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Multi-Faceted Science Enabled by the Airborne Glaciological and Oceanographic Observations during NASA's 5-year Oceans Melting Greenland Mission
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  • Ian Fenty,
  • Josh Willis,
  • Ala Khazendar,
  • Michael Wood
Ian Fenty
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Josh Willis
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
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Ala Khazendar
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
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Michael Wood
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For the past 5 years, NASA’s Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG) mission has been motivated by the question: “to what extent are the oceans melting Greenland’s ice from below?” Three out of the mission’s four observational components employed aircraft to collect data on and around the ice sheet: (i) airborne gravity above the continental shelf to infer seafloor geometry, (ii) airborne radar (GLISTIN-A) to measure year-to-year glacier elevation changes, and (iii) airborne-deployed oceanographic instruments (AXCTDs, ALAMO and APEX floats, XBTs, and drifters) to measure year-to-year ocean temperature and salinity changes. After highlighting the mission’s operational parameters and key scientific findings, we will detail our rationale for designing the mission to include extensive aircraft-based measurements. Now that OMG has completed its final observational campaign, we will summarize our experience with using aircraft in polar environments and suggest ways in which aircraft could be used to efficiently extend the ocean climate data record started by OMG and the potential for using aircraft in future missions to make similar oceanographic measurements around Antarctica.