Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Earth Science News .

Two Perfect Days for IceBridge
by Staff Writers
Greenbelt MD (SPX) Oct 31, 2012

Ellsworth Mountains in Antarctica seen from NASA's DC-8. Credit: NASA/Michael Studinger. For a larger version of this image please go here.

After two no-fly days for aircraft maintenance and weather, IceBridge surveyed the Ronne Ice Shelf grounding line and took high-altitude measurements of four glaciers in West Antarctica.

These missions gathered critical ice elevation and thickness data and gave those on the DC-8 spectacular views such as the Ellsworth Mountains-home of Antarctica's highest point, Vinson Massif (16,067 feet)-and the rift in the Pine Island Glacier that was discovered during last year's Antarctic campaign.

Early on the morning of Oct. 22, the IceBridge team met with hopes of clear weather over the Weddell Sea for a sea ice survey that would have coordinated with an overhead pass by CryoSat-2, the European Space Agency's ice monitoring satellite.

With forecast models showing clouds in the Weddell Sea, IceBridge took off for a grounding line survey of the Ronne Ice Shelf, an area that promised clearer conditions. This mission extended a previous grounding line survey by following the grounding line around much of the western portion of the Ronne Ice Shelf boundary.

"The conditions in the area were perfect," said IceBridge project scientist Michael Studinger. IceBridge researchers completed all planned survey lines and collected low-altitude data on the grounding line in the ice streams feeding into the Ronne Ice Shelf.

The mission was designed to gather radar ice thickness information needed to calculate flux, or the amount of ice flowing through channels into the sea, in the area's ice streams.

The following day, Oct. 23, the IceBridge team met at the airport to prepare for another successful mission. Although forecasts were predicting clear skies in the western part of Antarctica, the outlook in Punta Arenas was more menacing, calling for storms and a possibility of hail.

The DC-8 avoided this by flying a newly designed high-altitude survey of the Pine Island, Thwaites, Smith and Kohler glaciers in West Antarctica. This mission built on the region's ice elevation data by following historic ICESat tracks and lines previously measured with IceBridge's Land, Vegetation and Ice Sensor.

Although there were clouds below during the transit, the DC-8 ran into clear skies almost exactly as it reached the start of its survey line. "It was another perfect day for IceBridge," said Studinger. "Getting 35,000 feet of clear atmosphere doesn't happen every day."

There was a bonus on this mission as well. While flying the grid on the Pine Island Glacier, the IceBridge DC-8 flew over the growing rift in the ice that was discovered during last year's Antarctic campaign.

Both the Digital Mapping System and Airborne Topographic Mapper were able to collect data on the crack, which gathered attention from polar scientists around the world and has grown significantly over the past year.

As on previous flights, members of the IceBridge team used the DC-8's online chat system to answer questions from teachers and students all over the United States. On a future flight, IceBridge plans to host two teachers from the Punta Arenas area and conduct a live Tweeting event during a flight.


Related Links
IceBridge at NASA
Beyond the Ice Age

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Australia's Antarctic runway melting
Sydney (AFP) Oct 24, 2012
Australia said Wednesday it was searching for a new aircraft landing site for planes supplying its three bases in Antarctica because the current runway is melting due to global warming. Australia has three stations on the icy continent - Casey, Davis and Mawson - occupied by scientists and support staff, with the Wilkins runway, carved into glacial blue ice, a vital transport link. But ... read more

Fishing for answers off Fukushima

Limited NY subway service to resume: governor

Storm leaves billions in damage across eastern US

Atlantic City bar faces hurricane with a drink

Boeing on Schedule to Deliver Next-Gen Tracking and Data Relay Satellite

US consumers rushing into tablets: survey

Russian chemists land on the island of stability

Head of iPhone software out in Apple shakeup

Century-long trend of global ocean warming identified

Global precipitation variability decreased from 1940 to 2009

La Nina Caused Global Sea Level Drop

Uncertainty of future South Pacific Island rainfall explained

Two Perfect Days for IceBridge

Polar bears seen taking refuge on icebergs

Biologists record increasing amounts of plastic litter in the Arctic deep sea

Opposite Behaviors? Arctic Sea Ice Shrinks, Antarctic Grows

Greater effort needed to move local, fresh foods beyond 'privileged' consumers

Minimizing Mining Damage with Manure

Gaps in border controls are related to alien insect invasions in Europe

Black rice and tea in Italy as China shows its green side

Earthquake shakes buildings in Philippine capital

Storm-battered US battles floods, power cuts

Sandy leaves death, darkness and destruction

Deadly storm floods and blacks out Manhattan

Senegal foreign, interior ministers lose jobs in reshuffle

G.Bissau's alleged coup mastermind to face military court

Rwanda ex-army chief's refugee status questioned in S.Africa

Making transport a driver for development in Africa

Genetics suggest global human expansion

'Digital eternity' beckons as death goes high-tech

Primates' brains make visual maps using triangular grids

Lucy and Selam's species climbed trees

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement