Learn about the goal of the researches done in Greenland by NASA.
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The NASA Research in Greenland Greendland is an island of rock, ice and snow straddling the Arctic Circle. A few people who lived here are clustered in isolated towns and fishing villages that cling to the cracky coastline. For miles and miles, there’s nothing but ice. These giant glaciers serve as a barometer of world climate. It means their layers are records of the earth’s climatic history and show that sea level has risen by 10 to 20 centimeters over the past 100 years. NASA is leading a team of scientist seeking answers. Why is the sea level rising? Will it rise more rapidly in the future? Is the Greenland ice sheet growing or shrinking? By monitoring changes in the ice sheet, NASA researchers hope to find answers. But recent advances and aeronautic data collection it’s now possible to accurately measure the height of the ice and thereby discern its status. To gather the data, this vintage P3 was retrofitted making it a state of the art remote sensing laboratory. Global Positioning System or GPS is a highly accurate navigation network. It allows pilots to align the plane a predetermined course for the aerial survey of the ice cap. The GPS data is used in conjunction with a laser range finding device to determine the height of the ice sheet at millions of points along the survey. Radar penetrates snow and ice bouncing signals off the bedrock that provides a graphic representation of the rocky surface hidden thousands of meters below the ice cap. At a tent camp serving as base for the land crew, researchers work at temperatures near zero. Setting off on snow mobiles, they traverse 450 kilometers mimicking the path of the P3. GPS receivers mounted on one of the sleds are used to validate measurements taken from the air. Huge test pits allow researchers to look back in time by examining the cross section of a glacier. Hand coring down to 10 meters gives information about snowfall over the past decade while larger scale drilling right through the ice sheet is shown that climate in the past has been extremely unstable. Scientists are keeping an eye on the pollutants like carbon dioxide and other gases. It could raise global temperatures by 3 to 9 degrees over the next hundred years. Details from the ice course suggest that warming could accelerate many natural processes including rising sea level. But scientists are unsure why. Additional surveys by NASA’s P3 over the same area can track those changes over time, recording the rising sea levels and temperature changes. What happens to Greenland’s giant glaciers were almost certainly impact future events on earth.
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