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A Decade of Exploring Alaska’s Mountain Glaciers
29 March 2019
In Alaska, 5 percent of the land is covered by glaciers that are losing a lot of ice and contributing to sea level rise. To monitor these changes, a small team of NASA-funded researchers has been flying scientific instruments on a bright red, single-engine plane since spring 2009.
In almost a decade of operations, the Operation IceBridge Alaska team has more than doubled the number of mountain glaciers surveyed in the state known as "The Last Frontier." Data from the mission has put numbers to the loss of Alaskan glaciers from 1994 to 2013: 75 gigatons of ice every year. Measurements from the campaign have helped scientists determine that most of the mass loss in Alaska's icy fields is due to surface melt rather than warming ocean waters.
Image credit: NASA - In Alaska, five percent of the land is covered by glaciers that are contributing to sea level rise in ways disproportionately large to their size.