Topic: Arctic Ocean
Greenbelt, MD – For eleven years from 2009 through 2019, the planes of NASA’s Operation IceBridge flew above the Arctic, Antarctic and Alaska, gathering data on the height, depth, thickness, flow and change of sea ice, glaciers and ice sheets.
Designed to collect data during the years between NASA’s two Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellites, ICESat and ICESat-2, IceBridge made its final polar flight in November 2019, one year after ICESat-2’s successful launch.
As the team and planes move on to their next assignments, the scientists and engineers reflected on a decade of IceBridge’s most significant accomplishments.
Written by Maria-Jose Vinas
Washington, D.C. – Sea ice in the Arctic appears to have hit its annual maximum extent after growing through the fall and winter. The 2019 wintertime extent reached on March 13th ties with 2007’s as the 7th smallest extent of winter sea ice in the satellite record, according to scientists at the NASA-supported National Snow and Ice Data Center and NASA.
This year’s maximum extent peaked at 5.71 million square miles (14.78 million square kilometers) and is 332,000 square miles (860,000 square kilometers) below the 1981 to 2010 average maximum – equivalent to missing an area of ice larger than the state of Texas.
Written by Maria-José Viñas
Washington, D.C. – New NASA research has found that increases in the rate at which Arctic sea ice grows in the winter may have partially slowed down the decline of the Arctic sea ice cover.
As temperatures in the Arctic have warmed at double the pace of the rest of the planet, the expanse of frozen seawater that blankets the Arctic Ocean and neighboring seas has shrunk and thinned over the past three decades. The end-of-summer Arctic sea ice extent has almost halved since the early 1980s. A recent NASA study found that since 1958, the Arctic sea ice cover has lost on average around two-thirds of its thickness and now 70 percent of the sea ice cap is made of seasonal ice, or ice that forms and melts within a single year.
Written by Carol Rasmussen
Washington, D.C. – The Arctic Ocean’s blanket of sea ice has changed since 1958 from predominantly older, thicker ice to mostly younger, thinner ice, according to new research published by NASA scientist Ron Kwok of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.
With so little thick, old ice left, the rate of decrease in ice thickness has slowed. New ice grows faster but is more vulnerable to weather and wind, so ice thickness is now more variable, rather than dominated by the effect of global warming.
Written by Patrick Lynch
Washington, D.C. – In 2018, NASA will intensify its focus on one of the most critical but remote parts of our changing planet with the launch of two new satellite missions and an array of airborne campaigns.
The space agency is launching these missions at a time when decades of observations from the ground, air, and space have revealed signs of change in Earth’s ice sheets, sea ice, glaciers, snow cover and permafrost. Collectively, scientists call these frozen regions of our planet the “cryosphere.”
Written by Maria-José Viñas
Washington, D.C. – Sea ice in the Arctic grew to its annual maximum extent last week, and joined 2015, 2016 and 2017 as the four lowest maximum extents on record, according to scientists at the NASA-supported National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) and NASA.
On March 17th, the Arctic sea ice cover peaked at 5.59 million square miles (14.48 million square kilometers), making it the second lowest maximum on record, at about 23,200 square miles (60,000 square kilometers) larger than the record low maximum reached on March 7th, 2017.
Written by Kate Ramsayer
Greenbelt, MD – Glaciers and ice sheets move in unique and sometimes surprising patterns, as evidenced by a new capability that uses satellite images to map the speed of flowing ice in Greenland, Antarctica and mountain ranges around the world.
With imagery and data from Landsat 8, a joint mission of NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey, scientists are providing a near-real-time view of every large glacier and ice sheet on Earth.
The NASA-funded Global Land Ice Velocity Extraction project, called GoLIVE, is a collaboration between scientists from the University of Colorado, the University of Alaska, and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
Written by Maria-José Viñas
Washington, D.C. – Arctic sea ice, the vast sheath of frozen seawater floating on the Arctic Ocean and its neighboring seas, has been hit with a double whammy over the past decades: as its extent shrunk, the oldest and thickest ice has either thinned or melted away, leaving the sea ice cap more vulnerable to the warming ocean and atmosphere.
“What we’ve seen over the years is that the older ice is disappearing,” said Walt Meier, a sea ice researcher at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
Written by Alan Buis
Pasadena, CA – Why has the sea ice cover surrounding Antarctica been increasing slightly, in sharp contrast to the drastic loss of sea ice occurring in the Arctic Ocean? A new NASA-led study finds the geology of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean are responsible.
A NASA/NOAA/university team led by Son Nghiem of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, used satellite radar, sea surface temperature, land form and bathymetry (ocean depth) data to study the physical processes and properties affecting Antarctic sea ice.
Written by Tony Phillips
Washington, D.C. – Climate change is a global phenomenon, yet Earth scientists are keeping a wary eye on one place in particular–the Arctic.
“Polar regions are important for us to study right now,” explains Tom Wagner of NASA’s Earth Science Division in Washington DC. “They are changing rapidly.”
One of the most visible of signs of warming is the retreat of Arctic sea ice. Every year, sea ice waxes and wanes in a normal response to the changing of seasons; the annual sea ice minimum occurs near the end of northern summer. Since the 1970s, researchers carefully watched to see if the rhythm of Arctic sea ice would respond to global warming.
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