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Topic: NASA’s ICESat-2

NASA finishes first ever Global Accounting of Fluctuating Freshwater Levels

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – To investigate humans’ impact on freshwater resources, scientists have now conducted the first global accounting of fluctuating water levels in Earth’s lakes and reservoirs – including ones previously too small to measure from space. 

The research, published March 3rd in the journal Nature, relied on NASA’s Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite 2 (ICESat-2), launched in September 2018. 

Lake Mead, along the Colorado River. (National Park Service)

Lake Mead, along the Colorado River. (National Park Service)

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NASA Scientists report Warming Climate taking its toll on Greenland, Antarctica Glaciers

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA says that when an ice cube is exposed to a heat source, like warm water or air, it melts. So, it’s no surprise that a warming climate is causing our glaciers and ice sheets to melt. However, predicting just how much the glaciers and ice sheets will melt and how quickly – key components of sea level rise – is not nearly as straightforward.

Glaciers and ice sheets are far more complex structures than ice cubes. They form when snow accumulates and is compressed into ice by new snow over many years.

NASA scientists traverse Antarctica's icy landscape, towing scientific instruments and cold-weather gear with them. The team was tasked with collecting ground data to verify the accuracy of measurements made by the IceSat-2 satellite. (NASA)

NASA scientists traverse Antarctica’s icy landscape, towing scientific instruments and cold-weather gear with them. The team was tasked with collecting ground data to verify the accuracy of measurements made by the IceSat-2 satellite. (NASA)

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NASA ICESAT Satellites use laser to map Greenland, Antarctica Ice Loss over 16 years

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – Using the most advanced Earth-observing laser instrument NASA has ever flown in space, scientists have made precise, detailed measurements of how the elevation of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have changed over 16 years.

The results provide insights into how the polar ice sheets are changing, demonstrating definitively that small gains of ice in East Antarctica are dwarfed by massive losses in West Antarctica.

The Kangerdlugssup (pictured) and Jakobshavn glaciers in Greenland have lost roughly 14 to 20 feet (4 to 6 meters) of elevation per year over the past 16 years. (NASA/Jim Yungel)

The Kangerdlugssup (pictured) and Jakobshavn glaciers in Greenland have lost roughly 14 to 20 feet (4 to 6 meters) of elevation per year over the past 16 years. (NASA/Jim Yungel)

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NASA’s Operation IceBridge finishes Eleventh Year of Polar Surveys

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, 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.

NASA’s Operation IceBridge, a ten-year mission to collect polar data between ICESat and ICESat-2, may be coming to a close, but its hundreds of terabytes of data and the expertise of its team will continue to fuel research and discovery for decades to come. (NASA / Jim Yungel)

NASA’s Operation IceBridge, a ten-year mission to collect polar data between ICESat and ICESat-2, may be coming to a close, but its hundreds of terabytes of data and the expertise of its team will continue to fuel research and discovery for decades to come. (NASA / Jim Yungel)

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NASA’s Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) set to launch in September

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Next month, NASA will launch into space the most advanced laser instrument of its kind, beginning a mission to measure – in unprecedented detail – changes in the heights of Earth’s polar ice.

NASA’s Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) will measure the average annual elevation change of land ice covering Greenland and Antarctica to within the width of a pencil, capturing 60,000 measurements every second.

NASA’s Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) spacecraft arrives at the Astrotech Space Operations facility at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California ahead of its scheduled launch on Sept. 15, 2018. (U.S. Air Force/Vanessa Valentine)

NASA’s Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) spacecraft arrives at the Astrotech Space Operations facility at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California ahead of its scheduled launch on Sept. 15, 2018. (U.S. Air Force/Vanessa Valentine)

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NASA to launch Two Satellites focused on studying Earth’s Frozen Areas

 

Written by Patrick Lynch
NASA’s Earth Science News Team

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, 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.”

In 2018, NASA is scheduled to launch two new satellite missions and conduct an array of field research that will enhance our view of Earth's ice sheets, glaciers, sea ice, snow cover, and permafrost. Collectively, these frozen regions are known as the "cryosphere." (NASA)

In 2018, NASA is scheduled to launch two new satellite missions and conduct an array of field research that will enhance our view of Earth’s ice sheets, glaciers, sea ice, snow cover, and permafrost. Collectively, these frozen regions are known as the “cryosphere.” (NASA)

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NASA Satellites observe Plant Life on Earth’s Land and Oceans

 

Written by Lacey Young
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – Life. It’s the one thing that, so far, makes Earth unique among the thousands of other planets we’ve discovered. Since the fall of 1997, NASA satellites have continuously and globally observed all plant life at the surface of the land and ocean.

During the week of November 13th-17th, NASA is sharing stories and videos about how this view of life from space is furthering knowledge of our home planet and the search for life on other worlds.

New NASA missions will study terrestrial vegetation, such as these trees along the Kuskokwim River near McGrath, Alaska. (NASA/Peter Griffith)

New NASA missions will study terrestrial vegetation, such as these trees along the Kuskokwim River near McGrath, Alaska. (NASA/Peter Griffith)

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NASA Drone System to be used for Glacier Research by University of Kansas

 

Written by Darryl Waller
NASA Ames Research Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationMoffett Field, CA – NASA has delivered an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) to the University of Kansas in Lawrence for student training and development of a radar system for analyzing glaciers in Greenland associated with sea-level rise around the globe.

The UAS, named Viking-400, will allow students and faculty in the university’s Department of Aeronautical Engineering to gain hands-on experience with a production air vehicle to complement the school’s curriculum. . It will also facilitate the integration of radar instrument onto the aircraft. Students also will generate 3-D models of the aircraft that NASA will use for engineering and analysis.

NASA Viking-400 unmanned Aircraft system.

NASA Viking-400 unmanned Aircraft system.

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West Antarctic Ice Sheet unstoppable loss not unexpected by NASA Scientists

 

Written by Patrick Lynch
NASA’s Earth Science News Team

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The new finding that the eventual loss of a major section of West Antarctica’s ice sheet “appears unstoppable” was not completely unexpected by scientists who study this area.

The study, led by glaciologist Eric Rignot at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, and the University of California, Irvine, follows decades of research and theory suggesting the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is inherently vulnerable to change.

Although the Amundsen Sea region is only a fraction of the whole West Antarctic Ice Sheet, the region contains enough ice to raise global sea levels by 4 feet (1.2 meters). (NASA/GSFC/SVS)

Although the Amundsen Sea region is only a fraction of the whole West Antarctic Ice Sheet, the region contains enough ice to raise global sea levels by 4 feet (1.2 meters). (NASA/GSFC/SVS)

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NASA’s Antarctic 2011 IceBridge Campaign Concludes

 

Written by Alan Brown
NASA Dryden Flight Research Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationEdwards, CA – NASA’s DC-8 airborne science laboratory has completed its 2011 Operation IceBridge science flights over Antarctica, and arrived home at its base in Palmdale, CA, November 22nd.

The IceBridge flight and science team flew a record 24 science flights during the six-week campaign, recording data from a suite of sophisticated instruments on the thickness and depth of Antarctic ice sheets and glacial movement.

The aircraft departed its deployment base at Punta Arenas, Chile, Tuesday morning November 22nd and after a refueling stop in Santiago, Chile, set course for Los Angeles International Airport for customs clearance. The flying lab continued on to the Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale, arriving about 8:30pm that evening after almost 15 hours in the air.

The frozen, inhospitable surface features of Alexander Island in Antarctica were viewed at close range during one of the final low-level flights by NASA's DC-8 flying laboratory during the 2011 Operation IceBridge mission. (NASA /Chris Miller)

The frozen, inhospitable surface features of Alexander Island in Antarctica were viewed at close range during one of the final low-level flights by NASA's DC-8 flying laboratory during the 2011 Operation IceBridge mission. (NASA /Chris Miller)

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