Roundup: NASA Satellite, Swiss Drought and Alaska Earthquake

NASA, ULA Launch Mission to Track Earth’s Changing Ice

From NASA: “NASA’s Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) successfully launched from California at 9:02 a.m. EDT Saturday September 15, embarking on its mission to measure the ice of Earth’s frozen reaches with unprecedented accuracy. ‘With this mission we continue humankind’s exploration of the remote polar regions of our planet and advance our understanding of how ongoing changes of Earth’s ice cover at the poles and elsewhere will affect lives around the world, now and in the future,’ said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. ICESat-2 continues the record of ice height measurements started by NASA’s original ICESat mission, which operated from 2003 to 2009.”

Read more about ICESat-2 here.

The United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta II rocket is seen as it launches with the NASA Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) onboard, Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018 (Source: Bill Ingalls/NASA).


Swiss Army Airlifts Water to Cows During Drought

From Reuters: “Swiss army helicopters began airlifting water on Tuesday to thousands of thirsty cows who are suffering in a drought and heatwave that has hit much of Europe. Large red plastic containers hung from the bottom of the Super Puma helicopters carried the water to farms in the Jura Mountains and Alpine foothills. Some 40,000 cows graze in the summertime in high-altitude pastures in Vaud canton (state) in western Switzerland and each needs up to 150 liters (40 gallons) of water a day, authorities said.”

Find out more about the drought hitting the alpine foothills of Switzerland here.

Photo of a cow and a helicopter
Cow grazing in a pasture in Switzerland with a Swiss Army helicopter carrying water in the background (Source: Ryder-Walker/Twitter).


Warnings Abound Before Alaska Landslide and Tsunami

From Live Science: “A massive landslide and tsunami that denuded the slopes of an Alaskan fjord could reveal warning signs that could help predict future disasters. In a new paper, researchers described the geological fingerprints of the tsunami, which tore through Taan Fjord on Oct.17, 2015, at an estimated 100 mph (162 km/h). Using satellite imagery and field-based measurements, the team discovered that the slope was displaying signs of instability for at least two decades before it failed. The rugged landscape is dotted with glaciers, including the Tyndall Glacier.”

Discover more about the severe Alaska landslide in 2015 here.

An island in Taan Fiord, about 10 km from the landslide at Tyndall Glacier, shown by satellite in 2014 (left) and a few days after the landslide and tsunami (right) (Source: AGU).

Photo Friday: NASA’s Renewed Operation IceBridge

Since 2009, NASA’s Operation IceBridge embarks on an annual polar journey to document the Earth’s most remote and rapidly changing landscapes to better understand connections between polar regions and the global climate system. Using a fleet of research aircrafts to collect multi-dimensional images, IceBridge is dedicated to studying the annual changes in the thickness and position of sea ice, glaciers and ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica.

This campaign, alongside the Oceans Melting Greenland, began ongoing deployments to Greenland in March. This Photo Friday, explore images from the IceBridge flights from last week’s deployments, and keep up with the latest photos and news from IceBridge through the NASA ICE twitter page.

The calving front of Northwest Greenland’s Petermann Glacier from last Thursday’s flight (Source: NASA ICE/Twitter).


A winding river through Alaska seen on Saturday’s flight (Source: NASA ICE/Twitter).


Sunlight breaking through the cloud cover over the Brooks Range in Alaska from Saturday’s flight (Source: NASA ICE/Twitter).


While flying back to the Thule Air Base last Tuesday, the team captured this winding route of a glacier (Source: NASA ICE/Twitter).


An isolated mountain in the Brooks Range of Alaska captured last Friday (Source: NASA ICE/Twitter).