Cryospheric Research Roundup

June 2015

Parkinson Received 2015 Nordberg Award

Claire Parkinson received the 2015 William Nordberg Memorial Award in Earth Science "for her work enabling a deeper understanding of the role of sea ice in the climate system, for outstanding leadership of EOS/Aqua science, and for impressive educational outreach accomplishments."
The award was presented during the annual William Nordberg lecture held on June 10, where after a brief ceremony, Parkinson gave a talk titled "Climate Change as Revealed in Satellite Sea Ice Observations".
 
  • Click here for more information on Parkinson’s Nordberg lecture.

May 2015

Modeling Water Channels Under Greenland's Ice Sheet

 Christine Dow recently published a study modeling how water channels develop under the Greenland Ice Sheet after a rapid surface lake drainage. Surface lakes on the Greenland Ice Sheet can drain to the bed in a matter of hours, causing the ice to quickly speed up over the course of a day. Directly accessing the bed of the Greenland Ice Sheet is very challenging, particularly in regions where ice is more than 3000 feet thick. As a result, numerical models using data collected from field work as inputs are an ideal way to assess development of drainage systems at the base of the ice.

The work by Dow and colleagues shows that channels in inland regions of the ice sheet do not develop rapidly during lake drainage and the water instead exits the area as a turbulent water sheet. Furthermore, the modeled channels only grew slowly during the melt season and suggest that efficient drainage networks may not regulate the volumes of water input to the bed. As a result, with more meltwater produced on the surface of the ice sheet in a warming climate, the ice in the interior might maintain speeds higher than winter velocities. 
 
  • Dow's study can be found here.

April 2015

National Science Foundation Funds Brunt's Study Of Antarctic Ice Flow

The edge of the Ross Ice Shelf (Credit: NASA/Operation IceBridge)

Kelly Brunt received funding from the National Science Foundation’s Division of Polar Programs to support a two-year study of the flow of the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica. This ice shelf, together with the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf, buttresses the seaward flow of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, the portion of Antarctica’s grounded ice that is most at risk of catastrophic disintegration and is currently the largest Antarctic contribution to sea level rise.
Brunt’s project will develop a model that explores how ocean tides modulate the movement of land ice toward the sea and will use existing GPS measurements to evaluate the model's results.

March 2015

Operation IceBridge Launches 2015 Arctic Campaign

NASA's Operation IceBridge, an airborne survey of polar ice, started its seventh Arctic campaign on March 19. This year’s science flights over Arctic sea and land ice will continue until May 22 and will have three parts: the first, based in the Thule Air Base in northern Greenland and including a short deployment to Fairbanks, Alaska, willfocus mostly on sea ice. The second leg of the deployment will be based in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, and it will focus on surveying ice surface elevation and thickness at several rapidly changing points of the Greenland ice sheet. Afterward, the team will return to Thule for the last phase of the field campaign, which will include both land and sea ice flights.
  

Read more research news in our Research Roundup Archives.

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Cryospheric research at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center addresses the physics of ice sheets and glaciers, sea ice, snow on ice and land, and their roles in the global climate system.

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