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CryoVEx/KAREN Antarctica 2017/18 


What was the purpose of CryoVEx/KAREN Antarctica 2017 and 2018?

Twin Otter aircraft over Antarctica
Twin Otter aircraft over Antarctica

ESA's CryoVEx/Karen 2017-18 campaign took place in Antarctica from December 2017 to January 2018. The campaign was composed of an airborne and in-situ campaign and acquired extensive data sets of scanning lidar, Ku- and Ka-band nadir-looking radar, and auxiliary imagery for validation of the ESA CryoSat-2 satellite (Ku-band radar altimetry) and the French-Indian AltiKa mission (Ka-band radar altimetry).

The campaign was also designed to acquire data for studying the radar penetration of Ku- and Ka-band radar in snow and firn over the Antarctica sea ice and ice sheet. The airborne radar and laser survey was supported by two ground teams, one that took shallow cores on the southern part of the Antarctic Peninsula and the other collected sea ice thickness and snow depth in the Weddell Sea.

What was the outcome of CryoVEx/KAREN Antarctica 2017 and 2018?

Estimated freeboard (elevation above local sea level) from radar Ku (ASIRAS), Radar Ka (KAREN) and ALS (near infrared laser) was calculated. The L1b radar products were retracked (using TFRMA 50%) to give elevations similar to the ALS product. Results showed that the freeboard from ALS provided the highest freeboard values, ASIRAS the lowest, and KAREN was in between.

Freeboard differences for a single flight compared with snow thickness observations from ASPeCt (Antarctic Sea ice Processes and Climate) observational data (Worby et al. 2008) spanning The ASPeCt dataset spanning from 1981-2005 showed that the observed snow depth during ASPeCt is generally lower than the ALS/ASIRAS difference.

Download the CryoVEx/KAREN Antarctica 2017-2018 Final Report

Campaign Summary
Data Coverage (Year)2017/2018
Geographic SiteAntarctica (West)
Field of ApplicationRadar altimetry, land and sea-ice
Dataset Size70 GB


Data Citation Users, who, in their research, use ESA Earth Observation data that have been assigned a Digital Object Identifier (DOI), are asked to use it when citing the data source in their publications:

Digital Object Identifier: - European Space Agency, Cryovex/KAREN Antarctica 2017/18


The campaign data are 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.

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