National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Wallops Flight Facility

Sea Ice

Sea Ice: Racetrack West

Today OIB completed the high-priority sea ice mission Racetrack West. Due to (typical summer) Arctic Ocean weather (large area of open water causing clouds), today’s patch of clear conditions was the first opportunity to gather summer sea ice data this deployment. The flight track northeast of Greenland also passed over slow moving ice (helpful in comparing to ICESat2 data) and some of the thickest sea ice in the Arctic Ocean. 

The weather was perfect for our first sea ice mission of the campaign.  The OIB Gulfstream V flew three laps of a racetrack pattern north of Greenland in the Lincoln Sea, which allowed us to survey a large variety of ice types in that area.  All instruments performed well, and we also got a zero-latency ICESat-2 overpass.

The weather looks promising for a flight tomorrow with either for another sea ice mission in the same general area, or a land ice mission down near Jakobshavn.

The B-200 team has finished data collection for their campaign, with today’s sea ice flight and will head back to the US later this week.  As an impressive side note, the B-200 was able to sample the same ICESat-2 cross-over location that the GV was sampling during the overpass–so all three platforms collected coincident data for that reference ground track.

Today’s flight tracks with the NASA OIB Gulfstream north of Greenland and the AVIRIS B200 aircraft over north Greenland on the same track. The OIB Gulfstream transited at high altitude to/from the sea ice, the AVIRIS B200 took data from high altitude along its track.

Detail of the south portion of the sea ice flight lines showing the AIRVIS B200 track in yellow and the “racetrack” coverage of the NASA OIN Gulfstream in purple. The racetrack coverage and the 3500’ lidar data altitude provides a wider aircraft swath to compare to ICESat2 satellite data.

Very dramatically ridged sea ice (bottom left) next to less rough ice covered with melt ponds beyond the wind of the plane are the mountains of Cape Morris Jesup, the northernmost tip of Greenland (Linette Boisvert/NASA).

ATM T6 wide scan elevation plot over sea ice below (preliminary data plot, not for research use)

ATM T6 wide scan elevation plot over sea ice below (preliminary data plot, not for research use)