L to R; NASA Dryden Mission Manager Walter Klein (in tan flight suit), JPL AirSAR Scientist Tim Miller, and Mission Manager David Bushman briefing press in Santiago, Chile, for NASA's AirSAR 2004 mission. AirSAR 2004 is a three-week expedition by an international team of scientists that uses an all-weather imaging tool, called the Airborne Synthetic Aperture Radar (AirSAR) which is located onboard NASA's DC-8 airborne laboratory.
Scientists from many parts of the world including NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory are combining ground research done in several areas in Central and South America with NASA's AirSAR technology to improve and expand on the quality of research they are able to conduct.
In South America and Antarctica, AirSAR collected imagery and data to help determine the contribution of Southern Hemisphere glaciers to sea level rise due to climate change. In Patagonia, researchers found this contribution had more than doubled from 1995 to 2000, compared to the previous 25 years. AirSAR data will make it possible to determine whether that trend is continuing or accelerating. AirSAR will also provide reliable information on ice shelf thickness to measure the contribution of the glaciers to sea level.