NASA's Operation IceBridge monitors the polar ice caps so that scientists can study how each interacts with the global climate. Between Oct. 11 and Nov. 17, NASA is conducting Antarctic survey flights, including a trip over the Thwaites Glacier on October 15th. 

The Thwaites Ice Shelf, in western Antarctica, is shown here calving. Antarctic sea ice coverage hit a new annual winter maximum earlier this year. This is in contrast to the Arctic, where ice coverage shattered an all-time low in September. Summer Arctic sea ice is disappearing much faster than scientists anticipated amid warming temperatures. 

Vastly different conditions prevail in Antarctica, where the ozone hole can have a cooling effect on sea ice and ocean heat patterns can encourage sea ice growth.  The effects of global warming are anticipated to reach the Arctic North quicker, and more severely, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

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