Operation IceBridge 2017

What Are They Doing?

Photo by Russell HoodIcebergs the size of a city block in eastern Greenland. Photo by Russell Hood. IceBridge is in its 8th year as a NASA mission and is the largest airborne survey of Earth's polar ice ever conducted. IceBridge uses a highly specialized fleet of research aircraft and the most sophisticated science instruments ever assembled to characterize yearly changes in thickness of sea ice, glaciers, and ice sheets in the Arctic and Antarctic. The research team is experiencing first-hand the excitement of flying a large research aircraft over the Greenland Ice Sheet. While in the air they are recording data on the thickness, depth, and movement of ice features, resulting in an unprecedented three-dimensional view of ice sheets, ice shelves, and sea ice. Operation IceBridge began in 2009 to bridge the gap in data collection after NASA's ICESat satellite stopped functioning and when the ICESat-2 satellite becomes operational , making IceBridge critical for ensuring a continuous series of observations of polar ice. IceBridge flies over the Arctic and Antarctic every year - in the Arctic from March to May and the Antarctic in October and November. By comparing the year-to-year readings of ice thickness and movement both on land and on the sea, scientists can look at the behavior of the rapidly changing features of the polar ice and learn more about the trends that could affect sea-level rise and climate around the globe. Support for a teacher on this project is provided through separate funding to ARCUS through NASA. More information about IceBridge can be found at the NASA project website.

Where Are They?

NASA's P-3 Orion for Operation IceBridge. Photo by Russell Hood.NASA's P-3 Orion for Operation IceBridge. Photo by Russell Hood. The field campaign for Operation IceBridge is based out of Kangerlussuaq in western Greenland, and Thule Air Force Base in northwest Greenland. Kangerlussuaq was once used as an American military base, the settlement is now Greenland's main air transport hub and the site of Greenland's largest commercial airport, and Thule is a fully operational U.S. Air Force Base, run by the Danish company Greenland Contractors. The climate in Kangerlussuaq and Thule is arctic, with temperatures ranging from -25 to 18 degrees Celsius throughout the year. Russell Glacier highlights some of the natural beauty that can be reached out of Kangerlussuaq, while Thule has lots of historical cold war Air Force sites included missile silos and ice field bases. The research team is living in the Kangerlussuaq International Science Support Building (KISS) and the Air Force Inn in Thule.

Expedition Map


On Tuesday February 5th I was given the chance to hold an Arctic Ground Squirrel. It was so cool to be able to hold it in my hands. And I mean that both literally and figuratively. The squirrel felt like she had just come out of the refrigerator. I was shocked that she could be that cold. I'm including a short video collage. Take a look. This is the first movie I have ever put on youtube. I am learning so much here. Not all of it is about science.
Fairy Tale Land
After a few long days of training I am feeling slightly overwhelmed and excited all at the same time. We have long days learning how to post journals, learning about the polar regions, and networking. I am learning so may new things and my inner nerd is doing flips she is so excited. Our group is at the University of Fairbanks Alaska. Yesterday we took a field trip to the bookstore and I learned that a Nanook is a Polar Bear and the mascot of the University. On the way back to the hotel we stopped down the road and took pictures of reindeer. Being in Alaska is like being in a different world...
Relaxing in the Snow
When I first got the email that I had been accepted to PolarTREC I could not hide my smile. Everyone at school, my friends, and my family were extremely excited for me. I was counting down the days until orientation trying to plan for every eventuality and feeling like I was about to start one of the most amazing adventures I will ever experience. Today was my first day in Alaska. It is a different world than the sunny coast of Florida. I haven't had to deal with cold in a very long time and I am not used to it all. The flight was long but I had fun watching tons of movies. The first day of...

Project Information

6 April 2017 to 29 April 2017
Location: Kangerlussuaq, Thule AFB, Greenland
Project Funded Title: NASA Operation IceBridge

Meet the Team

Adeena Teres's picture
Stoneman Douglas High School
Parkland, FL
United States

Adeena Teres has taught science at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida for the last nine years. She received her undergraduate degree in Marine Science from the University of South Carolina and her Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Florida Atlantic University.

She believes in hands on learning and teaching through inquiry and she wants her students to look at the natural world and ask questions that they want to have answered. Adeena wants her students to learn how to think critically and to be stewards of the Earth. Several years ago, she ran her first half marathon and has been running ever since. She is obsessed with Disney and has combined her two hobbies by signing up to run every race Disney hosts at the property in Orlando, Florida. She is passionate about traveling both professionally and for fun and she is ready to take on new adventures. Adeena is excited about sharing this amazing opportunity with her students.

Living in Florida, she is extremely experienced in watching snow fall in other states while she reads under the palm trees. It is her fervent desire to build a snowman soon.

John Woods's picture
SGT Inc., NASA Operation IceBridge, GSFC
Greenbelt, MD
United States

John Woods is currently NASA’s Operation IceBridge (OIB) project manager. OIB utilizes a highly specialized fleet of research aircraft and the most sophisticated suite of innovative science instruments ever assembled to characterize annual changes in thickness of sea ice, glaciers, and ice sheets. Prior to working with NASA, John served on Active Duty in the Navy for 14 years as a Meteorology and Oceanography Officer. His tours included the National/Naval Ice Center and United States Naval Academy. John completed his master’s degree in Operational Meteorology and Physical Oceanography at the Naval Postgraduate School and bachelor’s degree in Oceanography at the United States Naval Academy.

Having deployed to the Polar Regions over 6 times, John has spent time in Alaska, Greenland, and the Southern tip of Chile for IceBridge missions. Education and Outreach has always been a passion, and introducing science of the cryosphere has always been a priority. John looks forward to working closely with PolarTREC educators in fulfilling this mission.

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Latest Comments

It was great meeting you, Adeena. I look forward to your future PolarConnect and journals. Best, Lee
Hi Adeena! So nice to meet you. You know, not many people can count making a movie about hibernating squirrels as their first movie making venture! So nice to get to know you and I'm looking...
Going to the bathroom is a cold process. I'm glad you liked the pictures. I took the one of the tree at 7:15 in the morning. It was so dark out! The permafrost tunnel is over 40,000 years old....
Wooooow!!..I can't imagine having to wear all those layers..I bet going to the loo with all of that must be real fun huh??. I hope it's a little bit warmer in April. The two pictures you posted are...
Thank you! I'm so happy that I got this opportunity. I can't wait to share what I've been learning with all of my students.