NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center’s ongoing operation called IceBridge uses manned aircraft to study polar ice. IceBridge serves to bridge the gap between NASA’s Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite (ICESat), which stopped collecting data in 2009, and NASA’s second generation of the satellite (ICESat-2) which is scheduled to launch later this year.
The six year operation is the largest airborne survey of Earth’s polar ice, and collects data about ice sheets, ice shelves, and sea ice in Greenland and the Antarctic. The goal is to document annual changes in thickness of sea ice, glaciers, and ice sheets along with collecting information to help with the modeling the effect of climate change on Earth’s polar ice, specifically in connection to possible sea-level rise.
IceBridge Airplanes fly over Greenland between March and May and in over Antarctica between October and November. Smaller airplane surveys of ice around the world are also included in the IceBridge operation.
— NASA ICE (@NASA_ICE) May 18, 2016