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 August 25, 2014

News: U.S. sends second carrier to Asia amid tensions with China - The Navy is sending a second aircraft carrier strike group to the Asia Pacific region amid new tensions with China over a dangerous aerial encounter between a Chinese interceptor and a Navy P-8 surveillance aircraft. SpaceX rocket explodes during test flight - A SpaceX rocket...
 
 

News Briefs August 25, 2014

China says U.S. plane intercept was professional China’s Defense Ministry has rejected U.S. accusations that a Chinese fighter jet conducted a dangerous intercept of a U.S. Navy surveillance aircraft off the coast of China in international airspace. The ministry issued a statement Aug. 23 attributed to spokesman Yang Yujun calling the U.S. accusations groundless. It...
 
 

Ukraine plans $3 billion boost to defense spending

KIEV, Ukraine – Ukraine’s president announced plans Aug. 24 to boost his country’s defense spending by an estimated 50 percent as government forces seek to overpower pro-Russian separatists in the east. President Petro Poroshenko pledged to spend an extra 40 billion hryvnia ($3 billion) by 2017 during a speech marking Ukraine’s independence from the Soviet...
 

 

NASA awards research facilities, engineering support services contract

NASA has awarded a contract for research facilities and engineering support services to InuTeq, LLC of Greenbelt, Maryland, in support of the Mission Information and Test Systems Directorate at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif. This cost-plus-award-fee contract covers a one-year base period beginning Nov. 1, 2014 and four one-year options, and is valued...
 
 

Navy Awards General Dynamics contract for LCS planning yard services

The U.S. Navy awarded General Dynamics Bath Iron Works a $100 million contract to provide planning yard services for the Littoral Combat Ship program. General Dynamics Bath Iron Works is a business unit of General Dynamics. Bath Iron Works, as the LCS Planning Yard, will provide maintenance and modernization support for all Navy LCS 1...
 
 
boeing-boc

Boeing, BOC Aviation announce order for 82 airplanes

  Boeing announced Aug. 25 an order by BOC Aviation for 50 737 MAX 8s, 30 Next-Generation 737-800s and two 777-300ERs (Extended Range). The order, valued at $8.8 billion at list prices, is the largest in BOC Aviation’...
 




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>