MELTEX-II (2015)

The aircraft campaign MELTEX-II (Impact of sea ice thickness, sea ice topography and MELT ponds on the energy and momentum EXchange between atmosphere and sea ice) served to monitor ice conditions in the main export pathway of Arctic sea ice, the Fram Strait, and in the Lincoln Sea delivering the thickest ice to Fram Strait. Based on measurement data we will determine sea ice thickness and its spatial variability and we will investigate melt pond characteristics (e.g., areal fraction, depth) and sea ice albedo and their impact on the ice-atmosphere energy exchange. Furthermore, data will support the development of algorithms for the retrieval of geophysical parameters from data of spaceborne passive and active microwave satellite sensors which were collected during the Arctic melt season.

MELTEX-II was carried out from Station Nord / Greenland (81°36’N, 16°40’W) between 30 June and 6 August, 2015.

It was a joint project of AWI divisions Polar Meteorology and Sea Ice Physics.

Melt ponds on Multi year ice (Photo: Alfred-Wegener-Institute)
Melt ponds on First-year ice
Melt ponds on First-year ice (Photo: Alfred-Wegener-Institute)


The aircraft Polar 5 was equipped with

  • Laser scanner, two laser altimeters
  • EM-Bird

  • Camera systems with wide-angle and fish-eye lens

  • Hyperspectral camera

  • Radiation sensors

  • Meteorological sensors

Measurement flights

We performed 17 flights. The typical measurement heights were 200 ft and 2000 ft. Figure 1a and 1b show the measurement legs at 200 ft and 2000 ft, respectively.

Flight legs at 200 ft (61 m) (Graphic: W. Cohrs, Alfred-Wegener-Institute)
Flight legs at 2000 ft (610 m) (Graphic: W. Cohrs, Alfred-Wegener-Institute)