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CryoVEx 2004


What was the purpose of CryoVEx 2004?

DGPS ground station, antenna on top of the construction building (ca. 3 m above the runway) Receiver was powered by 110 V and was installed in the construction building. Data was named with RESU (Credit: ESA)

CryoVEx 2004 was the second combined airborne and surface campaign for the preparation of the CryoSat mission, after successful completion of CryoVEx 2003 by DTU.

The new key element was the implementation and operation of ESA’s Airborne SAR Interferometric Radar Altimeter System (ASIRAS) on a German Do-228 aircraft. ASIRAS was designed to simulate the SIRAL radar altimeter onboard CryoSat, to investigate the nature of CryoSat waveforms and their dependence on different surface properties. Data were gathered together with airborne nadir looking and laser and laser scanner measurements as well as video recordings.

The primary goal of CryoVEx 2004 was to conduct measurements over the glacial ice caps of

Svalbard, Greenland, and Devon Island.

Airborne measurements during CryoVEx 2004 were carried out by AWI, DLR, Optimare and RST. Simultaneous ground observations were performed by the international ESA CVRT groups.


What was the outcome of CryoVEx 2004?

Both CryoVex2004a and CryoVex2004b were successfully accomplished. Results showed how to determine calibration values and delivered an almost complete dataset of processed data.

Calibration and validation results are summarised in the following points:

  • ASIRAS offset for both campaigns, determined by two runway over flights is ~85 cm
  • Penetration depth of radar echo is ~10-15 cm
  • Resolution of internal layering is very dependent on the snow regime and can be clearly identified over dry snow zone along EGIG-line
  • OCOG retracker is sensitive to surface and volume scattering and needs improvement, especially over refrozen snow and runways
  • Aircraft roll above 1° leads to wrong surface elevation heights after retracking
  • ALS-DEM are of high quality over snow and introduced methodology is feasible
  • ALS-DEM quality is low over runways when measured in high altitude (1100 m)

Download CryoVEx 2004 final report


Campaign Summary
Data Coverage (Year)2004
Geographic SiteArctic (Svalbard, Greenland, and Devon Island)
Field of ApplicationLand ice. Radar and laser altimetry


Digital Object Identifier:European Space Agency, CryoVEx 2004,


The campaign data is available online via FTP upon submission of a data access request. An active EO Sign In account is required to submit the request.

Data from the campaign are also available to download from the CS2EO portal.

For further information about the EO Sign In Service you can visit TellUs.

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