NASA Mission Flies Over Arctic to Study Sea Ice Melt Causes

It’s not just rising air and water temperatures influencing the decades-long decline of Arctic sea ice. Clouds, aerosols, even the bumps and dips on the ice itself can play a role. To explore how these factors interact and impact sea ice melting, NASA is flying two aircraft equipped with scientific instruments over the Arctic Ocean north of Greenland this summer. The first flights of the field campaign, called ARCSIX (Arctic Radiation Cloud Aerosol Surface Interaction Experiment), successfully began taking measurements on May 28.

Two NASA aircraft are taking coordinated measurements of clouds, aerosols and sea ice in the Arctic this summer as part of the ARCSIX field campaign. In this image from Thursday, May 30, NASA’s P-3 aircraft takes off from Pituffik Space Base in northwest Greenland behind the agency’s Gulfstream III aircraft. Credit: NASA/Dan Chirica