Chad Naughton, project manager for the National Science Foundation's (NSF) U.S. Antarctic Program in Centennial, Colo., said overcoming the effects of the shutdown was challenging, but he expects federally funded research in Antarctica to bounce back.
"We're all systems go for a lot of the good science that's coming down," Naughton said. "It seems annually there's always something that pops up that's a challenge ... that affects a lot of science and a lot of the logistics. This was a big one, but I think we got through it, and I think a lot of the science that NSF funds on an annual basis is going to continue."
Operation IceBridge is a six-year campaign to study how glaciers, sea ice and ice sheets at both poles change over time. The P-3B aircraft is outfitted with a suite of instruments that measure changes in ice elevation and thickness, and probe the shape of bedrock and water cavities beneath the continent's icy armor.
"The main purpose is to measure the change in ice surface elevation over time - from year to year," Studinger said. "And this allows us to estimate how much ice an ice sheet is gaining or losing, [which is] important because we want to understand how much this melting ice is contributing to sea level rise."