OIB - DC-8 11/15/16 Science Report

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Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Mission Location: 
88ºS contour around South Pole (Hamilton Line East)
Mission Summary: 

Mission: Hamilton Line East, formerly Pole Hole 88 East (priority: low)


This flight’s purpose is to sample the surface topography at the southern apex of half of all planned ICESat-2 orbits. Specifically, this flight samples the ground tracks on the east Antarctic plateau side of the Pole. In this way, we can provide “ground truth” for every ICESat-2 orbit with just two flights, including Pole Hole 88 West as well as this one. The vertical stability of the surface must also be quantified for this approach to succeed, and this flight provides a baseline measurement for this purpose.


Another easier decision today, with poor forecasts for all remaining high-priority missions, but a consistent forecast of no low-altitude clouds in the South Pole region. Weather behaved as predicted, with a very high stratus layer but cloud-free at the surface. Following high-altitude views of Rothera and South Pole Station, we collected 90 minutes of data at 1500’ along the eastern half of the 88ºS pole hole and transited home uneventfully. Both ATM T5 and T6 were operational during the pole-hole portion and performed well. MCoRDS observed near-bed layers at survey altitudes also.


All instruments performed well.


 Attached images are:


1. Map of today's flight

2. Nadir view of South Pole Station from 20,000’ AGL (DMS / Dennis Gearhardt)

3. FLIR brightness temperature over South Pole, offset from DMS image, pointing out building heat signatures (ATM / Jim Yungel, DMS / Dennis Gearhardt)

4. Elevation along the eastern portion of the pole hole (ATM / Jim Yungel)

5. Sea ice west of the Antarctic Peninsula (NASA / Maria-José Viñas)

6. The DC-8 flew beneath its own contrail, left behind about 90 minutes prior, while flying near the South Pole (NASA / Maria-José Viñas)


Nadir view of South Pole Station from 20,000’ AGL

FLIR brightness temperature over South Pole, offset from DMS image, pointing out building heat signatures

Elevation along the eastern portion of the pole hole

Sea ice west of the Antarctic Peninsula

The DC-8 flew beneath its own contrail, left behind about 90 minutes prior, while flying near the South Pole

Related Flight Report: 

DC-8 11/15/16 - 11/16/16

Flight Number: 
Payload Configuration: 
Nav Data Collected: 
Total Flight Time: 
11.6 hours
Flight Segments: 
From:SCCI - Punta ArenasTo:SSCI - Punta Arenas
Start:11/15/16 12:58 Z Finish:11/16/16 00:35 Z
Flight Time:11.6 hours
Log Number:178010PI:Nathan Kurtz
Funding Source:Bruce Tagg - NASA - SMD - ESD Airborne Science Program
Purpose of Flight:Science
Comments:Great flight. All instruments worked good and the aircraft returned in good shape. The mission was to survey the eastern half of the 88 deg S latitude pole hole, where present Cryosat-2 and future ICESat-2 tracks will converge. OIB surveyed the western half of the pole hole earlier during this deployment.
Flight Hour Summary: 
Flight Hours Approved in SOFRS300
Total Used306.9
Total Remaining-6.9
178010 Flight Reports
Date Flt # Purpose of Flight Duration Running Total Hours Remaining
10/14/16 - 10/15/161140Science10.931.5268.5
10/15/16 - 10/16/161141Science11.843.3256.7
10/17/16 - 10/18/161142Science11.855.1244.9
10/20/16 - 10/21/161143Science11.466.5233.5
10/24/16 - 10/25/161145Science11.589211
10/25/16 - 10/26/161146Science11.3100.3199.7
10/26/16 - 10/27/161147Science12.1112.4187.6
10/27/16 - 10/28/161148Science11.5123.9176.1
10/28/16 - 10/29/161149Science11134.9165.1
10/31/16 - 11/01/161150Science11145.9154.1
11/02/16 - 11/03/161151Science11.2157.1142.9
11/03/16 - 11/04/161152Science11.5168.6131.4
11/04/16 - 11/05/161153Science11.1179.7120.3
11/05/16 - 11/06/161154Science11.7191.4108.6
11/07/16 - 11/08/161155Science11.2202.697.4
11/09/16 - 11/10/161156Science11.7214.385.7
11/11/16 - 11/12/161158Science11.3236.563.5
11/12/16 - 11/13/161159Science11.1247.652.4
11/15/16 - 11/16/161161Science11.6270.129.9
11/17/16 - 11/18/161162Science11.1281.218.8
11/18/16 - 11/19/161163Science11.1292.37.7

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