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March 18, 1992 (Phone: 202/453-1547) Keith Koehler Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Va. (Phone: 804/824-1579) RELEASE: 92-38 NASA TO MEASURE ARCTIC SEA ICE AND GREENLAND POLAR GLACIERS NASA researchers will use airborne instruments to measure Arctic sea ice and Greenland polar glaciers in April 1992, aiding scientists in the study of global climate changes. Researchers from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center's Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Va., will use laser-ranging instruments aboard the Wallops P-3B (HL) Orion aircraft to measure the sea ice above the water and the polar glacier elevations. The airborne laser systems are capable of measuring elevations to an accuracy within 1 to 1-and-a-half inches. The data gathered on the sea ice will be compared to previous studies and used to develop a baseline for future studies, according to Bill Krabill, Principal Investigator from Wallops. The Greenland glacier measurements will be compared to data gathered during a similar study by Wallops in 1991 and with data from the European Space Agency's European Earth Resources Satellite. Scientists are interested in developing accurate measurements of sea ice and glaciers because changes in these

systems may indicate trends in world climate. Appreciable changes in these ice systems, such as increased melting, could directly affect global climate. The researchers will leave Wallops on April 6 and are expected to return in late April. They will base their Arctic sea ice flights from Eielson Air Force Base near Fairbanks, Alaska, and Longyearbyen, Vest Spitsbergen, a Norwegian island. The sea ice measurements will be taken along flight lines from the bases of operation toward the North Pole. - more -2The principal instrument on the P-3B (HL) aircraft is the Airborne Oceanographic Lidar (AOL). The AOL measures the time it takes for a laser pulse to reach the ice and return to the aircraft. Time variations will occur because of changes in the terrain and the aircraft's altitude. Using the Global Positioning System, a Defense Department satellite system that allows aircraft or ships to precisely determine their locations, researchers will derive the elevations of the sea ice relative to the mean sea level and the elevations of the Greenland glaciers. Krabill said that by knowing the thickness of the ice above the sea, researchers can infer the amount of ice below the sea and obtain a measurement of the total ice mass. He noted that the researchers may conduct reflights over the same flight paths in future years to gather follow-up data. The program is conducted under the Earth Sciences Directorate of NASA's Office of Space Science and Applications. - end Editors Note: Video from the 1991 Greenland Polar Glacier study is available to accompany this release by contacting the Wallops Public Affairs Office at 804/824-1584 or 804/824-1579.