An Elvis posing as a NASA scientist is one of three researchers flying over Greenland in a converted 1940s DC3 aircraft to study melting glaciers.
They are part of Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG), a mission that has flown around the vast island for four summers.
Researchers have dropped probes to collect data on how oceans contribute to the rapid melting of Greenland's ice and the rising sea level that results.
An Elvis posing as a NASA scientist is one of three researchers flying over Greenland in a converted 1940s aircraft to study melting glaciers (photo)
OMG MISSION FROM NASA TO GREENLAND
Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG) is a NASA mission led by JPL scientist Josh Willis to understand the role that the ocean plays in melting the glaciers of Greenland.
From the air and the sea, OMG collects data on water temperatures and glaciers all the way around Greenland to get a better idea of how fast the ice is melting and how fast global sea levels will rise.
Dressed in a blue jumpsuit and with thick sideburns that give a hint of his occasional pastime like Elvis, Joshua Willis, 44, the oceanographer of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory is behind the project – and, along with his wife, the name.
& # 39; We are looking at probable meters of sea level rise over the next hundred years and that is a huge threat to hundreds of millions of people around the world, so a little alarm and OMG is probably justified, & # 39; said Dr. Willis.
Dr. Willis and the crew in turn dropped the 1.5-meter cylindrical probes and watched as the data came in showing the ocean temperature and salinity.
As they did, they passed rocky fjords, beautiful glaciers and icebergs, a few dozen meters high looming out of the water,
Dr. Willis investigates how warmer layers of water off the coast come into contact with glaciers and how this influences how quickly they melt.
& # 39; Many people think the ice is melting here because of the warming of the air, a bit like an ice cube under a hair dryer, but in fact the oceans also eat away at the edges of the ice, & # 39; said Willis.
Joshua Willis, 44 (left), is the oceanographer of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory behind the project – and, together with his wife, the name. His blue jumpsuit for the mission and thick sideburns give a hint of his occasional pastime posing as Elvis (right)
The research team is part of NASA & # 39; s Oceans Melting Greenland project, a mission that has flown around the vast island for four summers in this modified DC3 aircraft
OMG investigates Greenland glaciers in the winter and compares it with the data they collect about the oceans in the summer over a five-year period, of which Dr. Willis hopes that researchers can better predict the rise in sea level.
The island has three-quarters adjacent to the Arctic Ocean and is 85 percent covered with ice – if this ice sheet disappeared completely, it would raise the ocean level by seven meters (23 feet).
The Arctic has warmed up twice as fast as the global average, and Greenland has become a focal point for climate research.
NASA began to study the Earth's climate deeper from the 1970s when the inter-planetary research budget was reduced, using its satellites to look at the Earth.
Today, it has more than a dozen satellites in orbit to monitor Earth's seas, ice, land, and atmosphere, along with missions such as OMG, which Willis hopes will provide data to better predict sea level rise forecasts around the world. to give.
At the rear of the revised DC3, built in 1942 for the Canadian Air Force during World War II, project manager Ian McCubbin took his turn through a parachute with the plastic probe, waiting for the order to drop it.
Researchers have dropped probes to collect data on how oceans contribute to the rapid melting of Greenland's ice and the rising sea levels that this creates
Dr. Willis investigates how warmer layers of water off the coast come into contact with glaciers and how this influences how quickly they melt
Sucked into the cold air below, the four foot cylinder parachuted into the water and after a nervous wait began sending data to the team on the plane.
With 20 years of experience flying the JPL, McCubbin also organizes the logistics of the mission from the remote airports from which it flies in the summer.
& # 39; Dealing with the remote location of Greenland is a unique challenge, & # 39; McCubbin said during a break between falling probes, a baseball cap pulled over his eyes.
Limited communication and transport connections and the unpredictable weather on the island make it all harder to keep the mission up, but McCubbin said he wanted to endure the difficulties.
& # 39; The relevance of this project makes it exciting to work on, given the importance to our society, our children, the children of our children, & # 39; he said.
Ian Fenty, a researcher at OMG, sat in front of a laptop and a bank of electronics that received the signals from the probes.
Researchers have dropped cylindrical probes into the air. As they did, they passed rocky fjords, beautiful glaciers and icebergs. Then they watched as the data came in and showed the temperature and salinity of the ocean
After each probe hit the water, data began to be uploaded almost immediately to the small screen on the laptop on the Fenty tray table.
& # 39; The data we collect is super valuable as it allows us for the first time to quantitatively relate changes in ocean temperature to the melting of the ice sheet, & # 39; he said.
After two hours in the air along the coast of East Greenland, the plane turned and returned to the base in the remote village of Kulusuk, flying low over icebergs and pods of whales in the sea below.
After the flight, Dr. Willis, dressed in Ray Bans, gave up a leather jacket with the collar and a guitar, a version of his Elvis-inspired & # 39; Climate Rock & # 39; to diners and visiting journalists in the hotel of the village, explaining the difference between the weather and climate.
For Willis, just like his work with OMG, the song is all part of trying to convey his message about climate change and sea level rise.
& # 39; As a climate scientist, I feel that I have a responsibility to explain what we think of the world & # 39 ;, he said.
& # 39; We are facing a number of difficult decisions if we want to avoid the worst parts of climate change. & # 39;
HOW DOES GLOBAL HEATING WORK ON GLACIAL RETREAT?
Global warming is raising temperatures around the world.
This is especially prominent at latitudes closer to the poles.
Rising temperatures, permafrost, glaciers and ice sheets are all struggling to stay intact despite the warmer climate.
Because the temperatures have risen more than a degree above the pre-industrial level, the ice continues to melt.
For example, melting ice on the Greenland ice sheet produces & # 39; meltwater lakes & # 39; which then further contribute to melting.
This positive feedback loop can also be found on glaciers on top of mountains.
Many of these have been frozen since the last ice age and researchers are seeing significant withdrawal.
Some animal and plant species depend heavily on the cold conditions that glaciers offer and migrate to higher altitudes to find suitable habitat.
This puts great pressure on the ecosystems because more animals and more species live in an increasingly smaller region.
In addition to the environmental pressure, the lack of ice on mountains greatly increases the risks of landslides and volcanic eruptions.
The phenomenon can be found in various mountain ranges around the world.
It has also been seen in the & # 39; s regions of Antarctica.
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