Operation IceBridge: Exploring Alaska’s Mountain Glaciers


这些被称为“冰桥行动”的空中科学活动一直在测量地球上不断变化的冰川和冰盖。“冰桥”的设想是为了避免两颗卫星在测量冰的高度上存在差距:距:在2009年停止采集数据的美国宇航局冰、云和陆地高度卫星(ICESat)和2018年发射的ICESat-2。戈达德太空飞行中心的科学家们负责着每年在北极和南极洲进行的两场规模更大的野外活动,而阿拉斯加费尔班克斯大学(University of Fairbanks)的一个规模较小的团队则负责监测阿拉斯加的冰川。


In Alaska, 5 percent of the land is covered by glaciers that are losing a lot of ice and contributing to sea level rise. To monitor these changes, a small team of NASA-funded researchers has been flying scientific instruments on a bright red, single-engine plane since spring 2009.

Called Operation IceBridge, these airborne science campaigns have been measuring Earth’s changing glaciers and ice sheets. IceBridge was conceived to avoid a gap in measurements of ice height between two satellite missions: NASA’s Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat), which stopped collecting data in 2009, and ICESat-2, which launched in 2018. While scientists at the Goddard Space Flight Center managed the two larger yearly field campaigns in the Arctic and Antarctica, monitoring Alaskan glaciers fell on a smaller team based at the University of Fairbanks, Alaska.

In this image, Sheridan Glacier, near Cordova, Alaska, is seen from an Operation IceBridge flight in August 2018. Sheridan is a lake-calving glacier with a rapidly disintegrating floating tongue.