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Home / Science / High above the Greenland glaciers, NASA investigates the melting sea ice

High above the Greenland glaciers, NASA investigates the melting sea ice



ON A NASA DC3 OVER GREENLAND (AFP) – Three NASA scientists, led by an oceanographer posing as Elvis, were waiting to drop a probe into the glistening white glaciers on the Greenland coast them.

They are part of Mission Oceans Melting Greenland – or OMG – that flew around the vast island for four summers, dropping probes to gather data on how oceans contribute to the rapid melting of Greenland ice.

Joshua Willis, 44, is the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory oceanographer behind the project ̵

1; and his name with his wife. He wears a blue overalls and thick sideburns, which give an indication of his occasional pastime.

"We see sea level rise in the next hundred years, which poses a huge threat to hundreds of millions of people around the world, so a bit of alarm and OMG is probably appropriate," he said.

Passi Willis and the crew alternately climbed over rocky fjords, glistening glaciers and icebergs out of the water and watched the data reveal the temperature and salinity of the ocean.

– & # 39; ice cubes under a hair dryer & # 39; –

Willis examines how warmer layers of water off the coast touch glaciers and how this affects the speed at which they melt.

"Many People Imagine the ice here as if it were melting by warming the air, much like an ice cube under a hair dryer, but actually the oceans are also eating away at the ice edges," said Willis.

OMG examines Greenlandic glaciers in the winter In winter, this is compared to the data that Willis collected over five years over the oceans in the summer to better predict sea-level rise.

Three quarters of the island bordering the Arctic Ocean 85 percent covered in ice – If so, if the ice cover had completely disappeared, the sea level would rise seven meters.

The Arctic has warmed twice as fast as the global average, and Greenland, a resource-rich Danish country, has become a focal point of climate research – as well as an object of desire for US President Donald Trump, who is traveling to Denmark because of that Rejection of his attempts to buy autonomous territory has scrapped.

[19659002] – Greenland & # 39; a challenge & # 39; –

NASA – best known for its lunar landing and spaceflight – began in the 1970s to study the Earth's climate more closely than its budget for interplanetary exploration using its satellite to view the Earth.

Today, there are more than a dozen orbiting satellites orbiting the Earth's oceans, ice, land and atmosphere, along with missions such as OMG, of which Willis hopes to provide better predictions 2) At the rear of the converted DC3, built in 1942 for the Canadian Air Force during World War II, was project manager Ian McCubbin's turn. He held the plastic probe and waited for the order to drop it.

Lost in the cold air, the four-foot cylinder flew into the water and, after a nervous wait, began sending data to the team on the plane.

With 20 years of JPL flying experience, McCubbin also manages mission logistics from the remote airfields from which it departs in the summer.

"Dealing with Greenland's seclusion is a unique challenge," McCubbin said as he paused between falling probes and a baseball cap pulled over his eyes.

Limited Communications Transportation and the unpredictable weather on the island make the mission difficult in the air, but McCubbin said he was happy to accept the difficulties.

"The relevance of this project makes it exciting to work on it, gi Make the meaning of our society, our children and the children of our children come true," he said.

– "Hard decisions ahead" –

Ian Fenty, an investigator at OMG, sat in front of a laptop and a bank of electronic devices receiving the signals from the probes.

After each probe appeared on the water, the data almost immediately began to upload to the small screen of the laptop on the Fenty table.

"The data we collect is super valuable because it allows us for the first time to relate the temperature changes of the ocean quantitatively to the melting of the ice cover," he said.

After flying for two hours on the coast of East Greenland, the aircraft turned and headed back to the base in the remote village of Kulusuk, flying low over icebergs and pods of whales in the sea.

After the flight, Willis wore Ray Bans, a leather jacket with open collar and a guitar. gave a performance of his Elvis-inspired "Climate Rock" t guests and journalists at the hotel's village, explaining the difference between weather and climate.

For Willis, as well as his work with OMG, the song is part of an attempt to convey his message about climate change and sea level.

"I feel like a climatologist and have a responsibility to explain to the world what we find," he said.

"We have some difficult choices ahead of us if we want to avoid them." the worst parts of climate change. "


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