Joint 52nd Northeastern Annual Section / 51st North-Central Annual Section Meeting - 2017

Paper No. 2-7
Presentation Time: 10:20 AM


MCCARTHY, Kelly, NASA/PolarTREC, Our Lady of Lourdes, 2001 Clinton Avenue, Coal Township, PA 17866,

This presentation will exhibit the use of data from NASA’s Operation IceBridge (OIB), the largest airborne survey of Earth’s polar ice, in the classroom as a tool for exploring climate change. Students carry out an investigation to determine how a particular glacier or region of the Greenland Ice Sheet has changed over time, using OIB data which can be accessed via the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Two teachers took flight with OIB through the PolarTREC program during the 2016 Arctic and Antarctic Campaigns to connect students directly with scientists in the field; this presentation will focus on the Arctic leg.

PolarTREC Teacher Kelly McCarthy joined the OIB team in flight during the 2016 Spring Campaign based in Greenland and worked with scientists and flight crew while regularly interacting with students in pre-K through 12th grades via live field events, journals, and a live chat platform called Mission Tools Suite for Education (MTSE). The Arctic campaign flew aboard a NOAA WP-3D aircraft carrying several instruments: a laser altimeter called the Airborne Topographic Mapper (ATM), snow- and ice-penetrating radar, a high resolution camera technology called the Digital Mapping System (DMS), and a FLIR infrared camera. Priority land and sea ice missions were flown at low altitudes to collect data on land and sea ice. The mission of Operation IceBridge is to collect data on changing polar land and sea ice and to maintain continuity between ICESat Missions. Data from each campaign is stored and available for public use at the National Snow and Ice Data Center and can be accessed via the NSIDC website.

Equipped with background fueled by live interaction from a field campaign, students are charged with investigating changes in particular regions of the Greenland Ice Sheet by accessing data from NSIDC. Prior to the research project, students complete a series of lessons focused on interpretation of radar, infrared, and LiDAR imagery and identification of various land and sea ice features. Lesson plans, data, and links will be provided.