Tech

October 24, 2012

Return to Recovery Glacier and second look at the Bellingshausen Sea

An iceberg embedded in sea ice in the Bellingshausen Sea, seen from the IceBridge DC-8 on Oct. 19.

After two more successful surveys and a no-fly day for routine aircraft maintenance, NASA’s IceBridge team was looking forward to getting back to the work of mapping land and sea ice in the Antarctic.

In the evening before every flight, mission planners decide on several options for the next day.

This takes into account changes in the Antarctic weather that seem to happen with little notice. In this case, clouds over the Weddell Sea meant selecting high priority missions to survey sea ice in the Bellingshausen Sea and map ice streams in Recovery Glacier.

Recovery Glacier is a part of Antarctica that has rarely been surveyed from the air due to its remote location. It was only about 10 years ago that researchers using RADARSAT data discovered just how far inland the tributaries in Recovery Glacier went. This marks the second time that IceBridge has surveyed this area, and its initial flights over the ice streams a year ago met with enthusiasm. “It was applauded by the community because everyone was so desperate to get the data,” said IceBridge project scientist Michael Studinger. The data gathered last year has already been included in a new compilation of the bedrock below the Antarctic ice sheet called Bedmap.

Even though the East Antarctic Ice Sheet is considered relatively stable compared to the more dynamic West Antarctic, information about changes to the ice sheet’s mass balance is crucial. Because it is such a significant ice stream, data on Recover Glacier is helpful in that regard. To predict how ice will flow takes information about both ice velocity and the shape and depth of channels the ice is flowing through, something that IceBridge is able to gather with its depth sounding radar, MCoRDS.

On Oct. 19, forecast models showed favorable weather over the Bellingshausen Sea though with a large system moving from the Amundsen Sea in the Bellingshausen later in the day. This was the second of two planned flights in the Bellingshausen Sea. After the transit flight from Punta Arenas, the DC-8 descended to start its survey of sea ice and found dense cloud cover all the way down to the surface. The weather system had moved faster than forecasts predicted. “The Bellingshausen Sea is a challenging area in terms of good weather and reliable forecasts,” said Studinger.

After a short while, however, the DC-8 got past the clouds and fog and researchers were able to begin collecting data. Sea ice data in the Antarctic is something that is in short supply, with more attention being paid to ice in the Arctic Basin. “Sea ice is very dynamic and any information we can get on ice in the Antarctic, especially thickness, is significant,” said sea ice scientist Nathan Kurtz of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. “Thickness in the Bellingshausen has increased slightly while area has decreased. We’re looking at why that is.”

The Friday Bellingshausen Sea flight marked the end of a successful week of data gathering. In addition to the full-time job of measuring land and sea ice, members of the IceBridge team took time to do a little educational outreach by using the DC-8′s satellite uplink to do live online chats with teachers in students around the United States, reaching 15 classrooms and more than 225 students.

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines October 17, 2014

News: Turkey OK’s American drones to fight ISIS - Turkey is now allowing the U.S. to launch unmanned aircraft to fly over Syria. But so far, traditional warplanes are out of the question. New Ingalls boss focusing on cost performance, agility - Brian Cuccias has been in the Gulf Coast shipbuilding business for 35 years, working for...
 
 

News Briefs October 17, 2014

AM General laying off 60 from Indiana factory A company spokesman says AM General is laying off about 60 workers from the northern Indiana factory where it builds military vehicles. Company spokesman Jeff Adams says the layoffs are being made because of production schedule changes at its Military Assembly Plant in Mishawaka. Adams tells the...
 
 
Image courtesy of NASA, J. Lotz, (STScI

NASA’s Hubble finds extremely distant galaxy through cosmic magnifying glass

Image courtesy of NASA, J. Lotz, (STScI The mammoth galaxy cluster Abell 2744 is so massive that its powerful gravity bends the light from galaxies far behind it, making these otherwise unseen background objects appear larger a...
 

 
Northrop Grumman photograph by Alan Radecki

Second Northrop Grumman-built Triton UAS completes first flight

Northrop Grumman photograph by Alan Radecki The second MQ-4C Triton, built by Northrop Grumman for the U.S. Navy, successfully completed its first flight Oct. 15 PALMDALE, Calif. – The U.S. Navy’s second MQ-4C Triton un...
 
 
NASA photograph

NASA TV to air Russian spacewalk from International Space Station

NASA photograph Expedition 41 Commander Max Suraev and Flight Engineer Alexander Samokutyaev of the Russian Federal Space Agency will don Orlan spacesuits and step outside the International Space Station Oct. 22, to perform wor...
 
 
Raytheon photograph

Poland’s PIT-RADWAR signs letter of intent with Raytheon

Raytheon photograph Mike Shaughnessy, Vice President of Supply Chain, Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems and Jerzy Milosz, Member of Board and Director of R&D, PIT-RADWAR sign a letter of intent to explore further partners...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>