Cryospheric Research Roundup

September 2017

2017 Arctic Sea Ice Minimum Extent Is Eighth Lowest on Record

Arctic sea ice appeared reached its yearly lowest extent on Sept. 13. Analysis of satellite data by NSIDC and NASA showed that at 1.79 million square miles, this year’s Arctic sea ice minimum extent is the eighth lowest in the consistent long-term satellite record, which began in 1978.

“The weather conditions in the Arctic have not been particularly noteworthy this summer," said Cryospheric Sciences Laboratory member Claire Parkinson. "The fact that we still ended up with low sea ice extents is because the baseline ice conditions today are worse than the baseline 38 years ago.” 

  • To read more about this year’s end-of-summer Arctic sea ice extent, click here.

July 2017

 IceBridge Gauges Summer Sea Ice Melt in the Arctic 

Operation IceBridge launched a short campaign on July 17 from Thule Air Base, in northwest Greenland, to observe the impact of the melt season on the Arctic's oldest and thickest sea ice.
Onboard an HU-25C Guardian Falcon aircraft, the IceBridge team will survey melt ponds and re-fly a set of tracks to locate areas of sea ice that the mission already flew over in March and April, during IceBridge’s regular springtime campaign, to measure how the ice has melted since then.
  • To learn more about this campaign, click here.

June 2017

Medley Talks Lasers at Awesome Con

Brooke Medley participated  in "NASA's Space Lasers", a panel on the agency's latest laser technology  that was held on June 16 at Awesome Con, Washington D.C.’s annual comics and pop culture convention. Medley discussed the science behind ICESat-2 -- specifically, why NASA is studying the Earth’s ice sheets and how the scientific comunity will use ICESat-2’s lasers to improve their understanding of polar ice.  

"There were about 300 people in attendance, of all ages, genders, and ethnicities," Medley said. "The audience was very engaged and asked very insightful questions!" 

 New Summer Intern

Paul Lin is a rising college freshman majoring in Earth Science (Environmental Science Concentration) and International Relations at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Under mentor Ryan Walker at the NASA Goddard Center, Paul will be working with computer simulations on multiple ocean variables to collect and analyze data related to Antarctic melting.  From his time at NASA, Paul hopes to gain an understanding of modeling and researching about Earth's environmental processes and hopes to use his experiences to advance a career in international environmental law.

April 2017

Poinar Gives TED Talk

On Apr. 26, glaciologist Kristin Poinar spoke at a session of the popular TED Talks that focused on climate change. Poinar discussed her recent work on a perennial aquifer that lies buried within the Greenland Ice Sheet. Poinar’s numeric models have shown that the water from the aquifer is reaching the bedrock underneath the ice, ultimately draining to the ocean and contributing to sea level rise.

During her talk, Poinar highlighted the role of satellites in advancing polar science: “Aircraft and satellites are revolutionizing glaciology. They’re revealing new, hidden facts about the ice sheet constantly.”

  • To learn more about Poinar's research on Greenland's perennial aquifer, read this story.

New member of the lab

Tyler Sutterley joined the Cryospheric Sciences Laboratory in April as a NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow. Sutterley comes from the Earth System Science Department at the University of California, Irvine.There, he used a combination of remote sensing observations from NASA's GRACE, ICESat-1 and Operation IceBridge missions and climate model outputs to study modern-day changes of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. During his fellowship at Goddard, he'll use laser altimetry observations from Operation IceBridge, ICESat-1 and the upcoming ICESat-2 mission to investigate elevation changes in the Antarctic Peninsula and in West Antarctica, currently the biggest Antarctic contributors to sea level rise. Using the suite of elevation data, he'll investigate the impacts of ice shelf thinning, degradation and loss on the behavior of the inland glaciers flowing into the shelves. 

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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