Earth Science: Cryospheric Sciences Research
Posted on Apr 6, 2021 by NASA
Our research centers on understanding the dynamics and thermodynamics of the sea ice, ice sheets, glaciers, and snow of the Earth (the cryosphere) and the interactions of the cryosphere with the Earths atmosphere and ocean.
This work focuses on better understanding the role of ice and snow in the Earth System by analyzing data and developing remote sensing methods, algorithms, and physical models to address several important questions. These include understanding the current state of the cryosphere and how it is changing; determining the mechanisms that control those changes; and examining how these changes impact the rest of the Earth System. Our sea ice research efforts focus on understanding the variability of ice cover over time, how the sea ice modulates the exchange of energy and moisture between the ocean and atmosphere, and the influences of sea ice on ocean circulation. Studies of glaciers and ice sheets are targeted toward understanding where these ice masses are growing or shrinking and why, their contributions to sea level rise, and their interactions with the climate system either in response to or as indicators of climate change. The work involves the collection and analysis of in situ, aircraft, and satellite observations along with the development and use of sophisticated models to characterize the behavior of snow and ice and understand the processes at work.