GradImpact: Collecting Critical Data to Predict the Response of Earth’s Polar Ice to Climate Change

    Last week, Nathan Kurtz left on a trip for Greenland, not exactly a frequent location for travelers and definitely not for a few months a year. But for Kurtz, Greenland and Antarctica are becoming recurrent destinations. After receiving his doctorate in atmospheric physics from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Kurtz spent several years working as a research associate for the Goddard Earth Sciences and Technology Center at UMBC. His research interests have centered on sea ice and its role in the global climate system. Needless to say, becoming the project scientist for NASA’s Operation IceBridge was a dream come true.


    “The Earth's polar ice covers, including the massive ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica as well as the surrounding ice-covered seas, have recently been observed to be undergoing a state of complex change,” said Kurtz. “Understanding these changes and their influence on climate using the latest in satellite and airborne remote sensing technology forms the core of my research.”


    The IceBridge project and Kurtz’s work as project scientist have received quite a bit of attention recently. Time published an article in January 2018 that describes some of the data collected during a mission, and the attention from the public is welcome. This is a critical project to better understand the connections between the polar regions and the global climate system. To learn more about Nathan’s work, visit the University of Maryland, Baltimore County website.


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    Photo Credit: Nathan Kurtz




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