NASA set to investigate effects of sea ice retreat on Arctic climate
NASA is set to begin flights over the Arctic this summer to study the effect of sea ice retreat on Arctic climate covering the peak of summer sea ice melt.
The Arctic Radiation IceBridge Sea and Ice Experiment (ARISE) is the first Arctic airborne campaign designed to take simultaneous measurements of ice, clouds and the levels of incoming and outgoing radiation, the balance of which determines the degree of climate warming.
The campaign team will fly aboard NASA's C-130 aircraft from Thule Air Base in northern Greenland the first week and from Eielson Air Force Base near Fairbanks, Alaska, through the remainder of the campaign.
Bill Smith, ARISE principal investigator at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia said that a wild card in what's happening in the Arctic is clouds and how changes in clouds, due to changing sea-ice conditions, enhance or offset warming.
He added that the clouds and surface conditions over the Arctic as we observe them from satellites are very complex and they need more information to understand how to better interpret the satellite measurements, and an aircraft can help with that.
ARISE was planned over the last year to take advantage of NASA's existing capabilities for gathering data about ongoing changes in the Arctic and researchers will fly survey missions that target different cloud types and surface conditions, such as open water, land ice and sea ice. The missions will be timed to fly under the orbit paths of key satellite instruments, such as the Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy Systems (CERES) instruments on multiple NASA satellites. Each morning, mission planners will look at satellite timings and weather forecasts to design flight plans that meet the most objectives of the campaign.
(Posted on 15-08-2014)