The scientific legacy of NASA's Operation IceBridge

Joseph A. MacGregor, Linette N. Boisvert, Brooke Medley, Alek A. Petty, Jeremy P. Harbeck, Robin E. Bell, J. Bryan Blair, Edward Blanchard‐Wrigglesworth, Ellen M. Buckley, Michael S. Christoffersen, James. R. Cochran, Beáta M. Csathó (+34 others)
2021 Reviews of Geophysics  
was a 13-year (2009-2021) airborne mission to survey land and sea ice across the Arctic, Antarctic, and Alaska. Here, we review OIB's goals, instruments, campaigns, key scientific results, and implications for future investigations of the cryosphere. OIB's primary goal was to use airborne laser altimetry to bridge the gap in fine-resolution elevation measurements of ice from space between the conclusion of NASA's Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat; 2003 -2009) and its follow-on,
more » ... ESat-2 (launched 2018). Additional scientific requirements were intended to contextualize observed elevation changes using a multisensor suite of radar sounders, gravimeters, magnetometers, and cameras. Using 15 different aircraft, OIB conducted 968 science flights, of which 42% were repeat surveys of land ice, 42% were surveys of previously unmapped terrain across the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, Arctic ice caps, and Alaskan glaciers, and 16% were surveys of sea ice. The combination of an expansive instrument suite and breadth of surveys enabled numerous fundamental advances in our understanding of the Earth's cryosphere. For land ice, OIB dramatically improved knowledge of interannual outlet-glacier variability, ice-sheet, and outlet-glacier thicknesses, snowfall rates on ice sheets, fjord and sub-ice-shelf bathymetry, and ice-sheet MACGREGOR ET AL.
doi:10.1029/2020rg000712 fatcat:w7jvgqgqordr7ioao3cxgkheie