During their last Antarctic campaign, NASA’s Operation IceBridge completed the first-ever basin-wide airborne survey of ice in the Ross Sea. This survey, known as the Ross Sea Fluxgate mission, aimed to help researchers track the movement of sea ice in this critical region.
After an early morning weather briefing and takeoff from the sea ice runway at the National Science Foundation’s McMurdo Station, the NASA P-3 flew a survey that took researchers across the Ross Sea basin and back. The purpose of this mission was to set up a pair of parallel lines known as a flux gate that scientists can use to study how ice moves out through the Ross Sea. In addition, IceBridge’s instruments collected data on sea ice freeboard – the height of ice above the ocean surface – which can be used to calculate sea ice thickness and volume.
Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center