NASA Plans to Carry out Three Alaska-Based Airborne Research Campaigns

NASA plans to carry out three Alaska-based airborne research campaigns with the aim to monitor the concentration of greenhouse gases near the surface of earth, to keep a check on the Alaskan glaciers and to gather information related to ice and clouds on Arctic sea.

Researchers involved in the study said data collected through this campaign will help to know what effect the rising temperature has on Arctic. Scientists have conducted surveys of more than 130 Alaskan glaciers at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks in a DHC-3 Otter as part of NASA's multi-year Operation IceBridge.

Under CARVE, or Carbon in Arctic Reservoirs Vulnerability Experiment, a five-year airborne research campaign managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, air and various surface conditions and presence of gases like carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and methane are being measured.

Various instruments that are required to take measurements are carried aboard NASA's C-23 Sherpa aircraft, said researchers.

Researchers asserted that this is the fourth year of the campaign and they have started to prepare a detailed picture of how the land and atmosphere interact in the Arctic.

In Alaska, the frozen ground called permafrost can trap a massive amount of carbon dioxide and methane produced by decayed plants and animals that are buried beneath the icy surface. Scientists involved in the study have reported that the permafrost temperature is increasing in the Arctic.

Charles Miller, a JPL scientist and principal investigator of CARVE, said, "The exchange of carbon between the land and the atmosphere is very important - but uncertain".

In addition, NASA has started a new airborne campaign called ARISE, or The Arctic Radiation IceBridge Sea and Ice Experiment. Through this campaign, NASA will be gathering data on melting of ice and will measure cloud and atmospheric properties in the Arctic.

The ARISE campaign is NASA's C-130 Hercules aircraft from Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.