November 2016

IceBridge Finishes Annual Study of Changing Antarctic Ice

Operation IceBridge ended its eighth consecutive Antarctic deployment on Nov. 17, tying with the 2012 campaign record for the most research flights carried out during a single Antarctic season.

During its six weeks of operations from its base in Punta Arenas, in the southernmost tip of Chile, IceBridge carried out 24 flights over Antarctica. 

In addition to a visit from NASA Deputy Administrator Dava Newman, IceBridge also welcomed U.S. Ambassador to Chile Carol Perez. Other guest participation included visitors from the State Department and U.S. Embassy in Chile; six U.S. teachers currently living and teaching in Chile; a Facebook representative; a visual artist; two photographers; and several journalists from various media outlets.

  • Read more about the conclusion of IceBridge’s 2016 Antarctic campaign here.

 Extremely Warm 2015-’16 Winter Cyclone Weakened Arctic Sea Ice Pack

A large cyclone that crossed the Arctic in December 2015 brought so much heat and humidity to this otherwise frigid and dry environment that it thinned and shrunk the sea ice cover during a time of the year when the ice should have been growing thicker and stronger, a NASA study found.

The extremely warm and humid air mass associated with the cyclone caused an amount of energy equivalent to the power used in one year by half a million American homes to be transferred from the atmosphere to the surface of the sea ice in the Kara-Barents region. As a result, the area’s sea ice thinned by almost 4 inches (10 centimeters) on average. At the same time, the storm winds pushed the edges of the sea ice north, compacting the ice pack.

  • Read more about the cyclone and watch an animation here.