NASA’s annual survey of changes in Arctic ice cover greatly expanded its reach this year in a series of flights that wrapped up on May 12.
It was the most ambitious spring campaign in the region for NASA’s Operation IceBridge, an airborne mission to monitor ice changes at Earth’s poles, which also included a rapid-response flight over a new crack in Petermann Glacier, one of the largest and fastest-changing glaciers in Greenland.
“This has easily been our best year ever for surveying sea ice,” said Nathan Kurtz, IceBridge’s project scientist and a sea ice researcher at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “Geographically, we covered a wider area than ever before, and the new instruments we deployed during this campaign have given us denser and more accurate measurements.”
IceBridge explored for the first time the Eurasian half of the Arctic Basin through two research flights departing from Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago in the northern Atlantic Ocean. The mission also took measurements of a recently formed crack on the ice shelf of Petermann Glacier.