Melting sea ice was mentioned here recently. According to the MIT Technology Review, a team at the University of Kansas is building an unpiloted airplane designed to conduct detailed RADAR surveys of the Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets. In particular, the plane will look to see whether water has collected between glaciers and bedrock – a situation that can lead to their very rapid disintegration.
If things go according to plan the vehicle – dubbed ‘Meridian’ – should conduct its first survey next summer. Given the potential importance of melting ice for climatic feedback loops, anything that improves the quality of data available should be applauded.