Operation IceBridge, a six-year NASA mission, is the largest airborne survey of Earth's polar ice ever flown. It will yield an unprecedented three-dimensional view of Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets, ice shelves and sea ice. These flights will provide a yearly, multi-instrument look at the behavior of the rapidly changing features of the Greenland and Antarctic ice. Data collected during IceBridge will help scientists bridge the gap in polar observations between NASA's Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) -- in orbit since 2003 -- and ICESat-2, scheduled for launch in January 2016. ICESat stopped collecting science data in 2009, making IceBridge critical for ensuring a continuous series of observations.
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+ Operation IceBridge mission page
The Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) mission is the second generation laser altimeter designed for cryospheric science measurements. Unlike it's single-beam predecessor, ICESat-2 will split a single light pulse into six beams to enable measurement of elevation as well as surface slope, and uses a high-repetition rate laser to collect data every 70cm along the flight path. Currently in Phase A, ICESat-2 is scheduled for launch in January 2016.
+ ICESat-2 Web page
The Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) mission, launched in January 2003, has been an exceptional new tool for laser exploration of the planet - measuring the Earth’s surface and atmosphere in unprecedented three-dimensional detail. ICESat’s measurements have proven the unique capability of spaceborne laser altimetry for a variety of advances in Cryospheric and Earth Sciences. Though ICESat stopped collecting data in October 2009, the data continued to be used by land ice, sea ice, and terrestrial scientists around the world.
+ ICESat Web page
+ Polar ice altimetry
Distributed Biological Observatory
Distributed Biological Observatory (DBO) is a multi-agency program in support of the NOAA Arctic Research Program. Here we present data imagery and animations displaying recent chlorophyll pigment concentration, sea surface temperatures, sea ice concentration, cloud fraction, wind vectors and sea level pressure.
Current State of Sea Ice Cover
The sea ice cover is one of the key components of the climate system. It has been a focus of attention in recent years, largely because of a strong decrease in the Arctic sea ice cover and modeling results that indicate that global warming could be amplified in the region by a factor of about 3 to 5 times on account of ice-albedo feedback. This results from the high reflectivity (albedo) of the sea ice compared to ice-free waters.
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Aqua Project Science
Aqua, Latin for water, is a NASA Earth Science satellite mission named for the large amount of information that the mission is collecting about the Earth's water cycle, including evaporation from the oceans, water vapor in the atmosphere, clouds, precipitation, soil moisture, sea ice, land ice, and snow cover on the land and ice. Additional variables also being measured by Aqua include radiative energy fluxes, aerosols, vegetation cover on the land, phytoplankton and dissolved organic matter in the oceans, and air, land, and water temperatures.
+ Visit the Aqua web site