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Phase difference between returning radar waves
Phase difference between returning radar waves

CryoSat's primary payload is the SAR Interferometric Radar Altimeter (SIRAL), a sophisticated altimeter designed to measure ice sheet elevation and sea ice freeboard.

The CryoSat mission science requirements demand SIRAL to measure variations in the thickness of perennial sea ice and land ice to the limit allowed by natural variability, and on spatial scales varying over three orders of magnitude. The natural variability of sea ice and land ice depends on fluctuations in the supply of mass by the atmosphere and ocean and snow and ice density.


Data Description

CryoSat data is freely and openly available to everyone. Access is provided to all CryoSat systematic data acquired according to the current geographical mode mask.

The following CryoSat products are available:

Products generated by the CryoSat Ice Processor:

  • Near Real Time * (SAR, SARIn) – L1B and L2
  • Offline Products (LRM, SAR, SARIn) – L1B and L2
  • Offline Global Data Record (GDR) Products
  • Offline FBR Products (SAR and SARIN)

*FDM production discontinued 01/02/2021

Products generated by the CryoSat Ocean Processor:

  • Near-Real Time Ocean Products (NOP) – L1B, L2
  • Intermediate Ocean Products (IOP) – L1B, L2 & Pole-to-pole (P2P)
  • Geophysical Ocean Products (GOP) – L1B, L2, P2P

Products generated by CryoTEMPO EOLIS (Elevation Over Land Ice from Swath):

  • CryoTEMPO EOLIS Point Products - Contain a dense set of elevation measurements for individual observations. Due to the high volume of data, the data has been split into tiles of 100 x 100 km in size.
  • CryoTEMPO EOLIS Gridded Products - Contain monthly 2 km resolution DEM with the data sourced from a rolling three month window

Read the CryoSat data description for more information.

Data Tools

A number of tools are available for visualising, processing and analysing CryoSat data.


VtCryoSat is a tool designed to simplify browsing and downloading CryoSat products through an interactive, graphical web interface.



CryoSat User Tool

The CryoSat User Tool (CUT) is a Windows stand-alone application for displaying and downloading CryoSat products from remote FTP servers or from local directories.


CryoSat Software Routines

CryoSat ingestion routines are functions provided in the C programming language and IDL for reading CryoSat Level 1, and Level 2 Earth Explorer Format (EEF) products.


CryoSat Matlab routines

Matlab routines are provided for reading the CryoSat Level 1, Level 2 and Level 2I Earth Explorer Format (EEF) products. products.




The goal of performing CryoSat Calibration and Validation (Cal/Val) activities is to quantify the mission’s system response (calibration), to verify the performance by comparison with independent sources of data (validation), and in doing so assess and quantify uncertainties in the measurements.