PE&RS February 2018 Public - page 56

February 2018
Publisher ASPRS
Editor-In-Chief Alper Yilmaz
Technical Editor Michael S. Renslow
Assistant Editor Jie Shan
Assistant Director — Publications Rae Kelley
Electronic Publications Manager/Graphic Artist Matthew Austin
Photogrammetric Engineering & Remote Sensing
is the official journal of the
American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing. It is devoted to the
exchange of ideas and information about the applications of photogrammetry,
remote sensing, and geographic information systems. The technical activities of
the Society are conducted through the following Technical Divisions: Geographic
Information Systems, Photogrammetric Applications, Lidar, Primary Data
Acquisition, Professional Practice, and Remote Sensing Applications. Additional
information on the functioning of the Technical Divisions and the Society can
be found in the Yearbook issue of
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NASA’s Operation IceBridge—an airborne mission to map polar ice—recently made some
flights out of the McMurdo and Amundsen-Scott South Pole stations, giving researchers
greater access to the interior of the icy continent. The flights over Antarctica (the ninth year
in a row) have turned up ample science data, as well as some spectacular images.
The top photograph was acquired during a flight from McMurdo Station aboard a
Basler aircraft on November 30, 2017. It shows ice flowing from the Transantarctic
Mountains, a range that runs the length of the continent and separates West Antarc-
tica and East Antarctica. The dark blue areas are where melt water—spurred by days
of abundant sunshine and light winds—has flowed down into lower spots and then
refroze. Refrozen melt ponds fill almost every ripple in the top-middle of the image, and
along the direction of flow of the glacier visible in the foreground.
Paler blue areas indicate places where uncompressed snow has blown away to reveal blue
ice. Ice is generally blue for the same reason that water is blue. Namely, the bond between
oxygen and hydrogen atoms in the water molecule, frozen or liquid, absorbs longer wave-
lengths of visible light and leaves behind the shorter (blue) wavelengths. Dense glacial ice
that has been compressed and the air bubbles are squeezed out will appear even bluer.
The second photograph, acquired on November 29 during a flight to Victoria Land,
shows an iceberg floating in McMurdo Sound. The part of the iceberg below water
appears bluest primarily due to blue light from the water in the Sound.
The undersides of some icebergs can be eroded away, exposing older, denser, and
incredibly blue ice. Erosion can change an iceberg’s shape and cause it to flip, bringing
the sculpted blue ice above the water’s surface. The unique step-like shape of this
berg—compared to the tabular and more stable berg in the top-right of the image—
suggests that it likely rotated sometime after calving.
This iceberg shows just a hint of blue color on its surface where snow has been removed.
Snow and ice that appears white will contain large numbers of air pockets, bubbles,
and other reflective particles that tend to reflect all wavelengths of visible light equally.
Photos courtesy of Chris Larsen, NASA’s Operation IceBridge mission. Story by Kathryn
Hansen. Vist
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