic, analyzing the ice sheets, sea ice and land in this area.
Operation IceBridge aims to be the biggest airborne analysis of the Earth’s polar ice that has ever been conducted. It’s now accepted fact that the ice sheets and shelves across Greenland and the Arctic are decreasing dramatically, but NASA aims to obtain an extraordinary 3-D view that will clearly show this for the first time.
The data detailing the thickness of glaciers, sea ice and ice sheets, which is being collected as part of Operation IceBridge, is being used to help scientists predict future changes to the Earth’s polar ice sheets and also sea levels.
The Operation IceBridge flights will continue over Greenland and the Arctic up until May. Then NASA will take its research project to Antarctica throughout October and November.
NASA are also allowing science teachers from high schools in Greenland, Denmark and the US to take part in the survey flights in order to learn more about polar science.