Operation IceBridge 2017


Now Archived! PolarConnect event with Adeena Teres and John Woods from the Operation IceBridge Team on 24 April 2017. You can access this and other events on the PolarConnect Archives webpage.

What Are They Doing?

Photo by Russell HoodIcebergs the size of a city block in eastern Greenland. Photo by Russell Hood. IceBridge is in its 8th year as a NASA mission and is the largest airborne survey of Earth's polar ice ever conducted. IceBridge uses a highly specialized fleet of research aircraft and the most sophisticated science instruments ever assembled to characterize yearly changes in thickness of sea ice, glaciers, and ice sheets in the Arctic and Antarctic. The research team is experiencing first-hand the excitement of flying a large research aircraft over the Greenland Ice Sheet. While in the air they are recording data on the thickness, depth, and movement of ice features, resulting in an unprecedented three-dimensional view of ice sheets, ice shelves, and sea ice. Operation IceBridge began in 2009 to bridge the gap in data collection after NASA's ICESat satellite stopped functioning and when the ICESat-2 satellite becomes operational , making IceBridge critical for ensuring a continuous series of observations of polar ice. IceBridge flies over the Arctic and Antarctic every year - in the Arctic from March to May and the Antarctic in October and November. By comparing the year-to-year readings of ice thickness and movement both on land and on the sea, scientists can look at the behavior of the rapidly changing features of the polar ice and learn more about the trends that could affect sea-level rise and climate around the globe. Support for a teacher on this project is provided through separate funding to ARCUS through NASA. More information about IceBridge can be found at the NASA project website.

Where Are They?

NASA's P-3 Orion for Operation IceBridge. Photo by Russell Hood.NASA's P-3 Orion for Operation IceBridge. Photo by Russell Hood. The field campaign for Operation IceBridge is based out of Kangerlussuaq in western Greenland, and Thule Air Force Base in northwest Greenland. Kangerlussuaq was once used as an American military base, the settlement is now Greenland's main air transport hub and the site of Greenland's largest commercial airport, and Thule is a fully operational U.S. Air Force Base, run by the Danish company Greenland Contractors. The climate in Kangerlussuaq and Thule is arctic, with temperatures ranging from -25 to 18 degrees Celsius throughout the year. Russell Glacier highlights some of the natural beauty that can be reached out of Kangerlussuaq, while Thule has lots of historical cold war Air Force sites included missile silos and ice field bases. The research team is living in the Kangerlussuaq International Science Support Building (KISS) and the Air Force Inn in Thule.

Expedition Map


Lab Enticement
I drove to Orlando a couple of days ago to head to the Florida Association of Science Teachers Conference (FAST) where I presented about PolarTREC and Operation IceBridge. I met Steve Kirsche, another PolarTREC teacher from Florida. It’s the first time I have ever presented at a science conference and I was excited and nervous. Everything went wonderfully. Steve and I both talked about PolarTREC, our experiences on our trips and about using the lesson plans found on the PolarTREC website. Adeena Teres and Steve Kirsche at the Florida Science Teachers Association Convention. Every...
Prom 2017
I applied to PolarTREC hoping that I would get in, and when I was interviewed by John Woods and heard about Operation IceBridge, I knew that this program was meant for me. I was ready to take part in the daily flights surveying the Arctic. I had experience as a flight attendant so the long days in a plane was something I was used to. The only thing I was worried about was the cold. Having lived in Florida, I ended up borrowing clothes from friends and buying some odds and ends that I had to order online. It is very hard to find thermal underwear in Florida. I wore my layers and I enjoyed...
Air National Guard C-130
A picture of the Air National Guard's C-130 sitting on the ramp at the Kangerlussuaq Airport. I flew home with the Air Force's 109th Air National Guard unit from Kangerlussuaq to Schenectady, New York. I flew on a C-130 which is a large cargo plane. The plane is not designed for comfort, it is designed for utility. It was missing some creature comforts but it also had some benefits over flying commercial. The plane was either really cold or really – hot there was no middle ground. The seats were a red plasticy material held taught between two bars. The back of the seat was the same...
This is located at the airport in Kangerlussuaq and it tells the distance and direction to different cities in the world. Last Flight Today I took my last flight on the P-3 Orion. I'm sad to be leaving. The group made me feel like I was part of the team and everyday I learned something new. It's funny when I leave a place. I know that the people I'm leaving will go on without me being there and I will also continue on but a part of me hopes that I left a piece of myself behind. That the crew will remember me even if I'm not there. Inherently I know that I will be remembered because they...
Russell Glacier Summer
It is summer time in Kangerlussuaq and that means that during the day the temperature is now above freezing. It is melt season which naturally occurs every summer with the changing of the season. As the temperature increases, the ice will melt and what was once all white quickly turns to brown. The areas that were once low lying and snow-covered are becoming lakes and rivers. As the ice and snow melts, it flows down the path of least resistance only to freeze again when winter comes. Today I experienced this first hand as I returned to Russell Glacier. Russell Glacier at the start of melt...

Expedition Resources

Project Information

Dates: 8 April 2017 to 3 May 2017
Location: Kangerlussuaq, Thule AFB, Greenland
Project Funded Title: NASA Operation IceBridge

Meet the Team

Adeena Teres's picture
Stoneman Douglas High School
Parkland, FL
United States

Adeena Teres has taught science at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida for the last nine years. She received her undergraduate degree in Marine Science from the University of South Carolina and her Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Florida Atlantic University.

She believes in hands on learning and teaching through inquiry and she wants her students to look at the natural world and ask questions that they want to have answered. Adeena wants her students to learn how to think critically and to be stewards of the Earth. Several years ago, she ran her first half marathon and has been running ever since. She is obsessed with Disney and has combined her two hobbies by signing up to run every race Disney hosts at the property in Orlando, Florida. She is passionate about traveling both professionally and for fun and she is ready to take on new adventures. Adeena is excited about sharing this amazing opportunity with her students.

Living in Florida, she is extremely experienced in watching snow fall in other states while she reads under the palm trees. It is her fervent desire to build a snowman soon.

John Woods's picture
SGT Inc., NASA Operation IceBridge, GSFC
Greenbelt, MD
United States

John Woods is currently NASA’s Operation IceBridge (OIB) project manager. OIB utilizes a highly specialized fleet of research aircraft and the most sophisticated suite of innovative science instruments ever assembled to characterize annual changes in thickness of sea ice, glaciers, and ice sheets. Prior to working with NASA, John served on Active Duty in the Navy for 14 years as a Meteorology and Oceanography Officer. His tours included the National/Naval Ice Center and United States Naval Academy. John completed his master’s degree in Operational Meteorology and Physical Oceanography at the Naval Postgraduate School and bachelor’s degree in Oceanography at the United States Naval Academy.

Having deployed to the Polar Regions over 6 times, John has spent time in Alaska, Greenland, and the Southern tip of Chile for IceBridge missions. Education and Outreach has always been a passion, and introducing science of the cryosphere has always been a priority. John looks forward to working closely with PolarTREC educators in fulfilling this mission.

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Latest Comments

Adeena, Thanks for sharing your final thoughts. I really like this journal and love how you have discovered the magic of the Arctic and recognize that it is a system! Your Greenland Scrapbook is...
I'm checking with the experts and will answer you soon.
The amount of snow in Greenland varies depending on where you are but it snows mostly in December through March.
Where I am staying there is only one small store. No Yetis. For one week all of the eggs and chicken was sold out of the grocery store. Besides they don't need Yetis there, it's freezing.
I haven't found it yet but I am looking. I hope to see it one day.