How Do I Rate This?
The blue stars show the average user rating for this item. To add your own rating, move your cursor over the stars to highlight them in gold, and click to show your rating. One star highlighted is the lowest rating, all five is the highest. Once you have rated an item, your rating is added to the average.
In recent years, many NASA missions have recorded the loss of Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. By conducting research on ice sheets, glaciers, spring thaw patterns, and mass balance of the sea ice covers, researchers are getting a clearer picture of the cryosphere.
'Scientists in the cryospheric sciences focus on understanding the role of the polar regions in global climate and sea level. Researchers have made use of GRACE, QuikSCAT, Synthetic Aperture Radar, ICESAT, and new modeling techniques to track changes in the cryosphere.
Selected Research Topics
JPL’s QuikSCAT data -- combined with modeling software – has helped scientists track the loss of sea ice. In fact, they found a 23% loss in the extent of the Arctic’s sea ice cover in 2006 and 2007. More efforts in this field of study are focused on:
Seasonal and interannual changes in sea ice coverage and ice classes
Heat, energy, and momentum exchanges at the surface
Ice mechanics and dynamics
Freshwater balance and impact on ocean circulation
Numerically model sea ice propagation, fracture, and interaction with ocean
Mass balance of the Arctic and Southern Ocean sea ice covers
QuikScat interannual observations of sea ice over the Arctic have enabled the detection of recent drastic reduction in the extent of perennial ice and its depletion from the eastern Arctic Ocean.
Ice Sheet and Glaciers
Ice sheet and glacier movements, and changes in the timing of high-latitude thaw over land, are very important indicators of climate change. Our specialty is to detect them from space, and correctly interpret the changes. Scientists at JPL also use a variety of other techniques to monitor many ice and glacial parameters:
On the left, Resolute Bay seen by the Hyperion instrument aboard Earth Observing-1. On the right, a visual representation of the analysis done by JPL's new software.
Remote sensing observations of continental ice (radar interferometery, gravity, GPS, altimetry, microwave and optical)