5.1 Coordinate and integrate observations to improve understanding of the processes controlling the mass balance of Arctic land ice.

Observations of land ice variability and its interactions with the adjacent atmosphere and ocean are necessary to identify the patterns that result from underlying processes, which is the ultimate aim for understanding the system. These observations require the deployment and maintenance of spaceborne, airborne (manned and unmanned aircraft), surface (ice camps, research vessels, ice-based buoys), and sub-surface (unmanned underwater vehicles, under-ice profilers and floats, moorings) platforms. No single agency operates all these platforms, nor supports all the research necessary to understand land ice variability and its contribution to sea level rise. IARPC Collaborations will facilitate coordination and integration of atmosphere-land ice-ocean observations and process studies and the data analysis and synthesis necessary to understand the processes controlling mass balance variability and its consequences. The research activities coordinated to address this Objective also provide the foundation needed for addressing Objectives within the Environmental Intelligence Goal.

Performance elements from the Arctic research plan

  • 5.1.1 Maintain support for aircraft and satellite missions that contribute to long-term observations of land ice, including: Landsat-8, ICESat-2, OIB, and the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) mission.
  • 5.1.2 Enable the collection of ground-based observations and associated aircraft measurements documenting variability of land ice on a variety of spatial and temporal scales, including: the Greenland Ice Sheet Monitoring Network (GLISN), the Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG) mission, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Benchmark Glaciers Program in Alaska (and the the Ice2O project in Alaska.
  • 5.1.3 Support investigator-driven studies of land ice process studies across the Arctic, including ocean-glacier interactions, surface and subglacial hydrology, surface mass balance, local surface melt and refreezing, firn densification, glacial isostatic adjustment, iceberg melting, surface energy budget, and related observations.
  • 5.1.4 Enhance national and international communication and collaboration concerning land ice state and processes, for example, through support of the activities of the SEARCH Land Ice Action Team.

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