2017-2018 Science Planning Summaries
United States Antarctic Program United States Antarctic Program Logo National Science Foundation Logo
2017-2018 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

Operation IceBridge

no photo available


Event Number:
NASA/NSF Agreement

Program Manager:

ASC POC/Implementer:
Judy Shiple / Elizabeth Kauffman / Chad Naughton

Principal Investigator

Dr. Joseph MacGregor

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, Maryland

Project Web Site:


Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station, South Pole Station
Research Locations: On station / Phoenix Runway


Operation IceBridge makes airborne altimetry, radar, and other geophysical measurements to monitor and characterize the cryosphere. IceBridge data will improve knowledge of the contribution of the major Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets and sea ice to sea-level rise. Major goals include: (1) Make airborne altimetry measurements of ice sheets and sea ice to extend and improve the observations begun by the Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat); (2) Link measurements made by historical airborne laser altimeters, ICESat, ICESat-2 and CryoSat-2, to allow accurate comparison and production of a long-term ice-altimetry record; (3) Monitor key, rapidly changing areas of Arctic and Antarctic ice to maintain a long-term observation record; and (4) Provide data to improve understanding of ice dynamics and better constrain predictive models of sea-level rise and sea-ice cover conditions.

Field Season Overview

IceBridge will be deploying approximately 10-12 persons and a skied BT-67 Basler aircraft to McMurdo in the 2017-18 season. The team will fly the aircraft from Williams Field Runway between 19 November and 3 January. The aircraft will be repositioned to South Pole and will aim to fly two missions from 11 to 20 December. Some personnel will fly onboard the project’s dedicated Basler while others will require transport via LC-130 to South Pole. General flight length is six hours. If all primary objectives are completed and extra time exists, the team will fly to Dumont d’Urville for another one to two science flights.

Deploying Team Members

  • Emily Arnold
  • Leuschen Carl
  • Brian Farley
  • Sean Loutitt
  • John Woods (PI)