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NASA Flyover Reveals Arctic Ice in Retreat

NASA is conducting an airborne survey of how ice in the Arctic is responding to a changing climate.

18 PHOTOS

NASA's Operation IceBridge research aircraft taxis after landing at Thule Air Base on March 24, 2017 in Pituffik, Greenland.

NASA’s view from space shows our planet is changing, but to really understand the nitty-gritty of these shifts and what they mean for our future, scientists need a closer look. 

For the past eight years, Operation IceBridge has been conducting aerial surveys of polar ice. 

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Mountains rise from an ice field on Ellesmere Island, Canada, as seen from the research aircraft. 

Scientists have said the Arctic is one of the regions hardest hit by climate change and the research flights monitor the ice's decline. 

 

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Chunks of sea ice float near Ellesmere Island, Canada.

Arctic sea ice appeared to have reached a record wintertime low on March 7, according to scientists at NASA and the NASA-supported National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado. 

Since satellites began monitoring sea ice in 1978, researchers have observed a steep decline in the average extent of Arctic sea ice for every month of the year.

 

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A section of glacier flows between mountains on Ellesmere Island, Canada.

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Snow blows near Thule Air Base on March 25, 2017.

At 750 miles north of the Arctic Circle, Thule is the U.S. Air Force's northernmost base. 

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Night descends on the chapel at Thule Air Base on March 29.

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NASA's retrofitted 1966 Lockheed P-3 aircraft flies off the northeast coast of Greenland on March 30 during one of its eight-hour research missions. 

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A ridge rises out of the ice sheet along Greenland's Upper Baffin Bay coast. 

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Snowdrifts are piled against houses near Thule Air Base. 

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A patch of sunlight illuminates an ice field on March 30 on Ellesmere Island, Canada.

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Project scientist Nathan Kurtz and senior support scientist Jeremy Harbeck walk to survey an iceberg locked in sea ice near Thule Air Base.

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Kurtz surveys an iceberg locked in sea ice near Thule Air Base. 

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A dramatic rock formation is surrounded by sea ice along Greenland's Upper Baffin Bay coast. 

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Flight crew sit in the cockpit of NASA's Operation IceBridge research aircraft as it flies over Greenland.

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Mountain peaks emerge from the ice on Ellesmere Island, Canada.

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A snowshoe hare surveys his surroundings near Thule Air Base. 

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Crevasses line a glacier on Greenland's Upper Baffin Bay coast. 

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Wind blows snow on an ice field on Ellesmere Island, Canada.

See photos from NASA's Antarctica survey 

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