Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Operation IceBridge Spring campaign

For the past several years I joined the Operation IceBridge Alaska campaign. The primary goal for this NASA funded work is to measure glacier change with an airborne lidar. We also try to measure ice thickness with a radar, which is a tricky proposition, because the radar signals bounce of all the mountains and obscure the returns from the glacier bed.
Flying in the mountain always requires a lot of patience to wait for good weather. This spring was particularly windy and we could not fly for almost two weeks, because conditions were never quite right. But finally we completed a survey of Glacier Bay (I wasn't there for that), the Sargent and Harding Icefield, and the Eastern Alaska Range. Below are just a few impressions:
The calving front of Chenega Glacier in Prince William Sound with a small calving event caught in the act

Excelsior Glacier is a rapidly retreating outlet of the Sargent Icefield, calving big icebergs into a proglacial lake

Beautiful internal waves

Root and Kennicott Glacier with Mt. Blackburn

The Tana Glacier is also retreating rapidly with a proglacial lake that is getting bigger each year

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