Cryospheric Research Roundup

October 2016

 IceBridge Begins Eighth Year of Antarctic Flights 

Operation IceBridge completed the first research flight of its 2016 Antarctic campaign on October 14. The campaign will continue through November 19. This year, the mission is based in Punta Arenas, a city at the southern tip of Chile. From there, IceBridge is carrying 12-hour flights back and forth to Antarctica, covering most of the western section of the frozen continent – the region that is experiencing the fastest changes and is Antarctica’s biggest contributor to sea level rise.
The information IceBridge has gathered during its eight years of flights in the Antarctic, which includes data on the thickness and shape of snow and ice, as well as the topography of the land and ocean floor beneath the ocean and the ice, has allowed scientists to determine that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet may be in irreversible decline. Researchers have also used IceBridge data to evaluate climate models of Antarctica and map the bedrock underneath Antarctic ice.
  • For more information about the Antarctic campaign, click here

September 2016

 Nine Lab Members Receive HOBI Awards

The outstanding work of nine members of the cryospheric science laboratory was recognized during the 2016 Hydrospheric and Biospheric Sciences Annual Award Ceremony, held on Sept. 1. Stacy Milligan and Lisa Karmel received the HOBI award for exceptional administrative support. Ludovic Brucker won the HOBI outreach award for exceptional public outreach and mentoring of students in the field of remote sensing of the cryosphere. Kyle Krabill, Nick DiGirolamos, Larry Stock, Jeremy Harbeck and Jeff Guerber all got awards for outstanding technical support far beyond their responsibilities.
Finally, Dorothy Hall (pictured) received the HOBI Career Achievement award, recognizing her lifetime work.
 New Member of The Lab
Melinda Webster joined the Cryospheric Sciences Laboratory in September as a NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow. She comes from the University of Washington, where she completed a Ph.D. in Oceanography researching snow and melt ponds on Arctic sea ice. During her fellowship at Goddard, she'll use laser altimetry data from NASA’s ICESat and Operation IceBridge missions to investigate the topographic changes in first-year and multiyear sea ice, and the effects of those changes on spring snow distributions and summer melt pond coverage.
New blog: Beaufort Gyre Exploration Project 2016
Sea ice scientist Alek Petty will spend four weeks participating in the 2016 Joint Ocean Ice Study, a research expedition around the Arctic Ocean’s Beaufort Gyre. The goal of these expeditions, which have been taking place since 2013, is to better understand the Beaufort Gyre’s circulation, freshwater content, water mass properties and biota distributions. Petty will be blogging about his experience in NASA’s Earth Observatory’s “Notes from the Field” blog.
  • Check out the Beaufort Gyre Exploration blog.

August 2016

 IceBridge Launches Campaign To Study Summer Land Ice Melt

Operation IceBridge, NASA’s airborne survey of polar ice, is flying in Greenland for the second time this year, to observe the impact of the summer melt season on the ice sheet. The IceBridge flights, which began on Aug. 27 and will continue until Sept. 16, are mostly repeats of lines that the team flew in early May, so that scientists can observe changes in ice elevation between the spring and late summer.
  • For more information about this campaign, click here.

July 2016

IceBridge’s Summer Campaign In Alaska

Operation IceBridge conducted a short summer campaign in July to study Arctic sea ice melt. The flights, carried July 13-21 from Barrow, Alaska, were primarily aimed to map the extent, frequency and depth of melt ponds, the aquamarine pools of melt water that form on sea ice during spring and summer. Previous studies have shown that how melt ponds form early in the summer is a good predictor of September’s sea ice yearly minimum extent and this IceBridge campaign aims to provide data to help improve melt pond models. 

During the Barrow deployment, IceBridge flew six four-hour flights over sea ice in the Beaufort and Chuckchi seas.

New Visiting Scientist

Cynthia Garcia-Eidell finished her Masters in Environmental Engineering from the Catholic University of Korea and served as one of the main researchers in the Philippine Senate Committee on Science and Technology and the Congressional Commission on Science, Technology and Engineering. As a visiting scientist at the cryospheric sciences laboratory, she is studying space-observed salinity distribution in the Arctic and relationship with sea ice retreat in spring, plankton concentration and sea surface temperature under the direction of Josefino Comiso. She intends to pursue further studies on climate change and satellite-remote sensing of the Arctic as the research component of a Ph.D. program.
Second IceBridge Intern For The Summer
Midshipman First Class Colton Byers is a senior at the United States Naval Academy (USNA) majoring in Oceanography. Midshipman Byers is participating in an internship with the NASA's Operation IceBridge from July 25 to August 16. During the internship he will focus on developing new techniques for using unmanned aerial systems to collect data on snow and sea and land ice properties. After completion of his internship, Byers will continue to work with NASA OIB through the spring of 2017 as part of his Honors Oceanography Independent Research project. After graduation from USNA in May 2017, Byers hopes to be commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps.

Read more research news in our Research Roundup Archives.

Cryospheric Sciences at NASA Goddard

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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