2012 Fall Volume 8:3 Articles:
In May 2010, as oil from the Deepwater-Horizon (DWH) rig blowout that occurred on April 20th continued to spread across the Gulf of Mexico and with the specter of widespread impact to sensitive ecosystems along large portions of the United States (U.S.) Gulf Coast looming large, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) made the decision to deploy several of its newest, most technologically advanced, airborne science instruments to the area to support response activities and scientific studies of the oil slick and its impact to the region.
Sea-ice cover in the Arctic is retreating and thinning as global temperatures continue to rise. The rise in temperature may eliminate Arctic sea ice during summer months creating the so-called ice-free summer condition. As the ice thins, its strength weakens. A weaker ice cover will encourage more shipping earlier in the spring and later into the fall, thereby, expanding access through polar seas much longer than ice-free periods. It is these ice-engaging activities that will push the Arctic frontier open for the most opportunistic. Hence, the need to not only monitor how much ice is melting, but how the remaining ice is behaving as a dynamic material under new climate conditions.