NASA's Operation IceBridge Campaign Begins in Greenland

October 7, 2015
By Jessica Rohde

For the first time in its 7 years of flights, Operation IceBridge is conducting overlapping campaigns in Antarctica and the Arctic. IceBridge has studied Antarctic ice conditions each fall, but added the Arctic campaign this season to provide insight into the impact of the summer melt season. The first flight of the Arctic campaign began Sept. 23, with ongoing flights until Oct. 23 collecting measurements of sea and land ice. The Arctic campaign team is flying LaRC’s Falcon 20 with a laser altimeter called the Airborne Topographic Mapper, a high-resolution camera technology called the Digital Mapping System (DMS), and an experimental infrared camera.

Operation IceBridge’s planned flight lines over Arctic and Antarctic land and sea ice in Sept-Nov. 2015. Photo: NASA/Operation IceBridge

The first leg of the Arctic post-melt season mission will be based out of Thule Air Base in northwest Greenland. Four land ice flights and six sea ice flights are planned from there. The second leg of the Arctic campaign will be based in Kangerlussuaq, in western Greenland. IceBridge will fly more than a dozen land ice missions, again prioritizing flight paths that were flown in the spring campaign. Among other targets the Falcon will fly over is the Jakobshavn ice stream, the fastest-melting glacier in the world, which lost a large area of ice in August.

The post-melt season campaign will help scientists validate the measurements of the upcoming NASA's Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) mission, scheduled to launch in 2017.

A press release and more information are available at: and

Posted by Jessica Rohde on behalf of Christine Mataya, NASA

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