Posts Tagged «NASA»

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ICESat-2 is a satellite mission under development by NASA for launch in 2015.  It will make measurements of ice sheet elevations in Antarctica over a 3-5 year period, to accurately the shape of the ice sheet, and to show how the ice sheet is changing over time.  As the satellite is developed, the science definition team, made up of researchers from NASA and from several different universities, provides direction as to what scientific questions the satellite measurements must address.  APL researcher Ben Smith has joined the team to investigate how best to tailor the measurements to the characteristics of ice…

This investigation’s major goal is to develop and use models constrained by satellite and ground observations to study the controls on fast ice stream flow.

Deeply embayed ice shelves and narrower fringing ice shelves surround much of Antarctica. Recent results indicate that these ice shelves help regulate the flow of upstream glaciers and ice streams (“ice-shelf buttressing”). This investigation focuses on determining the mass balance of Antarctica’s non-Peninsula ice shelves and on improving our knowledge of the processes that control basal melt.

This project will produce authoritative SAT data sets covering the Arctic Ocean from 1901 to present, which will be used to better understand Arctic climate change.

The primary objective of this research is to construct a comprehensive bias-corrected sea ice thickness record and use it to better quantify and understand the dramatic changes that have been observed in the Arctic ice pack. To do this all available Arctic sea ice thickness observations will be integrated, from satellite, aircraft, and subsurface measurements, and used to identify and correct systematic errors through comparisons with a common reference. With the resultant record four science questions will be answered:• What are the systematic differences between different measurement systems for sea ice thickness?• What are the spatial patterns in the trends…

This project devises low-temperature liquid-water environments mimicking the known chemistry of brines. The research team measures microbial growth rate, metabolic activity, ability to survive while inactive, and longevity for psychrophiles to reveal proteomic biosignatures for growth, activity, and survival strategies, and understand key molecular responses of life in these environments.

This project aims to understand and quantify the effects of sea ice loss on polar bears in East and West Greenland (Baffin Bay).  Longitudinal (cross-time) comparisons of movement behavior and habitat selection will be driven by an analysis of a multi-decadal satellite telemetry dataset on polar bear movements in Baffin Bay and East Greenland, beginning when sea ice concentration and break up date started to decline (1991-1997) and encompassing present day conditions (2007-2013).

PI: Dr. Elizabeth HolmesCo-Investigator for APL: Jinlun ZhangThe effects of climate change are projected to be disproportionately pronounced in polar regions, where changes in the extent of Arctic sea ice will have an effect on all trophic levels. The endangered bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus) is one of the largest animals in the Arctic, yet they feed on some of the smallest Arctic animals, zooplankton. Therefore, physically-induced bottom-up changes may be quickly reflected in the distribution of bowhead whales. Some of the important threats to bowhead whales include shipping and offshore oil drilling. Loss of sea ice in the Arctic has…

Numerous recent studies have revealed rapid change in ice discharge from Greenland’s outlet glaciers. A near doubling in flow speed of many of Greenland’s glaciers substantially increased the rate at which the ice sheet calved icebergs to the ocean over the last five years.

IceBridge is a NASA project that supports the acquisition of various data from aircraft in both polar regions that will bridge the gap in coverage between the now defunct ICESat satellite and the next generation ICESat II to be launched in 2015 at the earliest. The main focuses of the data acquisition will be laser altimetry and radar measurements of ice sheets (Greenland and Antarctica) and sea ice (Arctic and Antarctica).

The participants of the IABP work together to maintain a network of drifting buoys in the Arctic Ocean to provide meteorological and oceanographic data for real-time operational requirements and research purposes including support to the World Climate Research Programme and the World Weather Watch Programme.

Recent years have seen extreme changes in the Arctic sea ice cover and adjacent open ocean – reduced ice extent, record sea surface temperatures, thinner and younger ice, and loss of ice in areas that had been ice-covered throughout human memory.Particularly striking are changes within marginal ice zones (MIZ) – areas that are becoming increasingly covered by low concentration, diffuse sea ice.The proposed work, referred to here as the “Marginal Ice Zone Ocean and Ice Observations and Processes Experiment (MIZOPEX)”, brings to bear the capabilities of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in concert with in-situ observations and satellite remote sensing to…

Life as we know it requires liquid water. However Dr. Junge and her collaborators found evidence of ice bacterial protein synthesis to liquid nitrogen temperature (–196°C) when bacterial polymers were present and samples were (likely) vitrified during her postdoc (with Jody Deming and Hajo Eicken) and continuing on with Brian Swanson (New Scientist article).Currently, she is exploring the relationship between this deep-freeze bacterial activity, proteomics, polymers and the physical state of the ice in collaboration with Brook Nunn from the Goodlet laboratory here at the University of Washington and Hajo Eicken at UAF. This collaboration puts them in a unique…

We propose a study of the historical, contemporary, and future changes of the Chukchi and Beaufort marine planktonic ecosystem in response to changes in the sea ice cover and the upper ocean physics. Our scientific objectives are to:1) Synthesize the historical evolution of the biology-ice-ocean system in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas from 1978 to the present through modeling and analyses of satellite and in situ observations; quantify and understand the large-scale changes that have occurred in the sea ice, upper ocean, and marine planktonic ecosystem over the shelves and the basin.2) Identify key linkages and interactions between the sea…

In this research project her team is examining the role that bacteria could play in polar atmospheric cloud formation and precipitation processes (on the general topic of bacteria in the atmosphere see: Biological Ice Nucleators.As Co-PI with Brian Swanson from the Laucks Foundation she is investigating whether polar bacteria can interact with ice surfaces via ice nucleation processes. It is known that heterotrophic bacteria play a key role in carbon cycling in polar regions, but little is known about how they interact with their geological material, the ice itself, be it sea-ice, lake ice, glacier ice or ice in the…

Three PSC investigators were recently awarded funds to support their participation in NASA’s IceBridge mission. They include Ron Lindsay, Ian Joughin and Ben Smith. IceBridge is conducting the most extensive set of airborne surveys of the polar ice caps and sea ice ever undertaken.

The Polar Science Center Hydrographic Climatology (PHC) merges the 1998 version of the World Ocean Atlas (Antonov et al., 1998; Boyer et al., 1998) with the regional Arctic Ocean Atlas (EWG, 1997; 1998) creating a global climatology for temperature and salinity that contains a good description of the Arctic Ocean and its environs.

Polar Science Weekend is four days of hands-on activities, live demonstrations and exhibits presented by scientists who work in some of the most remote and challenging places on earth.  Polar Science Weekend is supported by a generous grant from NASA.

PSC graduate student Cecilia Peralta Ferriz was awarded the Best Student Poster prize at the Gordon Research Conference for Polar Marine Science on March 24, 2011.

We propose to use data analysis and modeling to constrain the salt chemistry of the soil measured by Phoenix in the context of soil chemistry measured by the Viking Landers (VLs), Mars Pathfinder (MPF) and the two Mars Exploration Rovers (MERs).

We compare the observations of arctic sea ice thickness estimates from satellites with in situ observations – collected by submarine cruises and moorings under the sea ice, by direct measurement during field camps, by electromagnetic instruments flown over the sea ice, and by buoys drifting with the sea ice – to provide a careful assessment of our capabilities to monitor the thickness of sea ice.

Ian Joughin serves as Deputy PI on the GSFC CryoDyn Earth Ventures 2 project. He is developing science and measurement objectives for the mission. He is also evaluating whether the mission and instrument are consistent with these objectives and provides expert advice to guide the mission planning and utilization of the data.

This part of the larger NASA ICESCAPE project examines the long-term, seasonal variability in phytoplankton abundance as a function of changes in sea ice cover, stratification, and temperature regimes measured in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas throughout the growing season.

PI: Mike Steele; Co-I Ron Lindsay, Axel Schweiger, Jinlun Zhang The main objective of this study is to determine the fate of solar energy absorbed by the arctic seas during summer, with a specific focus on its impact on the sea ice pack. Investigators further seek to understand the fate of this heat during the winter and even beyond to the following summer.

We are employing new remote sensing methods applied to multiple satellite data sets to measure the total discharge of ice from the grounded Antarctic Ice Sheet. This effort also will provide the most comprehensive mapping ever of the grounding line position, as well as ice thickness and velocity along and in the vicinity of the grounding line. These products are sensitive indicators of changes and will serve as benchmark data sets of the International Polar Year suitable for subsequent comparisons to identify and quantify future changes in the ice sheet.

By developing new microscopy and imaging techniques that allowed for the investigation of sea-ice bacteria within ice without melting it, Karen Junge demonstrated in her PhD research (in collaboration with Jody Deming and Hajo Eicken) that surface associations to ice walls or particles within sea ice are essential for maintenance of activity to –20°C and that psychrophilic bacteria can still be motile to temperatures as low as –10°C moving at similar speeds as Escherichia coli at 37°C.Funding source: NSF, NAI (NASA Astrobiology Institute) through the University of Washington Astrobiology Program.Junge et al., 2001Junge et al., 2002Junge et al., 2003Junge et…